We analyzed more than 4,000 videos shared by over 100 publishers during a three month period, and we came away with some fascinating insights for entities work in social video. One of the most notable finds? Only 1.2% of video on Facebook goes viral (i.e. earns over 1 million views). So how can a publisher hope to push its content into that highest echelon of social success?
We have some advice for publishers and media companies to increase the chance of getting video content to go viral
1. Follow the trending topics: Social media is all about the ongoing conversations among people. Put those trending topics to work by creating timely video content that taps into what people are talking about and offers your own voice to the discussion.
2. Know your network: A “one size fits all” approach to social video simply doesn’t work. Video content for Facebook doesn’t instantly translate to Twitter, or vice versa. Understand the network you’re using, the mindset of different audiences, and what they expect from video.
3. Remember call-to-actions: Racking up followers is great, but that’s not a social video strategy. You want to turn those followers into loyal audience members. Closing videos with a call-to-action (CTA) prompts viewers to take the next step you want from them, whether that’s checking out your website or sharing the video.
4. Do you have style? There are many different ways to place your brand’s stamp on a video. It doesn’t have to only be in the form of a logo or opening/closing splashes! The color and font-style of your text can align with your brand. And the content of your videos should be consistent with the overall voice of the publisher, while also resonating with your audience.
5. Use Listicles: A video listicle is a great snackable piece of content and the format is so ubiquitous and popular that viewers know what they are getting instantly. Viewers like to have clear expectations in front of them. Tried-and true formats are great, but also don’t be afraid to experiment with new techniques to see what might work for your audiences too.
6. Make it eye catching: Start with your best action shot and set your content to auto-play if that’s an option. Movement catches attention in a cluttered feed and instantly engages viewers.
7. It’s hip to be a square: Gone are the days when online video was only watched in a horizontal aspect ratio. In fact, square is increasingly more prevalent. Square videos play well on displays of any size and they tend to occupy more physical space in feeds. You can also learn more about other aspect ratios in Social Video Emerging Formats Guide.
8. Keep people watching by keeping pace: Use music, dynamic editing and space out text so that your content is neither too overwhelming nor too boring. Making things interesting and dynamic keeps viewers engaged with your video.
9. Get emotional: Research has found that some of the best performing videos on Facebook pulled at viewers’ heartstrings. Driving an emotional response in an audience means they are much likelier to engage with that content, through shares, likes, and comments.
10. Be positive, if you can: Positive content actually helps to drive higher engagement! Videos that make viewers feel a little better – about the world or themselves – are much likelier to be shared, commented upon, and otherwise engaged with.
It’s no easy feat to push your content into the 1%, but these tips can help make that goal a little easier to achieve. There’s no perfect formula for a viral hit, but following best practices means you are doing everything you can to optimize your videos for maximum impact and engagement.