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Creating shareable videos

It is clear that social media has grown rapidly over the last decade and recently there has been a significant growth in social media videos. YouTube is the leading social media video platform, but 2014 saw Facebook step up and compete along with others such as Vine and Instagram.

Social media videos are typically shared across a single platform, but statistics demonstrate the highly shareable nature of social media videos across different platforms. YouTube reveals that ‘700 YouTube video links are shared on Twitter every minute’ and ‘500 years of YouTube videos are watched on Facebook every day’.

According to the Managing Director of Video Experts Marcus Seeger There are many diverse reasons why someone will elect to hit share, rather than simply like or comment:

  • They want to be the first to share
  • They want to be seen as ‘having their finger on the pulse’
  • They want to look hip and gain kudos by association

Almost half of video shares occur in the first three days, so it is critical to promote newly published videos as much as possible in those early days. As best-selling author Seth Godin says, you need to get the ‘sneezers’ (early adopters) actively campaigning on your behalf to get the ball rolling.

When planning your content it is useful to look at audience profiling and determine what elements to include that are most likely to result in the video being shared. What are your audience’s preferences – do they like funny, cute, funky, inspiring etc? Much also depends on whom your audience is sharing the video with – who are their friends and who is in their network? What interests and passions do they share? Can you somehow tap into the Zeitgeist?

One element that popular videos have in common is that they hit emotions hard. It is not enough for a funny video to make you smile – you need to be laughing loudly before you even think about sharing it. A useful exercise is to think about the videos that you personally share on social media and ask why you did that. This will help you gain insight into your own experiences and that knowledge can help you identify triggers in others.

Five Key strategies for creating popular shareable social media videos

Strategy #1: ‘How to’ Education
The ‘how to’ genre is often overlooked but it offers significant opportunities to create popular shareable content. Typical how-to videos are not particularly complex to create and can offer a solid return on investment (ROI), particularly if you focus on a topic that is in high demand. The popular ‘life hack’ subgenre is a good example of a successful ‘how to’ niche.

A proven approach is to share significant insight and provide truly valuable content – this is more likely to be shared. If you’re worried about projecting what you know, you must move on from this mindset and share some of your most valuable content if you are looking to create the type of video that will be popular. By sharing your secret sauce or ‘insider knowledge’ you have a good chance of standing out from the crowd.

Strategy #2 – Entertainment
Videos that entertain will, in most markets, have a higher chance of being shared. Can you think of a funny angle on your industry or perhaps a clever parody or spoof that can be turned into a video? Typically, a video that entertains will do very well.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to include babies, celebrities or dancing in order to make an entertaining video. What ideas can you think of?

WARNING: Be prepared for an epic fail if it all turns pear-shaped. Can your business – and your ego – handle this?

Strategy #3 – Engage with a story
Storytelling is so powerful because it’s built into our DNA. If you go back hundreds of thousands of years to early mankind, we used to communicate knowledge through storytelling. Today’s digital campfire hasn’t changed that much and videos that have strong narratives are predisposed to being shared with friends, peers and beyond.

Is there an element of your business or product that has a strong and engaging story behind it that would inspire your audience enough to make them ‘tell the world’?

Tip #1: Keep in mind that the key to a good story is to be authentic. Certainly don’t pretend that the story is something that it’s not, because online audiences are very media savvy and will notice straightaway if your story is a fake.

Tip #2: Make your story entertaining. It is a wonderful opportunity to put some thought into your script. Make it the best that it can be. Your audience will appreciate it and you will benefit from the results.

Strategy #4 – Become crystal clear on outcomes
Do not be daunted when you see videos with millions of views, or thousands of shares; instead be inspired. You must have courage because until you publish your video publicly you will not know how it will be received.

It is important to set goals and determine how to measure ROI. You will need to set your own standards to measure the success of your video. For a small business starting up, 100 shares might well offer immeasurable business opportunities if the right people watch the video.

What does success look like for your video?

Strategy #5 – Be remarkable
A video that stands out by going against the grain of audience expectations is often a recipe for success. Dove’s 2014 #LikeAGirl is a good example of developing a theme in a direction that is not immediately predictable.
If you want people to share your video it needs to be unique in some way. The ‘same old, same old’ content quickly gets stale and simply will not be shared.

Creating shareable social videos is perhaps more challenging today as there is an avalanche of content – audiences don’t have the time to consume even a fraction of it. We are experiencing ‘content shock’, which is why Facebook filters out the majority of possible content and serves only what is most likely to be of interest to us.

Your challenge is to create original, authentic and entertaining videos that inspire your audience to hit that ‘share’ button. It’s a challenge worth aspiring to, as the benefits of a shareable popular social media video can be extremely profitable.

The Business Enterprise Centre is a community based not-for-profit organisation established to foster the growth of business within the Central West of NSW. We are managing agents for the NSW government Small Biz connect Program, Australian Government ASBAS and NEIS program. To find out how we can assist your business contac