Viral Videos

Justin Beiber, Gangham Style, Charlie bit my finger, Old Spice commercials…what do these have in common? 

They’ve all gone viral. 

What exactly does “viral” mean….when talking about social media that is. 

When a video goes viral, it means it has been spread rapidly by sharing. Sharing can be done via links in an email, on facebook or twitter, or even word of mouth in everyday conversation. 

Most marketing companies are asked to generate viral videos, to gain recognition for their clients. What their clients don’t always understand is that the backbone of a viral video is the actual content. 

Sure, getting a video off the ground takes a lot of work on your part. The best strategy is to relentlessly promote it. We’re talking everything from posting it to facebook, emailing it around to friends, adding the appropriate trending tags, and attempting to get celebrity endorsement. 

Something such as Jimmy Kimmel tweeting about your video will skyrocket your views, which is exactly what happened to “Double Rainbow”. 

Keeping content relevant to a target audience is also a key factor. Generally viral videos are either humorous, or a big part of pop-culture. However, more serious videos have the capability to go viral if shared with appropriate target audiences.

Viral videos can provide a source of income if played right. YouTube is anxious to make money off of your videos too, so they will contact you about placing ads on your channel if you hit enough views. However, be cautious about the ads placed over your videos, as they can discourage users from watching your videos, or re-direct them to other websites. 

The media attention that viral videos can get is generally welcomed by the producers, but can also be an annoyance, or even an invasion of privacy if the producers don’t anticipate it. There have been several instances where families have been bombarded by media coverage, and have attempted to file lawsuits. Always remember that content placed on the internet, especially a video, can be quickly escalated out of your control. You and your cat could be the next big YouTube sensations. 

Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/27/technology/personaltech/cashing-in-on-your-hit-youtube-video.html?_r=0 

http://socialtimes.com/what-makes-a-video-viral_b61409 

http://www.epolitics.com/2006/07/03/online-tactics-viral-campaigns/

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