Forget About 'Going Viral'

Imran Azam
28 November 2016

Whilst its important that marketers and business owners plan their social video strategy for 2017 its equally important not to fall into the trap of aiming to produce videos that ‘go viral’. 

In this blog/vlog post we discuss why you really don’t want your video to ‘go viral’ and the best way to cut through the noise and build a long term relationship your audience.  

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I've lost count of the number of times I've been asked to produce a viral video. If you think you need a viral video you need to think again.

As a video storyteller I can tell you for a fact you do not want your video to go viral. Now that may seem counterintuitive but there's a very good reason why I say this and its this; viral videos almost always create a spike of interest which then dissipates very very quickly without offering any kind of meaningful engagement. Now is that really what you want? If social media is about engagement, if social media is about developing deep relationships, if social media is about attracting interest and building relationships over the long term then what is a stand alone viral video really going to achieve?

It may seem like a silver bullet solution but it isn't. It may attract interest, it does, but it's very shallow. We're should be looking for deep connections with our audience rather than simply random awareness. Why is that the case? Well if we go back 25 years you'll know that there were only two commercial television channels here in the UK. You would buy an advertising slot if you could afford it - and very few could - and then you would advertise your product or service which would almost guarantee a substantial return off the back of simply increasing awareness.

Fast-forward 25 years and everybody is a media producer. Everybody has a social media channel to market. Which means that everybody is a potential producer of content...and everybody is. And in 2017 its only going to get more noisy for video marketing as all social media channels prioritise video content. So the good news is that the gatekeepers (the TV channels) to your market are increasingly less relevant but the bad news is that breaking through the subsequent noise of a content everywhere world is a real challenge. If you are going to post video on social then you will need to move away from the 'broadcast' mentality.

So how do you break through the noise? And how do you do it on a consistent basis? In my experience there is only one way; you need to speak to people on a human level. You need to provide value to those watching and consuming what is you produce. You need to provide them with solutions. Think about that for a second.

You see we are all full in terms of digital content; we reached digital saturation a long time ago. Now if we're full it's obviously going to be very difficult for something else to attract out attention and as marketers, as businesses, as causes that is exactly what we are all trying to do. The only meaningful way you can attract attention is by helping people with the problems they face not once not twice not three times but over and over and over again. That way you're going to build trust, and that way you're going to naturally attract an audience that automatically gravitates towards your brand/service/product.

As social video (both live and recorded) is set to explode across all platforms in 2017 my advice is this; forget about 'going viral'. You do not want virality. What you want to do is to post video again and again and again that provides people with valuable content which is their best interest without any expectation of return. By doing so will create deeper more meaningful relationships of trust that make it more likely you will cut through the noise and build a brand that is here for the long haul.

Thanks for watching/reading. Really interested to hear what you think so please comment, like, subscribe and all that good stuff.  

Imran Azam
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