When trying to promote a viral video, of course you can only control its popularity to an extent, but you have to start the ball rolling, so to speak. Even the best videos need an initial push and a small base from which to grow. While some videos go viral seemingly randomly, others are carefully planned and can attain solid success levels through cultivating the right distribution strategies. As with any video, the normal rules apply of making sure you place the video on every network possible from Facebook to YouTube to Vimeo and your company’s home page, though your best viral results will likely come from YouTube and Facebook because of the massive group of users on each site.
When you’re trying to come up with a distribution strategy, first consider your intended audience, then consider where they are likely to congregate. If your video involves pets, for instance, you could probably find hundreds of pet-related Facebook groups and pages to post the video. Rather than spam other peoples’ pages, though, use diplomacy and charm to secure authorized posts. For instance, on our Mr. Formal “James Blonde” commercial, I wrote private messages to the administrators of several James Bond themed Facebook pages and each of them were friendly, even excited, to post the video to their page. They gave the project legitimacy by posting it themselves, as the group administrator. It took me barely any time to find the groups and compose the messages. Whatever your niche, you can find a bunch of interested groups on Facebook that will be receptive to your video if it’s well done, shareable, and perhaps funny.
When searching for distribution channels for your potential viral video, don’t focus on how much you need the traffic or how hopeful you are of your video being the next big success. Focus on how your video will benefit the audience of the group you want to post it. Demonstrate value to the group administrator and make them excited to share your video, almost like they are sharing in your success and giving a gift to their audience and followers. Be sure to bookmark each group or check back to respond to comments about the video, engage with viewers, and encourage them to share it with their friends if they like it.
Though social media is perhaps the easiest way for videos to go viral, because of the simple sharing process, don’t ignore the potential for other Web sources like blogs and news sites. If you have the perfect viral video that demonstrates the value of a new technology product, for instance, send it to every tech blog you can find, every tech journalist and writer, and every site devoted to such industries. You will find some supporters as long as your video is a quality production and has interest to their readers. Remember, you’re helping them too by providing valuable content for them to share. Many people who write blogs are always in search for new content to share because it saves them the headache of wondering what to write for the day or the week.
As a final tip, don’t become discouraged by non responses or negative responses. You are playing a numbers game. The Internet is a huge place. You don’t need everyone to see your video, you just need one in a hundred people to watch your video for it to become a massive hit. Most companies would be happy with even 10,000 views of a video, provided the traffic leads to sales and traction. The key is persistence and identifying the right places that want to share your video just as much as you want them to share it. If people don’t respond to your e-mails or messages, follow up again in a few days, then again in a week, and once more a few weeks later until they politely decline or finally agree to post the video, if nothing else because then you’ll stop bothering them!