I’m going to walk you through a video post I made that went viral. My thoughts on why I suspect it did so, what I did and what I plan to do to push its success further. I’m documenting this in hope of creating a repeatable result in the future.
I’ve been working with Rebecca Lynch, “The Rescue Realtor®” to market her real estate agent services in Orlando Florida and her mission to help dogs in need. With every real estate transaction she completes a portion of the proceeds go to an animal rescue of her client’s choice.
In order for a video go viral on Facebook it needs to be adored by an audience and subsequently shared.
Rebecca has a great story to tell and an admirable cause. She recently travelled to South Florida when she heard about an abandoned dog problem in Redland Florida. As president of Poodle and Pooch Rescue of Florida (501c3), she travelled with a group of twelve volunteers to rescue as many dogs as possible.
My wife and I volunteer for the group, we went on the expedition. The groups goal was to catch as many dogs as possible. My goal was to create a compelling video as evidence of this problem.
I had a duty to help tell a story for the Redland dogs who don’t have a voice outside of the great rescue and advocacy groups in South Florida. From a perspective to promote Rebecca’s real estate and dog rescue endeavor, the strategy was clear, let her narrate the story. She talked about what the rescue group witnessed and what viewers could do to help.
Here is the Redland Dogs Facebook post.
For a video to get moving, use an engaging video thematic
In Rebecca’s case, her video touched on a couple of the thematics.
- Aspirational. People were engaged by the problem and were interacting with the post, asking who they could contact and where should they go tohelp. Friends were tagged on the video, helping spread the word.
- Testimonial. Rebecca is a great storyteller and naturally can emotionally convey the story of the Redland dogs and what she witnessed.
- Activist. Government authorities in South Florida are negligent of the problem. The video and subsequent blog post highlights measures viewers can take to help curtail the problem.
It was a mix of these “recipes for success” that got the video off the ground.
I’ve assembled a master list of social video viral themes that will help you think of an approach for your video.
Direct and to the point
The video is relatively short at 100 seconds. Viewers learned what the video about immediately with the headline, “Did you know… Hundreds of dogs are abandoned in Redland, Florida?” and image of volunteers feeding dogs. Videos are served up on a merit system. If your video does well with comments, shares, likes and viewership it is more likely for Facebook to serve it up to a larger audience.
The message was primed for success. Rebecca is an endearing messenger for the animals who need help. The video had dogs, a lot of them, which had intrinsic appeal. Viewers are surprised as hundreds of dogs wandering the streets is an unusual fact to encounter. Viewers are compelled to share, comment, like as they feel for these poor dogs and want justice for them.
Facebook autoplaying video feature starts videos when they enter the viewer’s browser viewport. The content plays without interaction. By subtitling the video, viewers have a better idea what the video is about. These videos tend to get longer engagement and quality interaction.
Video is the preferred format on Facebook
As cell phone data plans get larger video consumption will increase. The video was posted on April 4, 2016. As of April 20, 2016 the video had the following engagement.
Here are some video engagement stats from 16 days of activity:
- 160,000 views
- 140,500 unique viewers
- 128,000 organic viewers
- 12,000 paid views to the target demographic
- 4,500 shares
- 750 reactions
- 175 comments
- 800+ host page likes<
Facebook Video Ads
Facebook Video ads were launched to help boost traffic to the video post within Rebecca’s target audience outside the geographic region of Florida. This video targeted families “likely to move” according to Facebook, whom like Orlando, FL, Disney, had a specific net worth and most importantly were dog owners with interest in dog rescue.
The ads were responsible for approximately:
- 10% of the video views
- 5% of the video shares
- 15% of the post likes and comments
I’m looking to spread the word on Rebecca Lynch’s real estate effort as a means to directly and positively impact rescue animals within Florida and outside of Florida. Spreading the word of dogs in need is great. I’m looking to convert a percentage of that momentum into views on The Rescue Realtor website, creating brand awareness of her real estate prowess in Central Florida. The video post included a link to a longer testimonial video. Ultimately, when the time comes for a dog loving individual to make a real estate move, they’ll remember they can make an impact through Rebecca Lynch, The Rescue Realtor.
Next steps for this video
I’m on a grassroots Facebook push to help propel the video along further. Direct messaging dog rescue groups, dog advocate pages.
Considerations for future Facebook Video content
Facebook rewards video producers who produce engaging content and penalize producers who create mediocre content. If view length, sharing, liking, commenting is low, it won’t show the video on your page.
The algorithm recognizes when someone’s videos perform well, and it promotes those. But it also does the opposite. If you continue to publish videos that no one engages with and no one watches to completion, Facebook is largely going to stop showing your videos to people.
Creating lackluster videos actually cause a social problem on your Facebook page. Be sure you are creating content that speaks to your audience.
Alexander Morse is a digital designer and brand consultant at Morse Communication Design. He helps businesses communicate with design. His creative techniques and communication design skills were fostered through his agency-side experience working with a variety of clients from entertainment to retail. He is now focused on end-user, persona-driven interactive and conceptual design for consumer brands, non-profits, and clients whose message needs to be driven through impactful design.