Should You Be Trying to Create the Next Big Viral Video?

Remember the video about the cat playing piano? Or the baby twins jabbering back and forth at one another? Or the time Charlie bit his brother’s finger? Those are just some of the big viral video moments from the past decade, and they share one major thing in common: None of them was designed to go viral. They were all just random moments caught on film that also captured the imagination of viewers.

That’s the beauty of viral videos. Most of them aren’t designed to become YouTube sensations. They show a moment that’s poignant, funny or true, which resonates with viewers around the globe. They can be huge traffic drivers, and that has prompted many businesses to try to make their own viral video to bring clicks to their site. But does that make good business sense?

Fickle and Unpredictable

The answer is probably not. The problem with viral video is that for every one that hits, there are literally thousands that don’t become popular enough to qualify as even a mild sensation on YouTube. There’s not usually a rhyme or reason to why one video hits and another doesn’t. YouTube viewers, and the internet population generally, can be fickle and unpredictable.

This is one reason why trying to score a viral video is a waste of time for most businesses. You’ll likely put in more than you get out, because it’s not possible to foresee whether the video will actually go viral and validate your efforts. Unlike, say, cleaning out septic tanks or flossing your teeth each day, you don’t see an immediate return on the time investment.

Huge Payoff

Of course, some would argue that the potential upside to a viral video absolutely justifies the time and effort. If you can think of something funny enough, or capture something unusual enough with your camera, you can try to ignite the video with savvy social media marketing.

Post it not just to your business’s social media sites but also to your personal accounts. Encourage your employees to do the same. Between all of you, you’ll reach thousands of people, and that will give you a better chance of hitting the viral video sweepstakes.

Enlist a Celebrity

If your business has an in with a celebrity, that may be the one time that pursuing the viral video strategy is virtually risk-free. Get the star to tweet the video to his or her millions of followers. Celebrity tweets are retweeted thousands of times across the world. Also, because most stars have fans in many countries, your video will go viral much more quickly than if you were simply tweeting to an audience in the United States.