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What Makes a Viral Video?

Has your content ever gone viral? Ours has (#humblebrag). When content ‘goes viral,’ it rapidly gains attention, engagement, and shares across platforms, reaching a huge and diverse audience. Just like a virus, viral content spreads quickly! 


BUT, as we’ve said before, your goal shouldn’t be for your video content to go viral. Why? Here are three reasons: 1) You’re probably overlooking your goals by reaching for your 15 minutes of fame, 2) you’re likely compromising some of your brand values (placing eyeballs over ethics), and 3) you’re not understanding what really makes content go viral. 


Going viral should just be a wonderful happenstance of your incredible and strategic content (*cough cough* Are you a member of the Content Calendar Club yet?). However, there are a few steps you can take that can boost your video’s potential virality (or, at least, boost its engagement online). 


10 Ways You Can Improve Video Virality On Social Media



1. Emotional draw

You want to make your audience feel something whether that’s joy, empathy, aspiration, hope, or something else compelling. This will inspire them to share the video with others.


2. Relatability

If your video resonates with your audience, it’s more likely that they’ll pass it along to their peers (who will likely relate to the video, too). For a video to go viral, you typically want to resonate with a wide audience (rather than a niche one) for maximum reach.


3. Humor

Videos that are funny have a higher chance of going viral. But don’t add humor just for humor’s sake. Witty and silly videos have a time and a place, if it fits in with your brand ethos.


4. Uniqueness

Does your video stand out from the crowd? If you’re just following whatever trend everyone else is doing, your video won’t get ahead in the ranking. Whether or not you’re hopping on a trend or topic, make sure your content provides something of value for your viewers that breaks you away from the pack.


5. Timing

Videos that are timely when it comes to current events and trends have a greater likelihood of going viral (at least for a time). Stay on top of what’s going on in the world—and online—and let that reflect in your content.


6. Short and sweet

Grab your audience’s attention ASAP with quick and eye-catching videos. Depending on your platform, videos under 60 seconds have the best success rate. If you take too long to get to your point, your viewer will scroll on to the next video. The only platform that favors longer content is YouTube. In any case, the quicker you can deliver your message, the better!


7. High quality

Use your team’s best smartphone or digital camera to capture your video content. Editing should be precise and captivating and audio/visuals should be clear to keep the video quality high. 


8. Encourages engagement

Videos that inspire action (with a CTA such as ‘like, share, comment, stitch,’ etc.) compel viewers to do just that! This will increase views and the likelihood of the video appearing on someone’s “For You” or “Discover” page. Ask questions, invite comments, or encourage viewers to share their thoughts or share the clip with their friends.


9. Platform optimization

Make sure that your video content is optimized for the platform you’re working on. Important visuals shouldn’t be covered by the app’s features, video content should be oriented as preferred by that platform (i.e. horizontally for YouTube but vertically for Instagram or TikTok), and sound should be accessible regardless of the platform (pay attention to copyrights!). Use keywords and hashtags to increase your chances of appearing in someone’s search results or on their “Discover” page. 


10. Cross-promotion

Share your video content across your various social media platforms to increase visibility (and don’t forget to optimize the video for each platform’s unique preferences and algorithm). 


Check out Media À La Carte’s Instagram. We’re pros when it comes to video content. Need help in this arena? We’ve got you covered. Schedule a discovery session so we can learn more about your brand’s goals and objectives.


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