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You Can Create Viral Video Content for Social Media on a Budget

Nathan Resnick
Nathan Resnick

Make sure your brand's videos stand out from the crowd.

If you are a marketer, you are most likely very familiar with trying to increase awareness of your brand and while also cutting costs. At times, these two goals feel contradictory, but they do not have to be. Social media has allowed for the possibility of viral videos.

These videos do not need to be high budget, and they have the potential to make your brand a cultural phenomenon. Some people think viral videos are created purely accidentally, but this couldn't be further from the truth. You can intentionally craft video content that will spark hundreds of thousands of people to talk about your company. Sounds amazing, right? The following six tips will help you create viral video content – especially on a shoestring budget:

1. Choose a specific target audience.

When creating a viral video, you have to first determine your target audience. Because you are hoping everyone will watch your video, it can be tempting to attempt to use a worldwide audience as your target, but this will almost certainly be a major inhibitor of your video's success.

If your chosen audience is too general, your message will be too vague to be highly poignant. Remember, the videos that resonant with people are the ones that go viral, so poignancy is vital. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to be poignant without being specific.

Once your specific audience is chosen, learn everything you can about the characteristics of that audience. No detail is too small. Everything you learn will be helpful in creating a targeted message. Do the people in this audience have strong political leanings, a shared experience from their childhood years, or a common distaste for anything in particular?

These details will help determine the direction and tone of your video.

The goal is to capture the entire attention of your targeted audience. Once you have gained total awareness among this one audience, other audiences are guaranteed to hear the buzz. This is the sequence of events that will make your video a phenomenon. If you can harness the energy behind issues your audience already cares about, your chances of creating a viral video will soar.

2. Take advantage of video editing apps.

You no longer need thousands of dollars of equipment to create a highly entertaining and shareable video. You can use your own phone to record and edit video that has real, viral potential.

In my personal experience as an entrepreneur, with apps like VideoBoost, an app in the BoostApps suite, you can actually go as far as making your content fun, professional, and relatable without breaking your budget. Amongst a host of other options, VideoBoost is great for short, engaging, videos that can be quickly edited and posted using their pre-made video templates and tools.

Video editing apps are inexpensive (most of them, at least) and easy to use. Typically, you will not need to hire a person specifically trained in video editing to create a video with these apps. Anyone on your team can film and edit, which will be a huge relief to your budget.

Not only are these apps easy to use, but they are also fun. These apps allow you to experiment until you find something that matches you and your brand.

3. Pay attention to aesthetic.

The aesthetic of your video is the thing that initially grabs a person's attention. You have to give people a reason to watch before they know what they are going to see. A visually pleasing design can be that reason. There are many ways to do this without breaking the budget.

It is important to keep in mind how your video's aesthetic matches the platform being used. Social media is the platform where viral videos are spread, so you should think about how your aesthetic works with various social media platforms. Fortunately, many videocentric apps and tools have premade templates to help craft your video's aesthetic to meet your goals.

4. Be timely.

An easy way to get your video content to go viral is to pay careful attention to the top issues in the current moment. Viral content is frequently built off of other viral content. This is why parodies are often successful. They borrow from the popularity of top news stories or celebrities' fame and add something of their own. Parody isn't the only way to do this, but it is a highly successful method.

The key to borrowing from popular ideas is to make sure the ideas are current. Your content will seem more original if you parody a quote from yesterday's top news story than if you impersonate a famous figure from the last decade. Content can become viral overnight if you do it right, but timeliness is crucial to success.

This means you have to be fast-moving in creating your content. When you have an idea, jump on it. When you notice something trending in the news, it's not going to be trending forever. Do not wait too long to make a video referencing popular topics because someone might beat you to it.

5. Keep things short and sweet.

There are a million different items competing for the attention of media consumers every single day. The best way to get your audience's attention is to not ask for too much.

Your video should be short and simple enough that someone could watch it quickly and get the full impact of the idea without too much effort. If a video can be watched while waiting in line at the grocery store or while brushing your teeth in the morning, more people are going to find the time to watch it.

Remember that the average attention span is less than 10 seconds. This means that if you are asking people to watch your content for longer than 10 seconds, you should offer something highly engaging at least every 10 seconds to convince your audience members that this is worth their time.

At the end of the video, viewers should feel like they got something out of it and did not waste their time. Feeling like the time was well spent is what will lead to your video being shared. The more concise you can be, the more excited your audience will be to share your content for you.

6.  Tap into an audience's emotions.

The best way to get people to share your video is to make them feel something. It's an emotion that motivates an audience to click "share" rather than keep scrolling through content and forget they ever saw your video.

The first step of tapping into emotion is to choose which emotions to appeal to. Will you make your audience laugh or cry? Will you be inspiring, shocking, hilarious, or all of the above? Although every emotion is powerful, the emotions that best motivate people towards your brand are the ones that make people feel good about themselves and their lives.

Whichever emotion you choose, the impact of that emotion will really be felt. Test your content in front of a few people. Get some feedback and adjust accordingly. Many videos have failed because it was clear there was an attempt to be funny, and yet no one actually laughed – do not let this happen to you.

7.  Learn from the data.

Data is one of the best marketing tools we have in the modern age. Each time you post a video to social media, analyze the results. You can see how many people have viewed your content, as well as where those people found your video. You can use this information to your advantage, especially as you create more and more content.

The more information you gather about the viewers of your content, the more you will be able to cater your videos toward the correct audience. You’ll be able to see which videos perform better and among which groups. Once you know this, you can move away from the types of content that aren’t successful, and you can move further in the direction of the content that is higher performing.

There are people who believe creating viral content is entirely random luck. It’s true that some people may get lucky by creating a viral video even though they do not understand it, however, luck is hard to come by. There is a much easier way to deliver extremely popular videos, and that is to analyze the data and use it to influence your content creation.

Not only is it entirely possible to create a viral video on a minimal budget, but it is also common. Many viral videos have been created with very few resources. Sometimes businesses with the smallest budgets produce the most creative content.

Image Credit: Smolaw11 / Getty Images
Nathan Resnick
Nathan Resnick Member
Nathan Resnick is a serial entrepreneur who currently serves as CEO of Sourcify, a marketplace of the world's top manufacturers. Having brought dozens of products to life, he knows the ins and outs of how to turn ideas into realities.