Of all the media through which you can brand yourself, video may be the most compelling. Take these statistics:
- Social video results in 12 times the shares compared with text and images.
- About two-thirds of U.S. adults (68 percent) use Facebook with three-quarters of them doing so daily. As for YouTube--it's used by nearly three-quarters of U.S adults and 94 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds.
- And considering the popularity of Smart TVs, it makes sense to look at which apps people are most using on them. Of Smart TV owners, YouTube and Facebook are in the top five apps, with 44 percent watching the former on their Internet-connected TV and 34 percent accessing Facebook.
- And Instagram's 1 billion users view 60 percent more video there than they did a little over a year ago.
If creating a viral video shared by thousands of people is something you'd like to do, take some advice from Dhar Mann, founder and CEO of LiveGlam, a cosmetics company that he took from $600 in starting capital to eight figures in annual revenue in less than two years. On social media, his motivational videos on life and business have been viewed over 250 million times and shared by millions of people in less than six months. Here are his words on how to get started.
1. What kind of hardware do I need, and how much can I expect to pay for it? Or, can I just use my phone?
Quality of video really doesn't matter much and in fact can have an adverse affect on viewership. When the quality's too good people think they're watching a commercial or being sold something. Many of the most viral videos were shot on a mobile phone with a shaky hand, poor lighting and bad audio. It makes it feel raw and authentic. My advice would be don't get too hung up on spending a lot on hardware in the beginning because it's not a barrier to entry. The most important part is being consistent with your content and then upgrading over time.
2. What software do you use to edit, and what kind of file is the final product?
I don't create content full time so I've hired a videographer to shoot and edit for me. The money my content brings in more than pays for my production costs. If you have some starting capital, hiring a videographer can save you a lot of time and headache. If you don't have any starting capital then you'll have to roll up your sleeves and learn for yourself. My advice would be start with Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro or iMovie. The software isn't too expensive and allows you export into any one of the dozens of file formats Facebook accepts, including the most popular MP4 or MOV formats.
3. Video format and length needs to be different according to the platform I'm publishing on, correct? Can you explain the difference between posting on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube?
For Facebook my videos average between three to four minutes long. Three minutes is the required length to place ads on your video so none of my videos are below that. Beyond four minutes most people don't have the attention span and will swipe out. For YouTube people have a longer attention span so four to five minutes would be the sweet spot. For IGTV I haven't seen a clear content length winner, but the rule of thumb with any content is don't make it longer than it needs to be. There's no right or wrong way, but I'm constantly looking for ways to trim down my length as people's attention spans are consistently decreasing.
4. How can I attract thousands of views, and do you have any tips for marketing?
I've developed a viral checklist for Facebook that helps me create content that's viral worthy:
- Captivate the audience with something shocking in the first 10 seconds
- Invoke a strong emotional reaction
- Don't rely on dialogue- the video should make sense without sound
- Have an unexpected, ironic twist
- Create relatable content that brings back memories for the viewer
- Understand your target audience and create content for them, not you
- Use hot button issues that people are already thinking about
- Consistency is key and virality is a numbers game
- Create content native to each platform
If you create the right content, you won't have to do a lot to market it, the social platforms and their algorithms will do the work for you. That's why you see a lot of stories going viral from everyday people without a following.
5. Do you have any advice for coming up with good topics?
It should come naturally to you. If you are a funny person then choose comedy. If you're great at giving advice then choose inspiration. If you have a strong talent then create tutorials. If you're not the best at talking to the camera than choose to interview others. The marketplace has room for lots of different content types and personality types that's why you have both six-year olds and 60-year olds making millions of dollars a year on YouTube. There's definitely a niche that can work for you.