Back in 2012, Dollar Shave Club launched a viral video that drew millions of views in just a few days. The video helped spark the company's meteoric rise, and in 2016 the company sold for $1 billion. That video cost just $4,500.
Many people have tried to imitate Dollar Shave Club's success, but it's easier said than done. Even Dollar was unable to repeat its success with subsequent campaigns. Nevertheless, video marketing continues to grow, and 64 percent of customers are more likely to buy a product after seeing viewing a video about it. It's a uniquely effective way of marketing and the internet has shown that you spending more doesn't necessary get you better outcomes.
Recently, I was introduced to Rob Dial. In 2015, Dial started "The Mindset and Motivation Podcast" which topped the iTunes charts in six categories and accumulated more than a million downloads in its first year. In January 2017, Dial started posting videos on Facebook; in two years, he had accumulated 1.5 million followers and over 1 billion views.
Dial has had multiple videos go viral on Facebook, including posts with 80 million views, 50 million views and 18 million views. This success allowed him to quit his day job and dedicate himself full-time to producing videos.
I asked Dial the keys to his success creating viral videos, and here's what I learned:
1. Be passionate and authentic.
In the crowded video market, authenticity helps you cut through the noise. People spend hours online every day and can sense who is being real and who is simply pedaling a new product with each post. Viewers are drawn to people who are comfortable in their own shoes and passionate about what they do.
Dial, for example, is candid about his life story: He has opened up about struggling with his sense of self-worth and losing his father to alcoholism at age 15.He repeatedly says, "My life's mission is to impact one billion souls on this planet. I would love for you join me on this journey, and I hope to impact your life in a positive way."
He has built a powerful brand by being true to who he is and not hiding behind a persona. Authenticity and vulnerability are attractive characteristics that can help you connect with others in the virtual world.
In developing my own video content, for example, I've found it helpful to be unscripted whenever possible. Rely on basic notes or bullet points instead. This can help make sure your videos look and sound like you, not a rehearsed script.
2. Find your tribe.
It's tough to produce meaningful content for a nearly limitless online marketplace, and no one can be everything to everybody. Fortunately, it's actually better to start by trying to appeal directly to a small community that is passionate about the same things you are.
You are more likely to be successful cultivating a small following of devoted fans than by trying to gain the affection of millions. Kevin Kelly explains this principle in his now-famous essay 1000 True Fans, writing:
"Instead of trying to reach the narrow and unlikely peaks of platinum best-seller hits, blockbusters and celebrity status, you can aim for direct connection with a thousand true fans. On your way, no matter how many fans you actually succeed in gaining, you'll be surrounded not by faddish infatuation, but by genuine and true appreciation."
In other words, you can make an impact by finding others who share your passions and designing content for them.
3. Find out what your audience wants.
Audience engagement is a valuable tool, and if you want to know how to build connections, just ask. Dial uses surveys to find out what his viewers want most and adjusts his content accordingly. When viewers said they wanted to learn how to journal, for example, he developed his own daily journal.
Many people feel like influencers and brands do not value their opinions, so prove them wrong by reaching out to learn what you can do for them. Seeking feedback and input from fans is a great way to make sure your content is relevant to your audience -- and, it makes your viewers feel valued.
Video is a crucial part of building an online brand and is a great way to gain traction in a fast-moving digital space. Stay ahead of the game by being true to yourself, finding a tribe of people who share your passions, and engaging with them so you can deliver what they want.