What makes a video go viral? There’s no exact formula to create content that people want to share and some of the videos that do become extremely popular are surprising, but it ultimately comes down to entertaining and educating in ways that truly resonate with audiences.  

Video is an extremely effective medium for storytelling, as it involves multiple senses while lending itself to customizable and interactive digital formats across devices. While the viral factor is subjective and varies on a case by case basis, there are ways that brands can better ensure that their content is connecting with audiences on the intended levels, aside from simply using humor or education at the core:  

Practice story-starting
One way to increase engagement with audiences is by starting a story and letting influencers and consumers finish it. This strategy could use a variety of tactics such as using polls, so audiences can vote on the direction of your brand’s story based on what they want to see from you. This helps find out what content is connecting with viewers and provides further clarification on what would be a hit with them. Brands could also use a contest that sources user-generated video content that audiences develop and submit as their own endings to brand’s stories, so the user plays an even greater role in the story.

Be authentic
Good content is no longer about the production value—it’s about the authenticity and real value that it provides to audiences. Whether video content is entertaining through humor or sentiment—authentic emotion will grab audiences on a deeper level than over-produced effects. While production value is important, it’s not necessarily the reason that audiences feel compelled to share the video with their networks. With tools such as Snapchat, brands can use quick video snippets on the fly to supply daily stories to audiences with engaging content at the core.

Add interactivity
Once brands have the root of their stories, there are endless possibilities to add interaction that further engages audiences and drives them towards taking action—whether it be sharing a video on social media, purchasing a product, or anything else a brand is driving them to do.  For instance, brands can add interactive hotspots to their video ads that when clicked, reveal more information about a character or product featured in the video. This lets audiences dive deeper into the specific information that they’re interested in while keeping the brand’s story focused and impactful.

Personalize to perfection
Digital video also makes it possible for brands to tell many iterations of the same story through personalization that tailors it to be more engaging with audiences on individual levels. This tactic uses audience data to pull in dynamic messaging or content that is more suited to a consumer, such as location, time, weather information, and more. Brands are now able to tell their stories with a more customized approach that helps break through the clutter and shows audiences that their videos were specifically made with them in mind.

Storytelling through video marketing is an extremely powerful strategy for brands that ultimately promotes brand ambassadors, who share and participate in a brand’s story and creates a community of brand followers. Any opportunities that brands have to empower these audiences to “choose their own adventure” is key in this area, as audiences continue to take a more active role of participation in brand video experiences.

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