Going Viral

Despite the wrath of Mina (not me but the typhoon, blame the Pagasa naming system) last Saturday, I found myself taking the bus to a place I really miss – UP Manila. It’s my first visit since our graduation, and I really wanted to visit earlier, if it weren’t for the delay in the release of our TOR and diploma.

Barry, my professor in Communication Trends and Styles, invited me, Nadz of Pure Digital, and Angel of Nuffnang Philippines to talk about our real-world experiences in making content, especially audiovisual ones, viral, and to critic the videos the students made based on their potential to become viral and on target audience reception. I figured out that seeding is Nadz’s expertise, given her work experience, so I shared what in video seeding is relevant to me as a social media manager. Here are the 5 ‘tips’ I had with me during the meeting:

1. People share content that is useful, relevant, and/or entertaining.
I remember we had something like this back when I was an undergrad in the form of four Es, but I can only remember 3 – engaging, educational, entertaining. (Sorry, Sir Barry! Haha!) Anyway, the URE is fresh from Will Sansom’s keynote in IMMAP Summit two weeks ago. This is a no-brainer, why on earth would someone share something that does not even appeal to him or her? I thought of examples to back up my tip, but I realized that I only had entertaining ones as top-of-mind thoughts. Care to help me think of ideas that went viral because of their usefulness and/or relevance? 🙂

2. Do NOT spam.
One of the things that irk me as an SMM is loading my page and realizing that there are spam posts all over it. I personally define spam as irrelevant content, and so I tolerate relevant (and non-competing) ones. To prove how I abhore spam, I threatened the students that if they post their videos on one of my pages and the video is way too irrelevant to the brand, I’ll report them to authorities – Facebook and Sir Barry. I know that was just too evil. Teehee. But I’m serious.

3. Get an influencer.
Remember talented Maria Aragon’s Born this Way video? It became viral because Lady Gaga herself linked the video to her Facebook and Twitter accounts. Now, not-so-little Maria will be singing the PNA on Pacquaio’s next fight. What I’m trying to say is that, the ‘influencer’ must be somehow related to your content, or their followers are your target audience. Some celebrities RT stuff that appeals to them, thus, your RT request needs to be compelling and doesn’t appear like spam.

4. Optimize your video for search.
Some videos on Youtube are just there before they become viral. Youtube has features like tags, descriptions, titles, and thumbnails that can be maximized for a video to end up ranking high in search, appearing in related videos, or even appearing in featured videos. For starters, Youtube has the Creator Playbook to help users optimize their videos.

5. Buy spaces.
This is just another option to make an idea viral. Setting up online ads, sponsoring blog posts, buying Buzzfeed spaces, buying online community threads, and subscribing to Churp Churp (which was further explained by Ate Angel) are just some of the ways to do it with a cost. The idealist (and the kuripot) in me still prefers the organic way, but at least there are options. 🙂

This part I didn’t show in class, but let me just enumerate some of the videos that have gone viral that I really love:

Improv Everywhere’s Frozen Grand Central

I loooooved this ever since this was shown at the IMC Youth Congress last November. I find this really really good for two reasons: I’m tired of flashmobs and this was interesting take to it, like an antithesis of a flashmob, and the acting is really convincing. Check out other missions by Improv Everywhere here; I’m crazy about their latest, Say Something Nice, and the Star Wars enactment in a train.


Seamless idea and execution (except for very little details, like the bride’s makeup in the helicopter scene). And would you believe, this is a same-day edit! Really amazing if you ask me (and very cool bride and groom!). Watch the reception premiere too, to see the guests’ reaction.


I dropped my jaw when I read the description. I guess the viral component in this one is that it appeals to each one’s desire to experience new things and discover new places. Highly recommended too are Learn and Eat videos (though I like Learn more heehee)! And in case you haven’t noticed it yet, Vimeo is a goldmine of HQ (idea+execution wise) videos. 🙂

And last but not the least…

Lady Gaga Goes to School

I believe this was the most viral among the videos that our batch did last year. Unkabogable si Kitty! Haha! Looking at our videos now I admit they can still be improved, but this video nevertheless hits the spot, just read the comments. XD

This year, I’d say that all the videos are backed up by brilliant big ideas. OrCom eh. Haha! But seriously, all of them have the potential to be viral, given the right market to target. Some videos can be improved, technical- and script-wise, but the effort to produce quality videos can be seen through the outputs, so congratulations to everyone and good luck on your video seeding! Remember, don’t spam! 😉

** Oh btw, special mention to the 2 groups who decided to have an advocacy as the core message of their videos. Viral content obviously lean towards the entertainment formula, but kudos for taking the risk! 🙂

** Nadz, Ate Angel, and I are proud products of BA Organizational Communication (BA OrCom) – UP Manila, and we thrive in the digital marketing industry, because it’s one of the numerous fields OrCom has prepared us for.


One thought on “Going Viral

  1. Oh wow! I just said the same thing (#1) about Social Media accounts on my blog, that I should only keep sites which are relevant, useful and fun for me and my network/s. Same goes for content- anything that doesn’t fall in these categories should not be posted! Wish I mastered all these 5 points back then when we were tasked to produce viral videos. Oh well, the learning never stops! Sounds like you had a super fun afternoon. :”> Hope I could experience another Barry class…

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