Creating a video and having it go viral is surely every business owners dream. The outcomes — ranges from monetization to brand awareness. Since you, too, may hope someday to have a video you’ve created go viral, I offer 10 lessons that I have learned with this viral video experience.

It wasn’t a polished, professionally produced video, but rather, a video showing a side of the chorus that the public generally doesn’t see.

The outcomes, though, are a lesson in what happens when you don’t try to sell anything. Nowhere on our Facebook post did we promote a website, or that the CD with the recorded version of “Hallelujah” was available for purchase online. Nowhere did we

Bottom line: Once the message was out there and embraced, people searched on their own to find where they could buy the recording, purchase tickets, or follow the organization via email and Facebook.

The full impact of this viral video is yet to be fully known as the story continues to unfold. But so far, here are the 10 lessons learned and reinforced;

  1. Stimulate Emotion:People want to feel genuine emotion, and be taken to emotional places for a feel-good experience.
  2. Don’t be Staged:Our culture responds to authentic experiences … something behind-the-scenes … not staged.
  3. Instinct Rules:If you dream of creating a viral video, you must instinctively be in tune with your audience, and instinctively feel what will move them.
  4. Embrace Spontaneity:You must always be ready to be spontaneous. Recording on a smart phone is perfectly acceptable.
  5. News jack: Marketing guru David Meerman Scott labels, in a positive light, what we did with the news of Cohen’s passing as “News Jacking.” If a story is building somewhere, be part of it.
  6. Build Your Social Media Base:When you have a base of customers, fans and followers, they can share your content with their friends and followers on social media getting you out there faster. On Facebook, it’s reported the average person has 338 friends. So, for example, at least some of the original 6,300 followers shared the post; in theory, enough to exponentially grow to more than 184,000 likes, potentially reaching 62 million Facebook users.
  7. Live Streaming Works:Facebook live streaming, in my opinion, is the new standard of how to go viral more quickly. We put a slightly edited version of our video on YouTube and, with no promotion; there are more than 11,000 views. But Facebook is where the eyes of about everyone are today.
  8. Resist Selling:As marketers, we want to sell and monetize. But sometimes, the greatest success comes from not selling and just letting people take finding you in their own hands.
  9. You Can Monetize Social Media:But only with certain types of messaging. My experience is that Facebook and other social media are about building brand, and not so much about monetizing. But this is one example where there was monetization of social media without even trying.
  10. Culture Continues to Change:Our culture continues to evolve. It used to be that you’d only want to burnish your brand by putting out the most polished look and experience possible. Today, that doesn’t seem to be so important. In fact, in some instances it could be a turn-off.

Finally, in situations like these you never know what could happen. I’m reminded of the “Law of Unintended Consequences,” when you do something big and risk success — or failure.”

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