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Why You Should Forget About Viral

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After a long day I logged into Facebook to relax and catch up. This video headline caught my eye “SWF seeking SWM with lot’s of cats.”

Something about the last part of the sentence intrigued me enough to click play. A younger woman, Debbie, is recording her first online introduction video for a large dating site. About 30 seconds into the clip she blurts out that she loves cats … I mean loves cats. Tears start flowing, followed by a dramatic emotional rollercoaster. The video received over 15 million views in less than 90 days. With numbers like that, it might be tempting for some businesses to jump on the viral bandwagon to net that number of eyeballs for their message. But it isn't that easy, of course.

Video is a huge part of my business. I'm a managing partner of Get Noticed Get Found, an online marketing company that specializes in local search engine optimization and website development. About a month ago I moved to the wonderful city of Chicago.

To prep for the move, a local contact invited me to a networking event so I could start making some new friends. I love what I do and once people find out that my firm helps companies expand their online presence we always end up in an impromptu consulting meeting.

With alarming regularity I am hearing people say:

"I think we are just going to produce a simple video and have it go viral."

My first thought is always…"Really, you think so?"

People’s enthusiasm is great. You should be spreading the word about your amazing products and services with social media. The reality is…you don’t usually just “have it go viral."

Here are two astounding YouTube stats:

- 48 hours of video content is uploaded every day

- 70 percent of all views are from outside the US

So how do videos go viral? Here are two of most common methods.

1) Pure luck with amazing timing:

You create a video, people with a huge social influence watch your video and decide to start blasting it out to their network. Examples are: Charlie Bit My Finger and Sneezing Panda. The problem is you can’t predict when this will happen or why.

2) Large companies spend millions of dollars on creating videos that go viral like Old Spice (Old Spice Man) or Ray-Ban (Sunglass Catch).

If you are not planning on spending millions of dollars you still want to have a video presence. The good news is YouTube viewers don’t expect studio quality videos. So grab a digital video camera and start recording. You can actually get better results without trying to go viral.

Here’s what you do:

Create a series of short videos (:30 to 2:00) and simply answer frequently asked questions about you, your services or products, and your company. These types of simple videos may not reach a million views, but they will drive people to your business and that is what matters.

In the description add your company name, location (city and state), and your web address including the http://www. This will maximize your search results with every video you produce.

Jabez LeBret has authored three books and is a managing partner for Get Noticed Get Found. Over the last nine years he has delivered over 700 keynote addresses in five countries. His main area of expertise is managing Gen Y in the workplace, advanced Facebook strategies, LinkedIn strategies, Google+, SEO, local directory optimization, and online marketing. He recently relocated to Chicago.

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