I’m almost embarrassed to tell you this story, but here goes. Not long ago, I was at a birthday party for a friend's child. Of the 20 kids running all over the house, I think six of them had colds. So, among all the fun, festivities and excitement, all I could focus on was their wheezing, sneezing and coughing. If I’d had an air pollution mask, I’d have happily put it on. When my friend wasn’t looking, I raced out of her house like my pants were on fire. Luckily, I don’t think she noticed. Hey, we all have our quirks, right?
My OCD nature leads me to do anything not to catch a virus, but that’s true only in life. In business, I am all about “catching a virus” and spreading it like crazy. I’m referring to anything that can be shared by one person with another until it catches on and “goes viral.” This can be amazing ideas, useful information, invaluable inspiration, life-changing products and services, and even moments in time. These things are like pure gold—viral gold. Social media's best tool for going viral is YouTube, but what sets YouTube apart.
The YouTube Difference
There are now hundreds, if not thousands, of social networking sites available, linking millions of people together and providing a place to share information and images in milliseconds. From dating sites to online blogging, recipe boards to dream kitchens, food and cash sign-ups for friends-in-need—the list is practically endless. And while many of these sites allow you to post videos, YouTube excels in this area because it’s all videos and only videos. YouTube allows all registered users to upload 15-minute videos at zero cost. Nada.
Did you know that YouTube reports its one billion users watch approximately six billion hours of video every single month? It’s been listed as the top global TV and video website, attracting more than 15 billion visitors per month, reaching more 18-34 (overall) and 18-49 year-olds (mobile alone) than any cable network in the United States. I think YouTube has become our go-to for video news. We really do live in a video-centric world.
People, especially business owners, are sometimes reluctant to upload videos because they think they have to write a script, shoot professional footage or even exaggerate facts to make them more interesting. I’ve learned that you don’t have to do any of that; you just have to find something real that gets you excited. What excites me about my business is: third-party testimonials, a customer blown away by customer service, a before and-after success story and any client story that brings tears to my eyes or laughter. What about you? What if you captured one of those moments that brings the wow factor to your business and shared it with the world? Let me give you an example.
A few years ago, one of my employee’s daughters, a 15-year old named Kaylee who’d always gotten As and Bs in school, suddenly started missing classes. Her grades began plummeting and she was also avoiding family get-togethers, locking herself in her room. My friend was beside herself as she watched her little girl’s self-esteem disappear. What was happening with Kaylee? Turns out, she was suffering the emotional damage that often comes with severe acne. Her mom tried everything—all the latest retail products claiming they helped acne—but nothing worked. My medspa had started offering laser acne treatments, so I comped Kaylee on a handful of treatments—and they worked. Kaylee’s face cleared up beautifully and, even better, her confidence was restored. She’s back to class, back to hanging out with her friends. In fact, her mom is in panic zone because of all the boys are now texting Kaylee. Now, this is a nice story, but it could have stopped there. Instead, I decided it was compelling enough—wow factor enough—that we needed to share it. I asked my staff to make a simple video. They said it took a few takes to get it right, but that it captured exactly what I wanted: the story's realness, its honesty and heartfelt emotions.
I’m happy to say that since we uploaded that video on YouTube and also promoted it on Facebook, we’ve gotten 10,000+ total downloads and more phone calls booking laser acne treatments that we can even count. Create your own buzz with videos that show real stories, real testimonials, real emotions and real heartfelt moments. You, too, can start a virus that everyone wants to catch.
Top Three Tips for Going Viral
1. Get a smart phone. If you've got a smart phone, you’re ready to video. Ensure your video quality is consistent by borrowing or purchasing a simple portable spotlight, selfie stick or mini phone tripod—each available on Amazon for about $20 or less.
2. Get a story. This gives you viral potential. Start with your favorite, funniest or most heartfelt customer, and ask her or him to do a two-minute testimonial for you. Thank them with a free or discounted treatment.
3. Get a formula. Well, now you do! Upload your first video, then think of 5-10-15 more. Make videos part of your company’s culture, posting one about every 45 days. Grow your business by going viral.