The rapid and meteoric reach that one solitary piece of content can achieve on social media is astonishing. You can churn out content on a daily basis with only a modest engagement rate and then wake up the next day with hundreds of thousands of likes, shares and comments from around the world.
And then there are those that run into the millions…
No subject matter or industry is off the table when it comes to viral content. Classical music has seen its fair share of viral content ranging from The Melodica Men’s rendition of the Rite of Spring to the ever-humorous TwoSet Violin and their short but sweet Lindsey Sterling parody.
But what happens when a piece of content becomes viral and how valuable is it really?
To answer these questions and more, I spoke with San Francisco-based violinist Evan Price about his own recent viral success.
SETTING THE SCENE
On March 23, Evan posted a link to a YouTube video on his official “Evan Price” Facebook page. This 3.5 minute long video featured multiple camera angles of him performing his own violin arrangement of a solo guitar piece by Django Reinhardt, a track on his 2018 solo album release “Dialogues.” The unique twist is that he uses his bow in an untraditional way that allows him to manipulate the number of strings that he can play at once.
Moments later, he posted the same video but natively so that the video would play immediately on Facebook’s newsfeed rather than requiring the viewer to click through to YouTube.
It immediately went viral.
The following Infographic highlights some of these remarkable results:
Brenden: You posted this video twice, firstly as a YouTube link and then as a native video post in Facebook. What was your goal and purpose for doing this and what difference did it make?
Evan: My experience with posting videos has been that many more people are inclined to view a video that is embedded in a post and therefore starts playing than clicking a link to YouTube. The results don’t lie; the YouTube video itself has had a respectable 1,615 views versus the Facebook post’s 220K plus views.
This is the perfect example of how posting natively to a social platform can make all the difference with content creation. Facebook is optimized for videos which start playing immediately as you scroll through the news feed, minus the sound. Attention is crucial particularly for people that are not yet aware of who you are and therefore less inclined to look your way. You can still post links, but the user experience exists ON Facebook, not off it. Evan’s initial YouTube link post received 132 likes and 12 shares, a definite improvement on his average engagement, but this pails in comparison to the engagement rate of his viral natively posted video.
Brenden: How long did it take you to record this video? What was the general recording process like?
Evan: I budgeted about two hours for shooting the video over the course of the recording session schedule for my CD. I did half a dozen full takes and the videographer shot each one from a different angle, which gave lots of editing options. Post-production involved about ten hours of editing by a professional video editor.
While these sorts of videos can’t necessarily be created on a regular basis, the time and effort that does go into creating high quality content makes a big difference. That being said, a superbly shot and edited video alone isn’t enough. Evan’s video content itself was the draw: unique, compelling, different and interesting. The production value was the icing on the cake and likely assisted in attracting more than it might otherwise have done.
Brenden: Did this video result in a surge of website traffic or product sales from your online store?
Evan: I haven’t seen what I would call a dramatic uptick in sales or website traffic, but I did sell some items from my store.
Unless you become an overnight sensation like the backpack kid or get picked up by Ellen Degeneres, viral content is not something that is going to make you an instant success.
The most powerful result is that it generates awareness and attention, two of the most coveted goals in marketing.
Remember that you can’t just constantly "sell your wares" to people that don’t know you and then expect them to miracously buy your concert tickets or other products. But by following up your viral content with more high quality, valuable and interesting content, you start to build a loyal following that views you as more than just a one trick pony and someone that they can trust for consistent value, inspiration and entertainment.
There is no set strategy to make content go viral and many interviews from those that have seen such success will say that it was entirely unexpected. Just like anything, there are no short cuts or silver bullets.
But what these viral videos do teach us is that high quality content will absolutely be consumed. Furthermore, quality content creation will build a following, a following that responds and reacts positively to what you offer.
And remember, just like everyone else, you truly are only one post away from going viral…!