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The pace of social video sharing has almost doubled in 12 months and 42% of video shares now happen in the first three days of launch.

This is according to new research from Unruly published today. The Social Diffusion Curve measures the lifecycle of a viral video. In particular the speed of social diffusion for the top 4,000 videos in social video, 

In April last year it was found that a quarter of the average online branded video’s shares occur in the first three days of its launch. This has nearly doubled to 42% in just 12 months.

The average number of shares on the day following launch, when the most shares usually happen, has almost doubled from 10% to 18% over the last 12 months, while shares in the first week have also risen from 37% to 65% during the same period.

This means the first few days are vital for driving engagement and shares.

How can social video marketers ensure they’re making the most of those first few days?

It's impossible to predict whether a video will become viral or not, but there are ways to increase the chances that a video will get shared.

YouTube has made things a lot easier for content marketers by publishing its Creator Playbook for Brands. A massive 100 page tome with a highly detailed seven step approach to content marketing.

Here are some of the highlights from the playbook that will certainly help any brand or ambitious YouTuber

Identify trending subject matter by staying on top of popular search terms and keeping an eye on what’s trending on YouTube.

Connecting through emotion increases the chances of a viewer sharing it. If they’ve felt a strong feeling towards it, whether it’s laughter, excitement, nostalgia, or even fear, a viewer likely use strong adjectives to describe it when sharing therefore increasing the chance that other people will watch it to.

People share content because they feel it says something about who they really are, what will your content say about the people who share it? Sharing a funny video says that they too are funny. Sharing informative content says that they too are knowledgeable. 

Creating an ongoing series does not mean a narrower audience. Often one video from a series will ‘break out’ and become a hit, drawing a wider audience to your content. Content that they are likely to watch every episode of because it’s part of a wider picture.

Scheduling content

Don’t just upload your video as soon as it’s done, at whatever time that may be. Develop a programming strategy. This will help create a cohesive viewing experience across your channel, with each video should fit into the larger channel vision.

YouTube recommends organising your content into three categories:

  • Hygiene: your channel’s basic ‘always on’ videos. Videos created based on high volume searches in your category, that answer those needs with simplicity and clarity. Like a brief tutorial video.
  • Hub: regular, scheduled programming that gives a reason for viewers to subscribe to your channel and keep coming back.
  • Hero: big, one-off tent-pole events that are designed to increase your audience’s growth. 

Promote your content with paid media

Even the best, most relevant videos don’t necessarily find the right audience. Sometimes they need a little push towards the right target.

Promoted content can help accelerate your audience growth and promote discovery amongst viewers who wouldn’t necessarily have found your content by other organic means.

YouTube’s own ad service is called ‘TrueView in-stream’. This is basically the skippable pre-roll ads you see at the start of videos. It also offers ‘in-display’ which appear as a thumbnail and text on YouTube watch pages, or ‘in-search’ where your video appears in a special promoted section of the video search results pages on YouTube and Google video results.

If you’re going to use the ‘in-stream’ service, for goodness sake put the best stuff in the first five seconds

Amplify with social

Use a systematic approach when it comes to interacting with your audience to help build a community around your YouTube content.

Find out what other social channels your community is using, engage with them there too.

Develop relationships with your top contributors, they will ultimately become your most influential ambassadors.

Let fans know that they are an integral part of shaping your channel. Give them the chance to connect with you.This can mean properly engaging with them in two-way conversation or even getting them involved with the creation of your videos. 

Also don’t forget to ask for feedback and respond to comments both within YouTube and via other social channels.

For more on YouTube strategy from the blog check out YouTube strategy for brands and Further advice on YouTube strategy.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 21 May, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (1)

Alex Nichol

Alex Nichol, Multi-Platform Director at Future&Co.

I'm sure this is going to be invaluable to a lot of people! Our production team has been making TV commercials since the nineties, so they know how to engage audiences in a really short timeframe, but distribution and audience priming are far more challenging in a digital/social context than they are in broadcast, and take a little more patience to figure out. Thanks for sharing!

about 2 years ago

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