The Elements of a viral video

How do you make a great video?

It’s no secret these days when it comes to creating engaging social media content for your business, or even your personal page, nearly nothing gets the response from people like videos do. But why is that? What makes a video go “viral”? Is there a recipe for virality? What key elements of videos make people love them? Dogs? Absolutely. Cats? 100%. Kids? Without question. Adults? Maybe but not as much. Destruction and chaos? In most cases, yes. Food and recipes? Oh, yeah. But why do people love video, but also love some videos even more so, and what makes good video content?

What makes good video content?

Some difficult questions to answer for sure. One of the main reasons so much video content is made from marketers, and everyday people, is that we remember video so much longer than other forms of content such as the written word. It’s so much easier and generally more entertaining to consumers as well. This article not withstanding of course. And according to an article by ARS Technica, we might have neurons in our brains that “light up” when we are exposed to certain types of content. What about cat videos?

Who doesn’t love cat videos?

Researcher Dr. Radha O’Meara from Massey University in New Zealand who poured over hundreds of hours of cat videos to find out a common theme or trigger: Because “cats don’t care they’re being filmed — an especially rare thing these days, particularly at a time that we ourselves are a bit unnerved about being watched. Cats don’t seem to acknowledge the camera at all and just do whatever they like, they are oblivious to it.”

But there is also the element that all of us have a deep seeded pleasure in surveillance and spying in other people’s lives.  This is essentially what spawned the evolution of so-called “Reality TV”. We like to think there is no script and no acting, so we can observe the life and flaws of another person. It makes us feel good knowing other people are as flawed or more so than we are. There’s comfort in other people’s flaws to some extent. But aren’t we all a little voyeuristic when it comes to people’s everyday lives? We all want to see behind the curtain from time to time. Does that also explain our seemingly insatiable appetite for food and recipe videos?

Recipes and Food shows aren’t just for TV

We all love food, we all secretly want to be chefs, and being a home chef is probably the closest most of us will get to being a chef. But how many recipe building and food videos are enough? Apparently, there aren’t enough as we can’t seem to get enough of them.

But why? In article published by Spoon University, nostalgia plays a big role. “Tapping into what has made cooking channels so well-liked, food videos make viewers feel all warm and fuzzy inside as they imagine themselves as a child devouring their favorite snack or now as an adult cooking food from the heart for their loved ones.” Plus, we don’t have to watch an hour-long show to get the recipe, but rather in 60 second increments and poof, Coq Au Vin! And the birth of yet another home chef has been fostered. But this trend of video watching must stop or slow down at some point, right? Isn’t it getting close to running its course? Maybe, but probably not. Is there a “Next Frontier” of video content? Oh, yes, and this time it’s live, not recorded.


Live video is the new video

Live video is the new frontier, and it satisfies nearly all our emotional cravings. A simple live video can satisfy our voyeuristic tendencies by letting us in on something happening now, and giving us at least a glimpse of what is happening behind the proverbial curtain. It provides that instant gratification we all so sorely demand from nearly everything. Live video also provides a sense of FOMO, or fear of missing out. But live events and videos also can replace our need to be somewhere faraway to see it and experience it in person. Can’t afford to attend or have the time to go to this year’s Coachella? Not to worry, tune in to the live feed and experience it from the comfort of your desk. With Live Video now, you can even interact with the content and creators. But is all this enough to make your video or live stream go “viral”? Not necessarily.

How to make a viral video

I got to thinking about this concept of virality in recent days with the viral video of the dad and professor in South Korea giving an interview over the air to the BBC network about East Asian affairs, his kids and wife stormed into his office seemingly and unknowingly sabotaged his live performance and interview that was being shown across the globe. As anyone who is a parent knows, kids have a distinct and innate ability to show up out of nowhere when the moment is least appropriate or desired for them to do so. This video, dubbed the “BBC interview hijacked by children” went viral in a matter of minutes after its’ original showing live on BBC.

What is it about this video that struck a chord with so many people around the world? Is there something we can all take away from this video that can improve our own video content and potential virality? I say unequivocally yes. And does it do anything to satisfy emotional triggers we all have deep embedded inside each one of us? No doubt about it. Here is what that video had and has that can enlighten all of us on what kind of video will potentially engage, or even delight people.

  • It’s at least mildly voyeuristic. Shows behind the scenes of life.
  • It’s humorous.
  • No script or acting of any kind.
  • It’s nostalgic. Reminds us of our current or past lives.
  • Exhibits or exposes perceived “flaws” in us, our team, or our family.
  • It’s slightly or overly chaotic.
  • Bonus: If it’s Live.
  • Bonus: If it contains either a dog, cat, or a child.
  • Lastly and maybe most importantly…It’s human and real, or a representation of life.


While these elements of a video certainly do not guarantee success, huge engagement, a staggering number of views, or even virality, utilizing these elements organically in your videos and video campaigns will certainly better the chances of any of them and possibly all of them happening. Just don’t script it out. Be real, be flawed and most of all be human.

Author, Eric Graham, Digital Marketing Manager-

The Art of Communicating Insight

The Art of Communicating Insight- Social and Marketing Insights

The success of any service oriented business depends largely on how effectively its employees communicate the value they provide their customers. This becomes paramount for Big Data / Analytics service providers where identifying and communicating “actionable insight” to their customers is the value. The ability to communicate analytics and insight effectively drives the quality of the relationship between the provider and client. Effective communication has become part of the job for any tech savvy analyst.

Whether working with internal or external customers, an analyst’s ability to communicate clear messages about the data and actions needed is crucial. The quality and clarity of communication about the insight found can have a tremendous influence to drive the actions that were identified from the analysis. From my experience, being in the insight business at iWeSocial, and working with clients across many different industries – communicating insights effectively will dictate the success or failure of any project.

An effective analyst will be able to combine visual (show the supporting data) and verbal (communicate the insight) messages to convey the findings; empowering the end user to act on the insight.

How Do You Communicate Insight Effectively?

Effective insight communication refers to the ability to tell a story through data to address business challenges. To be able to answer, what happened. What is currently happening? Or, what’s going to happen? Communicating insight involves, “connecting the dots” between the overall business challenge down to what we identify as corrective action. No matter what the deliverables, to communicate insight effectively starts with setting clear goals for the analysis. Another key factor of successful insight communication is to know your audience. Are you speaking to an executive team focused on overall business drivers or the head of marketing or sales? Each will have their own set of questions they are wanting the data to help answer. For example, the sales executive may want to understand how to increase sales productivity or increase customer acquisition. While the marketing executive will want to know about marketing effectiveness and customer engagement.

From my experience in delivering insight to a variety of clients, I have noticed several themes. Specifically, to be able to communicate your insight effectively, I recommend that you keep the following in mind:

  • Know your audience
    • Their pain-points
    • Business challenges they face
    • Questions they are trying to answer
  • Keep it simple
    • Avoid technical jargon
    • Simple, actionable findings
    • Leverage clear visualization
  • Connect Insight to the Bottom Line
    • Increase in revenue
    • Reduction of cost structure
    • Increase in average spend per customer

In summary, effective insight communication is the ability to convey your findings to key stakeholders to drive action – so they can do something differently than the way they’ve been doing it historically. With effective insight communication, always try to provide a clear answer to a business question, not merely providing another piece of data. The insight should focus on the business impact; if the insight doesn’t lead to an action then question whether to include it at all.

The success of any business depends largely on how effective they are at using data that’s turned into insight to drive their business forward. The question is how can we communicate these insights more effectively for greater business return?

Author- Evan Escobedo, VP and GM iWeSocial

What is the most effective social media channel?

What is the most effective social media channel?

I was hanging out on Quora the other day (yes, that’s what we do here sometimes), and the following question appeared:

What is the most effective social media channel?

Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? OR D: All the Above

Without getting carpal tunnel, I have provided some examples for the ‘perceived’ Big 3:

From a professional standpoint, it really depends on the type of business. Twitter is great from a B2B and Customer Service standpoint. It definitely is applicable to a B2C audience too. It’s also a great way of pushing out blogs and articles from LinkedIn. Twitter is a great platform for Call-To-Action posts. A simple tweet from a Globally known brand such as AmEx can reach thousands. For example, “Where did you use your American Express Card this weekend?”  OR Check out what American Express does (below).

what is the best social media channel

This post was not only a Call-To-Action post, but it was a short video as well. This is the best of both worlds and great partnership branding.

Facebook and Instagram are great for a B2C industry. Imagery speaks volumes. Facebook is inexpensive (compared to Twitter and LinkedIn) for a paid campaign. It’s great for contests and Call-To-Action type posts.

is facebook the best social media channel

Here, Ent Credit Union implements a contest / Call-To-Action post with a great image. For a local credit union, this is great engagement with its audience. The content is short and the objective is clear. It’s also timed perfectly for when Ent’s followers are most on line!

Instagram is perfect for tangible products. One can post a variety of images of products, people using the products, videos (Twitter and Facebook works effectively for videos too), etc. Instagram is also ideal for general hashtag spread. We have seen companies use up to 15 hashtags without losing engagement with their audience.

Instagram can be integral for college recruiting purposes as well. Out of the ‘perceived’ Big 3, Instagram’s demographic is the youngest; approximately 18-24. Take a look at how UCCS takes advantage of their scenic views from campus.

best social media channel for 2017

This was a video of a student hiking up an on-campus, unpaved hiking trail, summiting and then providing a panoramic view from the top of the UCCS campus. For incoming Freshman and others who are deciding on where to go to college, this type of post will certainly attract many. UCCS used #Colorado which can potentially open up their campus to millions just by using a Globally known hashtag such as #Colorado.

Clearly, this is a high-level overview of how Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can be affective. Is it important to be on all three channels? Absolutely, just for the sake of credibility. Is it important to have verified accounts? It certainly can’t hurt and establishes more assurance with an audience. Should the concentration only be limited to these social channels? Heck no! Pinterest is critical for an organization which sells clothing. LinkedIn is vital to push out information such as infographics, trends, etc. But at the end of the day, the first two things any business should do when determining the best social channel for their business is to determine who their ideal customer or persona is, and then create some goals as to what you are trying to accomplish with social media. Once you have gone through this exercise can you start to determine not only which channel or channels you should be active on, but also how much of your time you should devote to each channel.

There’s a saying, “Too young for AARP, but too old for Snapchat.” I may be too old for Snapchat, but if I was a teenager or a millennial, I certainly would be on it. If not, I would have missed the proverbial peer pressure train.

Smart organizations know this and any beginning business should clearly understand their target market before diving off the Social Media Channel High Dive.

Author, Pete Knoblock, Social Media Analyst-

For more information on how to increase your brand’s presence, please contact Evan Escobedo at 719-339-0603, Email:  or visit our website:

Social Media for Realtors, Instagram or Facebook?

Social Media for Real Estate…Facebook or Instagram??

We recently received a great question about social media platforms on our Instagram page. Which is better for a real estate company or a broker; Facebook or Instagram? Some of what we will discuss will carry over applications for about any business, but for the sake of this post we will concentrate on real estate. We will give the pros and cons of using these platforms, but specifically for both real estate agents and agencies and try our best to declare some sort of a winner if one exists.

Facebook for Realtors

Let’s first look at Facebook. As most, if not all, realtors and real estate agencies are local businesses, we can somewhat ignore the fact that there are 1.5 billion users. But you can also know full well, there are very few places on the internet where you can reach literally thousands of potential customers in your local market on a daily basis.

It’s worth noting that 79% of all adults who are online use Facebook. And of that pool of online adults, 81% are urban dwellers, 84% are in prime home-buying ages of 30-49, and 77% of those have household incomes of over $75,000 annually. But how are you going to reach these people?

That’s a big challenge for any business, let alone a realtor in a local market. From a social media perspective, what you don’t want to do is use Facebook as nothing more than a billboard for all your listings, or how great you are at selling houses to reach potential sellers. Think in terms of the 80/20 rule…80% of your content should be informational, educational, and engaging. Content ideas could include how to get your first loan, how to prepare your home for the sale, feature cool things about the neighborhoods and schools, what improvements to consider, the importance of curb appeal, and so on. The remaining 20% should then could be about your listings and properties. But again, don’t be stale and impersonal. Use your personality, be human, be transparent, be social, and most importantly encourage conversation and respond back to people in a timely manner. Most importantly, use images and video whenever possible. Even Live Stream a property tour.

Now for the downside…Facebook has been slowly killing off organic reach and impressions for businesses of any kind for a few years now, and it’s only going to get harder to get your content in front of people. So, you are going to have to allot some of your marketing budget towards some sort of advertising on Facebook. There is no two ways around it. You will have to advertise and spend some money, but also know Facebook ads work when done effectively. The clicks are generally cheaper than Google, as are CPMs (Cost per 1000 Impressions). You can laser focus your targeting to neighborhoods, zip codes, income, interests, and other targeted demographics. You can also test multiple images and ad copy to find what resonates with your base, and repeat what works.

Facebook Pros:

  • Huge User Base, and most log on every day.
  • Slightly older demographic.
  • Higher household incomes.
  • Great way to be more social and likeable.
  • Fantastic customer service opportunities.
  • Great place to advertise.
  • Great Audience Insights, and Page Insights

Facebook Cons:

  • Organic(Free) Reach is dying a slow death.
  • Need to be consistent and regular with your postings (1-2 posts/day)
  • Time consuming developing new content

Instagram for Realtors

Instagram offers a huge opportunity to reach a whole new demographic, a younger client base with a high majority being under the age of 30. But also a much lower household income. Only 32% of adults use Instagram regularly. Here again, use the 80/20 rule of showing great content and educational content to self-promotion and listings posts. A potential challenge, but also a way to distinguish yourself from others is that you really have to focus your attention on quality, as in quality images and videos, but also on highlighting lifestyle and emotions. Think about who are reaching and what they care about. This demographic might have more interest in seeing people having a great time at a nearby brewpub from the property listing as opposed to the type of blinds in the house. This millennial generation who really jumped on Instagram is more about experiential things like neighborhood vibe, and hip places to eat than others. So Instagram can really be a great way to showcase everything happening around the homes, as opposed to only highlighting the features inside the home. But with Instagram, you get the added benefit of being able to reach way more people, and generate a lot more engagement than other platforms do. You can tap into the reach of celebrities, even sharing or showcasing huge homes of the richest people. Sprinkling in content of the extremely rich will play much better than Facebook. Highlighting and tapping into people’s positive emotions when they close on a home for instance, will play very well on Instagram

The downside of Instagram is that it will most likely be more work to do it effectively and consistently. You need to invest in good camera equipment or have a great phone, and not post anything that looks “stocky” or not unique. Low quality images, stock looking photos, and poor videos will do more to detract people than attract them. You also cannot post directly to links of properties as you can with Facebook unless you pay to do it. You need to use imagery to create a story and tap into emotions that highlight experiences and lifestyles, as well as creating a feeling people get when they sell or buy a new home. And while Instagram is getting better by the day and is top choice with its advertising, I would still give a slight edge to Facebook in the paid realm.

Instagram Pros:

  • Reach a new demographic, younger clientele.
  • Much better organic reach and engagement, 58x times more than Facebook per follower.
  • Only about Images, video, and some “stories”.
  • Great way to create experiential marketing in addition to just showing houses and homes.
  • Great place to highlight everything outside and around the home like the neighborhood and local businesses.
  • Can be way more fun to use than other platforms.
  • Fun place to showcase yourself outside of working, being more transparent.
  • Ability to geotag all images with an address…or a property listing.
  • Ability to use more general hashtags to reach a new audience.

Instagram Cons:

  • Smaller User base, 1/3 that of Facebook
  • More time investment to do it properly and separate yourself.
  • Advertising platform is good, but not as good.
  • Analytics and Insights not as robust.

Facebook or Instagram?

So, is there a clear winner for realtors? I think a lot of it has to do with your clients and potential clients. It has something to do with your own personality. You need to factor in some marketing dollars to make both platforms perform at their best, although Instagram has the edge if you have zero budget.

I would consider these as well if you have to choose one platform:

If time is on your side, and you have a relatively good way of being creative and know how to take good photos go with Instagram.

If time is not on your side, and you have at best, time to make 1-3 posts per week, Facebook might be your choice.

If you have no money from which to add to your social media efforts (but you should find some) I would say Instagram.

If you have some money, even $50-100/month on ad spend, Facebook is the choice.

If your neighborhoods are generally upper-class, and on the more expensive side, Facebook gets the nod.

If you have reasonably priced neighborhoods and listings, in hip parts of town, Instagram gets the nod.

Final Conclusion: Use both platforms and make the time or hire the time from an agency, invest in creating quality images and videos, put aside some advertising dollars, don’t be afraid to let people into your personal and business worlds, don’t get too pushy on the sales side, be able educate and entertain, and most of all BE SOCIAL. When time permits mix in Twitter and Pinterest as well. Good luck and please comment on what has worked for your real estate business.

Author: Eric Graham, Marketing Manager- iWeSocial