People say really silly things like, “Facebook is pay to play.” or “Organic reach is dead.”
Meaning, if you want your followers on social to see your posts, you have to money behind them because, otherwise, Facebook won’t show the posts to anyone.
Even now, on July 10, 2018, nothing could be further from the truth.
Case in point: on June 22nd, our Facebook Page had 6,760 followers. We posted two videos that day on our Page.
One of the videos reached 190,337 people. The other one reached 20,222,068 people.
Advertising dollars spent? Zero. It was ALL organic reach.
Now. Do all of our posts do this? Absolutely not.
But have we had lots of posts do 10, 20, 50, or 100 times our following in organic reach?
Yeah. Because we’re starting to learn some secrets on how to “beat the algorithm”.
The good and bad news: it’s not rocket science.
Here’s what we’re learning:
1. If it looks, smells, feels, sounds, or even gives the smallest waft of being an ad, it’s not going to fly.
Ok, you can probably find 10 examples in the world that would make this statement un-true, but forget every one of them. Because the money, time, and resources you will spend trying to make your ad go viral will never return on that investment.
Rather, focus on this simple truth: It’s Not. About. You.
Your video needs to be about your audience and not about you. In 2018, people do not have to watch ads — most are lazy so they suffer through some, but the universal truth remains:
Nobody wants to be advertised to.
Just ask everyone what their favourite button on all of the internet is: SKIP AD.
“So why would I create a video that isn’t about me and my business?”
Because people want to do business with good people.
And when you make videos that are genuinely entertaining, funny, helpful, and gives more to the person watching it than what is perceived to be taken by the business putting out the video, you create an intensely valuable resource: leverage.
People start thinking, “Wait, this business isn’t asking anything in return in this video”, they actually start believing that you might live up to all those nice things in your Mission, Vision, and Value Statements.
I.e. you’re more interested in long-term relationships than short-term transactions.
Newsflash: relationship-based content flies REAL well on SOCIAL media.
And if you need to advertise, social is a great platform for that, too — just don’t approach it like content. Treat it like an ad.
2. Being Timely and Relevant is THEE Key
These two concepts are related but not the same.
Being timely is about reacting very quickly to what’s happening in your audience’s world at this moment while relevance is more about connecting with something that actually really matters to the audience.
Let’s look at our smaller video that only reached 190,000ish people.
Behind-the-scenes, Jimmy Fallon, host of the Tonight Show, did a segment on Tuesday called something like “Songs Not to Play”. One of the songs he picked is this awful, catchy song called “Experience Regina” — a tribute to our home city, where Regina is pronounced, well… let’s just say it rhymes with lady parts. Apparently the queen at the time pronounced it this way.
Well, this small city was BUZZING come Wednesday morning as this clip was getting shared everywhere. We had coffee that morning with the Heiberg brothers from TandemX, who we shoot a lot of our videos with, including both of these. We were trying to figure out what to do but we just didn’t have any good ideas.
It wasn’t until Friday, after we had shot the Rural Uber video (the 9.4M one) that two of us were editing while the other two were brainstorming that someone came up with the idea of leading a life-size cut-out of Jimmy Fallon around to “Experience Regina”.
We knew the idea was a winner immediately. We just weren’t sure how well it would fly because it was now 3 days late, and things move so quickly on the internet.
It was 11AM, we got our cut-out by noon (thanks Sleek Signs!), shot the video in the next 90 minutes, then edited and published it before people were out of work for the weekend.
It still worked. It got shared to another big page, Meanwhile in Sask, and ended up doing over 200,000 views, and a spin-off petition saw over 1,000 signatures.
Had we waited until after the weekend and we were a week away, fat chance of getting it out there. And had we come up with that idea on Wednesday, who knows what it would have done. Jimmy might have actually come here.
Relevance is a bit trickier and requires you to KNOW your audience — or to sometimes get lucky. Like we did.
In the case of our BIG hitter, the Rural Uber video, we knew it would do well because we live in a pretty rural city and ridesharing like Uber and Lyft just got the go-ahead from the provincial government.
So there’s lots of chatter and it’s very relevant right now because it’s relatable AND top-of-mind.
Had that been the only thing, I think we would’ve seen it land around 400,000–500,000 views, which is about where we were at after the first 24 hours.
But then. A whole other layer of relevance kicked in.
What we didn’t know is that farm kids EVERYWHERE — and I mean everywhere — had the experience of riding in the bucket of a tractor growing up.
It’s a thing.
And these 4 city-slickers had no idea.
Suddenly 48-hours after posting, it made it into the farmer circles. And people from the United States, Australia, France, the UK, Germany, the middle east — everywhere — started sharing it, and a massive chunk of the comments were people tagging other people that they had ridden in the “bucket seats” with.
And with that little bit of extra relevance, we’re about to cross over 1 MILLION Reactions, Comments, and Shares.
If you can find that little extra little hit, you win. While it’s tough, I’ve got the secret key for it:
You’re Not Putting out Enough Good Videos
In the last 2.5 years, we’ve put out somewhere around 600 videos.
Now, they haven’t been all on Justin and Greg. A good chunk were on my own personal YouTube. Some were for clients.
But how have we managed to almost keep up a clip of a video every working day over that period?
The number #1 rule of social video creation: 80% and GO!
Most businesses fall into two pits: shaky phone videos or waaaaaay over-produced videos.
Phone videos are usually just too distracting to see and hear what’s going on so they’re not effective.
And the other ditch is over-produced videos. While they can work, the problem is that they usually look and feel like ads and they take about 10 times as long to produce.
When someone knows what they’re doing, 99% of the time a good social video should never take longer than a day to shoot and a day to edit. Most of our videos are a half-day for everything.
We worked with a national federally-owned crown corporation to help them move from a 40-day turnaround time to 1-day turnarounds that were intentionally less-polished in almost every way.
We were supposed to do 3 videos as test cases to see how these videos would be received vs their polished ones, but after the second video was their most-viewed/commented/shared video all-time, we didn’t make a third one. It worked.
Not only did it work, but if they follow that model, they can do about 20 good videos in the time it would take to put out that 1 perfect one.
And the thing that we’re learning is you actually never know which videos are going to land and which ones aren’t.
So build a cracker-jack video team that can execute quickly at a “good” level, with ideas that you feel like have the audience first, are entertaining, give something, and then just start hammering out videos.
This Rural Uber video that did 9.4 million views was shot, edited, and published in about 120 minutes.
Start to finish. Which left us enough time to go out and make the second Jimmy Fallon video.
Millions and millions of people reached. Our Page tripled in size.
All in a day’s work.