The How to Go Viral panel took place in the Industry Panel Room on Friday at Summer in the City 2018. It featured Goubran Bahou, Dr Milad Shadrooh, Bachala Mbunzama, and Kevin Freshwater, and it was chaired by Angus Imlach from Sweetshop Media.
In the panel (full name: “Dear brands, let the creators do the creating – a masterclass in how to go viral”), Angus spoke to several viral creators about their experiences working with brands. All the panellists had experiences going viral and they gave their insight on how brands could do the same.
The panel featured a wide range of creators, and Angus introduced each one of them in turn. First was Dr Milad Shadrooh, known on YouTube as the Singing Dentist, who makes parodies of popular songs themed around dentistry. “I try to bring positivity to an area that a lot of people have negative associations with,” he said.
Next Angus introduced Bachala Mbunzama (better known as Bash the Entertainer) and then Kevin Freshwater, who both make viral videos and sketches. Finally, he introduced Goubran Bahou of the channel Goubtube, who has broken the UK record for views on a sketch with 345 million views on all platforms.
Angus asked the panellists about their relationships with brands and how much freedom they are given. Milad talked about how traditional industries like dentistry offer little in the way of creative freedom. “They are coming to you because […] you know what you are doing,” he said, summarising why it is important to give freedom to creators. Kevin added, “You’ve got to be subtle or people just won’t [engage]”.
The moderator went on to ask how hard it is to go viral nowadays. Bash replied, “It’s tough now”, and offered some advice on having the best chance of achieving virality: “The more natural, the better.” Bash explained that the videos that do best are off-the-cuff and not too perfect.
Kevin said, “You want it to be shareable”, making the point that views come from shares because they grow your audience exponentially. Goubran added that often the caption is much more important than the video footage, as it can add a lot to the humour of the video.
Angus asked about how going viral varies between different platforms. Kevin noted that a lot of the platforms are changing, and gave Facebook as an example, saying it used to be easier but their new algorithm is making it harder. The panellists talked about share networks, where creators share each other’s work to help each other go viral, and how social networks were not encouraging of these.
Goubran talked about Facebook’s model of monetisation, where you have to mark that a post is sponsored, and Milad talked about Facebook’s boosting feature and clarified that “it won’t rescue a bad video”.
Milad went on to talk about brands’ expectations when doing collaborations. He said that brands look at your subscriber and view counts and expect a certain performance, but if a video is marked as sponsored the audience may react to it differently. Milad made the great point that, even if the video doesn’t perform as well as the content-maker’s other videos, it will do better than if it were to be posted on the brand’s own channel.
As a last question, the panellists were asked what makes the best viral video. Kevin answered it in one key phrase: “Rrelatable content.”
Photos by George Yonge.
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