5 ways to go viral overnight (I did)

Published on: USA Today College

Do you want to feel the buzz of being big, the verve of going viral? Well, it happened to me — and it could happen to you.

Last summer I made a video based on Now I’m Mad, one of the Internet’s dance trends. A day later, it had landed in a compilation of similar videos with more than 900,000 views.

The idea of the Now I’m Mad trend is to make a 15- to 30-second video talking about what ticks you off to the song We Are Young Remix by Jersey Club.

Some say the trend started when a girl writing an angry windshield note finished with a crazy dance. True or not, the girl’s video took off, and pretty soon everyone was eager to get in the game. Face it, we’re all mad about something.

So I decided to make a video explaining why I don’t go to college parties.

In the first 10 seconds of the video, I’m holding my Bible while saying, “BYOB? I thought it meant bring your own Bible, but it means bring your own beer. Now I’m mad, let’s go.”

In the next five seconds of the video, I break out into a wild dance.

My fame was fleeting, but it was fun. While there’s no secret recipe to going viral, if you want to join the party, here are a few tips:

1. Join the bandwagon

If something is already trending or popular, then copy it and create your own spin. No need to spend hours trying to figure out how you can make your video go viral: Look for videos that have already gone viral. This video took me less than a minute to write the script and less than that to film, yet it was popular. You don’t need a lot of time; just be smart about it. Twitter has an option on its app that allows users to search for a topic, and you can easily see what is trending.

2. Use more hashtags, #seriously

I never submitted my video to World’s Best Vines. But I did use hashtags. When my roommate sent me a screenshot of my video in the big time, my first thought was, “Thank you hashtags.”

3. Post on multiple social media platforms

Post your video on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. To this day, I’m still unsure which platform helped my video go viral.

4. Less is more

Keep it short. The Internet moves fast and attention spans are short. I recommend a less-than-90-second rule.

5. A catchy title

The caption or title can speak volumes. It should be inclusive, short but descriptive — and above all interesting. Don’t tell me that your video is “amazing” or “cool,” show me. Don’t say: “Biker makes an amazing jump.” I’m more likely to click on: “Biker jumps over a 50-foot pool full of sharks.”

Onward troops: Get those cameras cranking!

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