We Went to Animoto’s Social Video Marketing Summit 2017 and Found Out How to Go Viral

On Monday, Animoto, the cloud-based video creation service taking the marketing world by storm, was kind enough to invite us to their office in lower Manhattan for their  Social Video Marketing Summit 2017. Featuring speakers such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Sue Bryce, and Buffer’s Brian Peters, this two-hour summit covered all your most pressing video marketing questions.

From left to right: Susan Bryce, Jason Hsiao, and Brian Peters

(For those of you not lucky enough to receive an invite, a stream of the entire event can be found here.)

And for those of you without the attention span to watch the whole thing, here’s a recap of each speaker’s main points, along with the time at which they enter.

Gary Vee (8:38) –

“This is actually happening”

With his typical flair, Gary got the Summit started, making clear to each and every attendee just how important video is, and will continue to be. He reminded us that, whether we like it not, the digital age is happening, enveloping each and every one of us. Likening it to the introduction of the first printing press, he made it clear that if you want to “win” –defined as “emerging in the consciousness of someone you want to talk to”–you have to learn how to go viral.

“The remote control of our lives”

A few years back, Gary recalled, he realized that the mobile phone was going to drive much more of our decision making than we would ever be conscious of. Thus, he labelled it–while pulling out and pointing to his own iPhone–the “remote control of our lives.” With that in mind, he became determined to understand what works and what doesn’t in the virtual sphere.

Where once content was created “in a silo,” only to be shown to the public as a finished product, Gary believes current content creators need to take seriously the “science behind the art.” That means finding out–through trial-and-error, data collection, observation and the like–what the people want. The market, he says “is always right, not you.”

“I wasn’t shocked by anything”

Despite his penchant for public speaking, Gary claims, he’s a listener more than anything. This is what allowed him to dominate digitally by finding out what the people want by listening to what they said. He didn’t want to be a content creator, for instance, and never imagined himself as such. Nevertheless, he has “to play on other people’s terms,” leading him to where he is now. This is the mark of his famous 51/49 breakdown: give 51% to the other, and make the best of the 49% you get for yourself. Even though he was forced into a role he never imagined for himself, Gary is happy as ever, as he declared later in his talk when discussing his absence of regrets.

Empathy. Gratitude. Patience.

Asked for his keys to success, Gary provided the above^.

Empathy is what allows you to listen to others genuinely. Instead of simply waiting for keywords, or things that relate to you, a true empath will be able to hear others for how they want to be heard, allowing that person to gain actual information regarding what others want.

Gratitude is part of self-understanding, and, as Gary insists, you have “know who you are” before you can be successful in anything. Having gratitude is the ability to look at yourself honestly, being grateful for your gifts and fortunate circumstances and able to accept those things you may lack. Gary’s own example: a 4-times NYT Bestseller, he can’t even put a sentence together. “Tripling down” on his strengths, however, allowed him the opportunity to afford to hire a ghostwriter who could do that for him.

Patience is necessary because, as fast as the digital ecosystem evolves, success does not always come so quickly. It is only through constant failure, reevaluation, and iteration that one reaches the point at which they create something worthwhile.


Brian Peters (36:12) –

“Puppies pull heartstrings. Heartstrings create brand loyalty.”

Brian, Digital Marketing Strategist at Buffer, focused his talk on the “power of emotion.” There’s a reason, he said, that puppies are “the epitome of social media.” If you want to get noticed, you have to convey emotion in you content. So how do we do that?

“Let the data drive your decisions”

Just like Gary Vee, Brian stressed that in order to find out what your would-be customers are looking for, you need to listen to them. While for Gary this meant active listening with his ear, for Brian this means reviewing the data. No matter how “stupid” a particular strategy may seem to you, that won’t stop it from being a hit; instead of going off instinct, its important that marketers begin to go off of facts.

Just a couple examples he provided:

  • 92% of people access Facebook only on mobile
  • 55% of people watch videos online every day
  • Square videos, as opposed to the traditional 16×9, generate 70% more engagement and 33% less costs-per-click
  • The optimal timing for a video is 60-90 seconds, while for a Facebook Live stream it is 18-20 minutes
  • For more facts, watch the stream

Test, iterate, improve

While Buffer now produces almost solely successful content, it wasn’t always that way. Just like Gary’s plea for patience, Brian assures us that even the most skilled video marketers bombed at one point or another. Even some of what we may think to be our brightest ideas will ultimately turn out to receive ten views or less. The only way to get better? Do. After doing, review the data, alter your method, and make something slightly better. Do this a hundred times and all the sudden you’ve elevated yourself from an eye-roll to viral.


Sally Sargood (1:08:06) –

Animoto‘s own Business Video Specialist, Sally gave us a tour of all that Animoto can do for your business. Have zero clue how to make a video? Have no fear, Animoto is here. I recommend watching this part, as her step-by-step breakdown makes clear the ease with which Animoto will allow you to create professional-level video content with little to no prior experience.

Whether its their pre-designed templates, an easy-to-use homepage, or their always-on-call customer service, Sally made it clear to the audience that Animoto is the answer to any and every question they would have following a conference which urged them to market with video. She also announced the release of Animoto’s holiday-themed playbook, which can be found here. Exciting stuff.


Sue Bryce (1:24:22) –

“What do I say?”

If you’re going to market yourself on video, photographer/educator/ entrepreneur Sue Bryce told, you’re going to have to identify what it is you’re selling.

Over and again, she hears from creators who are skeptical of going in front of the camera that they “don’t know what to say.” She herself was once a victim of this mindset. However, she reminds us that it’s not that we don’t have anything to say, but rather often we don’t know how to say it.

For her, the key to finding out how to communicate what it is you want to get across is to become more clear on what exactly it is you’re selling. For example, Sue, a portrait photographer, wasn’t selling photographers, she was selling “the experience of beauty,” as her friend once told her. Once she understood this, it became much easier for her to speak about her product: because she was selling a feeling rather than simply a photo, she had a unique angle to take in her pitch to clients.

“You need me”

However, not any old pitch will work. If you want a client to bite, you need to convince them that more than wanting you, they need you. How?

1. Identify a problem, desire, or need

2. Solve that problem, quell that desire, or satisfy that need and then..

3. They can’t live with you!

And along the way, always remember: “You’re not selling yourself. You’re presenting yourself but you’re selling the knowledge and experience which you can give.” 

“Work on your look”

This doesn’t mean you have to be the prettiest, or most stylish. It means you have to present yourself consciously. Don’t allow any old piece of clothing define you. When you’re going in front of a camera, make sure that what you are wearing and how you are styled reflects on you in the way you want it to. Be quirky, be fun, or be cold, just do you.


The clear takeaway from this event is the importance of reaching out to customer and learning what they want. Whether this is through listening, data collection, or the holding of focus groups, each speaker made it clear that the key to their success was by looking outward, not in.

Remember, going viral is about other people, and although we’d like to think it is based totally upon some intrinsic artistic or marketing merit, it is more likely the result of carefully studying of how others have gone viral. Through finding the keys to successful campaigns, coupled with constant efforts and revamp, anyone can become a successful video creator.

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