How To Make Viral Videos For Social Media

Ani Acopian (@aniacopian) shares the best ways to make your content viral using video with platforms like Snapchat, Instagram Stories, and Youtube.

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These days, platforms like Snapchat and Instagram Stories have taken over the social media sphere – and with good reason. No still image can capture as much information as a video clip. But, for the most part, those channels are flooded with bouncy, incoherent content. So how can you make your own content stand out more?

Award-winning content creator and filmmaker Ani Acopian shares with us her secret recipe for rad video content.

Tip 1: Non-Traditional Camera Placement

One way you can instantly make a shot more interesting is by putting your phone’s camera in a unique place - somewhere you don’t normally put it.

Try placing your phone under something, inside something, or even attach it to something. There are so many alternatives to the selfie stick!

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Tip 2: Creative Transitions

Transitions are a huge opportunity to show off your creativity, and if well done, they immediately take your content up several notches. There are plenty of ways to transition from one clip to another seamlessly. You can try covering the screen and then uncovering it in a new place. Or  whip-panning, where you pan so quickly between frames that the frames blur together.

And a final favorite of mine is cutting on a graphic match, which is a rad editing technique that cuts between two distinctly similar frames to emphasize continuity (Check out the GIF with the shoes below).

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Tip 3: Speed Filters

I prefer Snapchat’s speed filters to other apps that change the speed of videos. These filters are powerful creative tools; you can change the meaning of a video by simply making it slower or faster.

Use slow motion to make actions look more epic, or fast forward to make actions more humorous. And try putting footage in reverse to give yourself magical powers or go back in time to fix mistakes. There is so much to experiment with!

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Tip 4: Stay Curious

It’s not about which camera you have; it’s about how you use it. When a new feature or technology comes out, I observe how other people are using it and then brainstorm ways to use it differently and add my own spin to it. Here are some unique video apps I love.

When looking for inspiration, I consume other art forms until I find a concept I like. Most often, I find inspiration by watching Vimeo Staff Picks, listening to songs with funny lyrics, or reading poetry. I challenge you create new techniques by finding your own sources of inspiration.

Tip 5: The “Good Content” Equation

Creativity, like anything else, can be broken down into a recipe for success. And I believe most great videos on social media have three key ingredients. This is the equation I use when making things: COOL PLACE + COOL TECHNIQUE + OVERARCHING CONCEPT = WOW

For example, imagine you’re on a beach in Hawaii. Your equation could be: “Hawaii + Time Lapse + Suntan = Timelapse of getting tan on a beach in Hawaii.” Of course, a video of someone getting tan on a beach in Hawaii is definitely harder to produce than taking a selfie, but almost anything noteworthy took some effort (or a whole lot of luck!).

Next time you’re somewhere Instagram-worthy, I challenge you to think of a “visual trick” and try to incorporate it into your post about the place. Bonus points for having an overarching concept that can tie the place and the trick together.

Ani Acopian is a filmmaker and content creator living in Brooklyn, NY. Her mobile-focused videos earned her recognition as a finalist for Snapchatter of the Year in the Shorty Awards, screen time at Tribeca Film Festival, and a Future of Storytelling fellowship. She shoots with film cameras, drones, and her iPhone, for clients like Red Bull, Everlane, and Samsung.

You can email her at and find her on Instagram at @aniacopian.

PS. She’s very thankful for friends like  Reta, Olivia, Maya, Anabel, and Jeremy who have been her video muses for the past few years.

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