What is the perfect recipe for making a video go viral?
It has to be easily accessible (embedded into a Facebook post, ideally), and it has to be worthwhile to share (the reasoning behind which varies widely). It definitely has to be eye-catching and enjoyable for people to watch. It also needs to be short -- people have brief attention spans these days, and they won't stick around for a drawn-out video. High quality images and audio make your video easier to watch. It also couldn't hurt to draft up a marketing plan to go along with your video to encourage its virality.
...However, none of these things are a guarantee. You could follow the guidelines to a T and still not see your video gain much traction. Such is life on the fickle internet.
But, sometimes... like in the case of The Dirt Army Carpet & Tile Cleaning Services, you post a video with very humble (if any!) goals, and watch in disbelief as the views and shares soar.
Chances are you've seen their latest video.
It contains fairly straight-forward subject matter: grout cleaning. However, they've seemed to hit a niche just right. There are a ridiculous number of 'satisfaction'/'perfection' videos on YouTube, many that include cleaning, organization, and an assortment of 'gross' topics like ear wax removal and pimple popping. There is even a subreddit titled Oddly Satisfying (The Dirt Army's video was reposted there, of course.). Many people find these videos gratifying to watch, in an 'OCD' kind of way.
Currently sitting at roughly 5,900,000 views and 70,000 shares, The Dirt Army's video landed on the first page of Reddit and completely blew Gary's initial expectations out of the water.
Check out the interview with Gary below to learn about his thought process behind the video, how it's affected his business, and more!
First of all, how long have you been in business, and what area do you serve?
We have been in business since 2008. I did it part time for two years, then took one year off. In 2011 I started cleaning full time. We service the Temecula Valley area in Southern California.
How did you get the idea for this video, and what was your goal with it at the beginning?
I've been making cleaning videos for five years. It seems like each time they get a little bit better. My goal was to sell more tile jobs in Temecula and the surrounding cities. Now, people from all over the world want me to clean their tile! We average 170 calls, 200 direct messages, and 75 emails a day asking us if we have a franchise in their city, or if we can recommend a local cleaner with similar equipment.
What cleaning equipment did you use in the video?
I cleaned this tile using my brand new Prochem Everest HP with e-idel. The tile cleaning tool is the Turbo Hybrid Grout Cleaning Tool 12" from Cobb Supply (they are the only supply store that can get this tool in green! It typically comes in blue, but Dirt Army green is the best.). The cleaning product is called Grout War from Army Chemical.
What camera equipment did you use to film the video?
I used a GoPro.
What editing software did you use?
I used Windows Movie Maker. It's the easiest software to use.
When did you post the video?
I published the video at 8:00 pm Pacific on July 26th.
Where did you post the video?
I uploaded the video to YouTube and Facebook.
Did you boost the post on Facebook?
Yes. I boosted the post to people who like The Dirt Army Facebook Page, and their friends. I targeted locations in and around our local Southern California area, including Canyon Lake, Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Murrieta, Temecula, Wildomar, and Winchester. I selected ages 32-65+.
How soon after posting the video did you think, "this could go viral!"?
I hired a woman to answer phones the night before this video was published. The next day, she mentioned that I got "the strangest phone calls." Later when talking to her, she said that most of the calls came in from Florida. That afternoon, when looking at the 60,000 view count, I said to myself, "this is going to be viral."
How do you plan to monetize this? How has the video affected your business so far? Have you gotten a surge in local business?
My website visits are up 3,600%! Our Facebook Page has gotten 42,000 new likes in seven days, which is an increase of 39,803%. I just bought the domain dirtarmyleads.com, and we will have a full staff selling leads that come in to cleaners around the nation. Army Chemical is a product line that I started three months ago, and we now sell Grout War, Odor War, and Stain War. I know 100% that millions of dollars will be made from this 1:30 minute cleaning video. My life will never be the same. I'm excited and scared at the same time.
Is there anything you would have done differently with this video?
I would have included my Grout War tile cleaner in this video (pouring the product into our pump-up sprayer).
Are you planning on submitting the video to your local news station?
On Tuesday, we submitted the video to CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX.
Once the hype around the video dies down a bit, do you have a plan for how to ride the wave of attention it's brought your company?
Hype die down? NEVER! I will be making new videos each week that will include our products. For a fee, I will select cleaning tools from our industry.
We noticed that you suggested that other companies within the industry comment on the video to advertise their local services, since people from all over the United States are commenting interested in your service. Do you see this as an opportunity to help benefit the industry as a whole?
Definitely. Other cleaners are sharing this video to their company pages, stating that they can achieve similar results.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Ryan Kettering with Prolific Prints saved us! He shut down their entire printing and graphics art shop so they could work on building me three websites in six hours. The team also designed three labels for my chemical line, Army Chemical, that same day. It only took them six hours to complete my order. Who knew you could rent out an entire graphics studio?
We are currently looking for serious investors, because a Dirt Army franchise is coming soon. I'm hiring a professional that has franchised other businesses to completely take care of this for me. I feel like I am the busiest person in the world right now. The power of social media is insane! And this is just the beginning.
Thank you for taking time out of your chaotic day to answer our questions, Gary!
Gary spoke with ServiceMonster CEO, Joe, on the phone a few days after the video went live. After discussing all the new business the video has brought in, Gary admitted one regret: "I wish I had started using ServiceMonster sooner!" (No worries, Gary. We'll get you up to speed in no time!)