You cannot willfully make a video go “viral.” Achieving millions of views and creating widespread sensation is possible—but always due to an element of chance. You can, however, increase your video shares by following certain guidelines.

ThinkstockPhotos-188069384The sure-fire way to get people to share your video is to evoke an emotional response in them akin to hilarity or astonishment. Videos that shock and surprise us positively tend to get more shares than ones that merely amuse or inform us. Within this general mode, use your videos to present compelling stories that motivate people to share. While jokes are good and animals are cute, they do not motivate people the same way a story—a compelling story about personal struggle and triumph—motivates us to share with others.

Though some marketers warn against the following practice as obnoxious, there is nothing wrong with mentioning your business or brand several times in your video. People will tend to remember you more if they think of your video as a visual connection to your company. In fact, this is the mark of a successful video—even if it does not go viral.

Whenever you make a video for your company, remember that you need to reach as many people as possible. If this means paying for distribution, so be it. If it means posting your video to multiple social channels (which it will), so be it. You must be both creative and proactive if you want to reach a greater audience. Create quality videos with wide-reaching potential for a successful marketing campaign, and even without chance, your video will be shared.

See Social Media Today for more.