Meet Oliver Isaacs – Tech Entrepreneur, Investor and Viral Content Expert
Meeting over coffee in our New York offices, I can immediately tell Oliver is extremely bright, fiercely determined and has a rare ability to spot opportunities very few would be able to see. Oliver is a serial entrepreneur and tech investor who set up his first company (of many) at the age of 15. He has a diverse and compelling background, having founded one of the first original 9gag and 4chan viral type sites, opinion-based social network Amirite.com. Amirite.com was one of the first original sites where the internet meme was born, internet slang became common-place and the early influencers created. The site has reached over 1 billion unique visitors since its lifetime. A remarkable achievement for someone so young.
Oliver tells me, that after several years of running a number of websites, it was time to expand into the social media world. He is now well known for running his E-commerce business and also large network in different niches on Facebook and Instagram reaching 15 million users each month. Oliver’s personal following on Instagram (Instagram.com/oliverzok) has reached an impressive one hundred thousand followers, and he has been featured, giving business advice and motivational thoughts in the Instagram and Snapchat Stories of high profile people such as Tony Robbins, Mark Cuban, and Tim Ferriss. Oliver has also worked with and helped grow some of the biggest social media influencers on the planet such as Julius Dein, who now has grown to a viewership over 1 billion video views in just a year.
Every day, numerous articles, videos and blogs are uploaded to the web. Most disappear into obscurity, however, the top 0.01% achieve virality, reaching millions. I ask Oliver, how to make content viral?
“Firstly, it’s not easy. People only hear of the success stories, but one shouldn’t forget there are millions of people hustling and working their way to the top –there are billions of videos, articles, pictures and links that don’t get clicked on. To make something viral, it needs to be different – something that stands out. Obviously if you have managed to grow a huge following, it will be easier to reach and engage your audience, compared to someone just starting out. If the Rock or Beyonce release a video, it’s bound to reach millions and be picked up by news outlets. Not everyone has this A-List luxury though.
Based on experience, you don’t need a huge budget to ensure something goes viral. Any type of content can go viral if it can evoke emotions or strong reactions– whether laughter, sadness, or shock. Comedy content, such as short compilations of different pranks, and magic do well on Facebook. Music videos from unknown talent can do well on Youtube, and a swimsuit model posing in the Galapagos Islands surrounded by Penguins does well on Instagram. One shouldn’t forget unexpected news snippets. Robert Kelly’s BBC interview went viral after his children waltzed into the room and his wife frantically herded them out.No-one planned or staged this video. That’s why it did so well”.
There’s a number of traits, content should have to give it the best chance of reaching the masses.
Oliver briefs me on his check list of 10 characteristics to ensure something goes viral:
1. Evokes strong reactions (usually meaning the content is surprising)
2. Engages positive emotions – usually it’s the uplifting content and stories that make people happy that gets shared the most
3. Creates a strong connection/empathy between the content and the content consumer
4. Has a newsworthy hook – ensure the video or content appeals to the media – ultimately they will help you propel to the masses across multiple platforms, creating a snowball effect.
5. Is easily understood
6. Is a quickly consumed media format
7. Get visual – blog posts, Tweets and Facebook posts with images are more likely to be shared.
8. Is simple to share
9. Focuses on topical news or issues. Anything topical is going to be more memorable and be engaged more. Share positive or useful content and messages
10. Appeals to broad/universal interests or topic areas (food, pets, common life events, celebrities, etc.)
Oliver clearly has wisdom beyond his years – it’s not surprising he has been engaged by some of the top Fortune 500 companies to formulate their viral strategies. I can’t write down some of his biggest viral campaigns and social media growth case studies because NDA’s are a necessary evil –however I can assure you his CV is incredibly impressive. Oliver first realised the power of online business, when he started his E-Commerce startupwhile at University, reaching an impressive 7 figures revenue in his first year. He is a seasoned E-Commerce expert and was one of the first pioneers to use Amazon FBA using retail arbitrage and dropshipping technologies. To this day, he still runs his E-commerce business and says “Selling has always been and will always be in my DNA. Connecting the Social world with the E-commerce world is my next challenge”.
‘If you want yourself, your company or your products visible, there is now no question you need to leverage the power of social networks – whether its Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat, Twitter or Amazon.
These robust networks and audience have given a voice to millions of companies, their products and services. Ordinary people can now create videos in their bedroom, and if successful in doing so we now call them influencers. The influencers of today will be the pop stars of tomorrow’.
Clearly an impressivecharacter, I ask Oliver the formula to growing a successful online business. He tells me with a cheeky grin on his face: ‘Hardwork, determination, always staying optimistic whenthe going gets tough, strong and reliable connections in the online world who you can come to for advice, and also being able to think outside the box’. Oh and one more thing: luck is always important. Being at the right place at the right time also helps!