Connect with us:
Social Media Today on FacebookFollow SocialMedia2day on TwitterJoin SocialMediaToday LinkedIn Group

Make a Viral Video: The Harlem Shake Guide

Social Media has brought us many crazes over the relatively few years that it has been around, and as I’m sure most of you are aware, the latest one is The Harlem Shake. These thirty-second long videos, in which a room full of unsuspecting people is quickly replaced by a room of crazy, fancy-dress wearing lunatics that seem to have no control over their limbs, are all over the internet and have been viewed by pretty much all of the 7 billion people that grace this planet (even your nan).

The craze shows no sign of stopping, either. Although a lot of people say that it has had its day, more videos are uploaded daily, proving that the Harlem Shake juggernaut continues to roll on. YouTube itself has even jumped on the bandwagon: if you type ‘do the Harlem Shake’ into its search bar, the site graphics will join the party.

So what exactly does it take to create a video that will become a viral hit and make you, its creator, a worldwide star?

viral video

Easy To Replicate

The best viral videos are always followed by a bunch of other vids in which people try to replicate the original. There was the Daft Punk ‘write on your body and dance in your bedroom’ craze, last year’s Gangnam style recreations and obviously the many, many versions of the Harlem Shake. So if you want you video to be seen all over, then it needs to be simple for your ‘fans’ to copy.


Humour plays a massive role in what makes a video a viral success. No one wants to watch you rowing across a raging, icy river unless you end up in it and have to crawl out soaking wet. So whether it is planned or not, humour has to feature heavily. The best videos are always the funniest ones because laughing at other people brings us closer together and helps us to feel better about ourselves.


All you need to enjoy the Harlem Shake is an internet connection, fingers to type with and eyes. There are no hidden meanings, no underlying messages; it is what it is and that’s what makes it so great to watch. The Harlem Shake transcends language and culture with its simplicity and that’s why people from all around the world have been enjoying this online phenomenon.


No one is going to sit through ten minutes of you talking to your camera in your basement just to get to the moment of gold when you fall off your chair, so your video needs to be relatively short. Part of the Harlem Shake’s success is due to the fact that each video is only 30 seconds long so it can be viewed wherever and whenever people like.


There are millions and millions of videos online that are uploaded by viral wannabes every day and this makes for quite a lot of rubbish that will only ever be viewed by the creator and their two mates. With this in mind your video needs to be unique and different so that it stands out from the crowd and people will want to recommend it to others. There may be thousands of different versions of the Harlem Shake but only the ones that are a little different and quirky have the most views. If you want to go viral you can’t just be like the rest.

Join The Conversation

Webinars On Demand

  • May 09, 2017
    With all of the technologies available to marketers today, have we lost that personal touch? Join VP of Content Marketing for ON24, Mark Bornste...
  • April 05, 2017
    In the ever-changing world of digital marketing, operational efficiency, quick turn-around times, testing and adapting to change are crucial to...