UAE: Content creators MoVlogs, Dima Alhaj and others share the secret to viral videos

No matter how often the algorithms shift, the key to making your videos popular is to create content that will hook viewers

By Karishma Nandkeolyar

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Published: Wed 24 Apr 2024, 4:15 PM

Last updated: Wed 24 Apr 2024, 7:48 PM

It’s almost second nature to us – to watch, like, share and subscribe to various social media channels. But what does it take to make the videos stand out in an ocean of noise? How are some content creators so successful while others languish in obscurity? Dima Alhaj, a content creator, says that’s a question she frequently asks herself.

“Each social media platform has its own algorithm, but high-quality content doesn't go unnoticed. Content is king — that's the golden rule we should never forget,” she tells City Times in an interview.

“Despite the differences between platforms, they share the same core principles. The formula for a viral video is a blend of various elements, including but not limited to a captivating hook, evoking emotions and relatability, ideal video length, as well as encouraging sharing and engagement,” adds the Instagrammer with 226,000 followers.

Engagement begins with settling on the right hook. “The hook plays a key role in determining whether viewers will continue watching your video or scroll to the next one with just a single tap. A hook can be a catchy statement, a shocking scene, or a surprising fact. The right hook piques viewers' curiosity, compelling them to watch the video to find out more,” explains Alhaj.

It's especially important because while a person spends about 143 minutes on social media per day as of 2024, according to data website Statista, it only takes a few seconds for them to decide if watching the content you are sharing is worth their time.

Be brief, be exciting

For 24-year-old Syrian Mustafa Mohamad Thaer Barakat, brevity is the key to success. “I want to make videos short, like 15 to 20 seconds [in length].”

The prolific creator, who has 1.1 million followers on Instagram and 2.7 million on TikTok, says making a video interesting requires personality. “How do you make it interesting? By having ideas like nobody has had before or if I want to make a video I see on the internet I make it in my own way, imbuing it with my own personality,” he says.

Moroccan TikToker Fame, who runs the channel babyyfame, which has 43,000 followers, is all about suffusing her content with excitement. “How do I make a video go viral? Probably by putting a lot of excitement into it,” she says.

Dubai-based British YouTuber and vlogger Mohamed Beiraghdary, who is also known as MoVlogs, says dedication and an unusual idea go a long way towards making something go viral. “Honestly, it's usually having a crazy idea and just make it the craziest you possibly can without cutting corners,” he says of his recipe for success.

MoVlogs collaborated with several other Dubai-based content creators to share an exciting video on YouTube
MoVlogs collaborated with several other Dubai-based content creators to share an exciting video on YouTube

Passion for their channel is another thing these viral video creators have in common. Iraqi YouTuber Qamar Altaey, who is 18 years old and likes to dole out life advice, says: “I do what I love and so it’s gonna be viral, I guess. For example, I love doing blogs and YouTube. And my channels are really going viral. People love my blog because I love doing them.”

Instagrammer Yasmine Boultine concurs with Altaey and says: “First things first. Focus on making content that you're proud of. Share videos that speak to your passions and interests and put effort into making them visually appealing and engaging.”

She has plenty of practical advice for others wanting to make their mark in the industry. “When it comes to titles and descriptions, keep it real. Be clear about what your video is about, but don't be afraid to add a touch of personality or humour. Remember to use hashtags wisely to help people discover your content. Engage with your audience like you're chatting with friends. Encourage them to like, comment, and share your videos, and take the time to respond to their comments and messages,” she says.

Analytics serve as a compass, guiding creators towards content that resonates with their audience. By leveraging data insights, creators can refine their content strategy, delivering what their audience craves. “The social media looks at how much people like your stuff and how long they watch your videos. It's smart to keep an eye on any changes so you can make sure lots of people see your posts.

Collaborations make a difference

“Teaming up with other creators is like making new friends and working together to reach more people. It's fun and helps you grow your audience faster. Using analytics as a tool is like having a map that shows you where your audience is and what they like. With this info, you can make videos that they'll love.”

That said, she does put an emphasis on authenticity being key to garnering eyeballs. “When you mix these strategies with being yourself, talking with your audience, and making videos about things you enjoy, you'll have a better chance of getting noticed on the Explore page. It's all about being real and having fun,” she says.

Unruly, a London-based marketing technology company, found that there are two drivers of online success: psychological response (how it makes the viewer feel) and social motivation. And it identified 10 motivations of social sharing which include opinion seeking, demonstrating authority, shared passion, socialisation, social utility, the cool factor, current trend, starting a conversation, self-expression and for a good cause. Defining which of these needs your content can tap is key to viewership.

Alhaj says: “To make a video go viral, it's essential to bring emotion, humour, or relatability to the audience. Additionally, consider factors such as following current trends, using popular audio, keeping the content concise and clear, making it shareable, engaging with your audience, and staying consistent. With persistence and dedication, you could become the next viral star.”

It is an ocean of information that we are faced with on a daily basis, but with some strategising, it is possible to navigate your way to success.


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