Your Cheat Sheet to Going Viral on Social Media with Melissa Laurie from CreatorWeek 2024!

Imagine having the power to captivate audiences, attract followers by the thousands, and turn every post into a viral sensation. Imagine having the insider knowledge that top influencers and social media gurus swear by. Welcome to the ultimate cheat sheet for mastering social media and skyrocketing your engagement. Whether you’re a budding creator, an entrepreneur, or just eager to make your mark online, this exclusive, tell-all guide will transform your social media game. After all, we spoke to an expert to create this juicy, tell-all cheat sheet – Melissa Laurie!

CreatorWeek Melissa Laurie: CreatorWeek Melissa Laurie: Interview 1
We spoke with the oh-so-lovely Melissa Laurie

CreatorWeek was in full fledge last week, and we got to see so many creators, brands, and musicians gather under one roof to celebrate the art of creating. We got to chat with Melissa Laurie, founder and Managing Director of Oysterly, Asia’s leading short-form video agency trusted by brands. Melissa was also recognised as a Woman to Watch in Asia in 2023. Being an expert in User-Generated Content (UGC) marketing, we just had to tap into her vast knowledge for some tips in content creation. 

With all her wisdom, we’ve created the ultimate cheat sheet for maximising social media, bringing you a step closer to achieving the one thing all social media creators dream of: virality. You’re welcome!

Step 1: Understand social media and its platforms

Before you start anything, you need to understand the weight of social media, and I think you should hear it in Melissa’s words: “Where we’re seeing a really big trend is social media is becoming the new Google search. It is huge, and so many people are searching on social media to find information, to get inspiration, to learn, to be entertained.”

That completely changes the game. Social media is no longer just a fun little pastime; it’s literally becoming what Google has become for us. It’s an information centre. Nay, it’s an information powerhouse. Google is known as a search engine, but social media is becoming a powerhouse of information even more powerful than you think because you get to directly add to it with mere clicks and taps. 

So, as you decide the type of content you want to create, decide what your niche is – beauty, fashion, gaming, technology, and many more. But whatever you choose, make sure you love it. Feel the passion for it coursing through your veins. Love it enough to keep going at it and even ask yourself questions you think others are asking. Remember: people search on social media to find information, to get inspiration, to learn, and to be entertained. Think about answering these questions. And just like that, your videos are likely to be more discoverable!

But wait, there are a gazillion social media platforms out there. Which ones should we focus on today? Like humans, I’d like to think that social media platforms have generations, too. Facebook would be the boomer, the uncool dad. Instagram and Snapchat are the millennials, the young, fun aunt. TikTok is Gen Z, that charming, cool, ultra-smart 21-year-old and Threads is Gen Alpha, a young teen with too much teenage angst to keep within, so she spills her guts on social media. So what do we focus on?

Melissa explained that TikTok is a platform that earns a lot of growth for creators simply because of the algorithm. For other platforms, the recommended content is mainly based on what you like or what your friends and family like. But for TikTok, the algorithm is so much sharper. It works purely based on your habits, your likes and dislikes, and even things it thinks you might like. She said, “So for me, for example, I never knew I really cared about the Kardashians, but now I don’t know; I’m just so intrigued. And I always get served their content, and I can’t stop watching it.”

But she also believes that Threads is an up-and-coming platform and an avenue for new creators to explore. So, get on it! Remember that some of the icons of TikTok today are those that got in the game early enough. Timing is key here. Act fast and reap the sweet, sweet fruit!

Step 2: Be original

Now that you know the power of social media and you’ve decided the platforms you’d like to focus on, it’s time to get cracking on the content!

The biggest mistake Melissa Laurie said she noticed young creators making is that there’s a tendency to copy content. It’s sometimes easier to just do what a creator in a viral video has done because if they did it and went viral, it means you could, too, right? Wrong! Copying content wholesale is a form of plagiarism, and karma will bite back if you ever take this route. People will not be afraid to call you out and retaliate by unfollowing you, losing your following and, thus, your engagement.

CreatorWeek Melissa Laurie: Conference Session Group
Melissa also spoke during the CreatorWorld conference

But this is different from trends. The basis of TikTok is following trends and supplying the internet with your take on that trend. But it should never be a copy-paste idea from what the original creator did. It should be your interpretation of the trend in your own style and personality so that people see something different. After all, if you just copy content, why would they prefer your content if they’ve already seen it before? Give them something they haven’t seen before!

Step 3: What’s your hook?

Alright, you now have the crux of your content. It’s time to get down and dirty and start filming. But wait. You’re forgetting the most important thing—your hook, the lure, the way to make the viewer who stumbles upon your video keep watching. 

The secret lies in the first frame. That’s the key to getting their attention and making them want to keep watching and further the engagement by maybe even liking, commenting, and sharing! To detail the significance of the hook, Melissa Laurie shared with us a fascinating story that we absolutely had to share.

“We were working with a university and they’re based in Australia, and they wanted to target international students in Asian countries. And so we worked with a creator to create this video content. And when we got the video, it didn’t actually show any sort of furry animals because we sent the creator to a nature park. And so we actually asked the creator to change the start of the video, and there’s actually a kangaroo that appears at the start. And this video got over two million views…  International students that might never have seen a kangaroo – that’s who we’re targeting.”

With a simple anecdote, Melissa highlighted the importance of that first frame. It goes beyond asking a rhetorical question or using your words, tone, and volume to reel the viewer in. Like the kangaroo story, delve deeper into the psychology behind the content and its relationship to your audience. Think about the aesthetic appeal of the video or the audio used. Or maybe even think about a comfortable environment for yourself so that your personality shines brighter, and that could lure your viewer in.

“So I think it’s just like understanding what the idea is for the video and then just thinking about how you can create a little bit of tension at the start. So it could be with movement. You’re moving in the video. Maybe it’s like taking your glasses off. So something’s sort of happening,” Melissa shared.

CreatorWeek Melissa Laurie: CreatorWeek Melissa Laurie: Interview 2
“As someone’s scrolling, you want to be able to grab their attention,” Melissa emphasised

Something else to be mindful of would be optimising your videos to be found easily when your target viewer searches for such things. In Melissa’s words: “So think about using keywords in your videos that allow the algorithm to understand what your videos are about. And then the algorithm is going to show your videos to people that are searching those topics.”

For example, if you’re posting about the best Thai food you’ve had in Singapore, tell your audience that! Start your video with keywords like “best”, “Thai food”, and “Singapore”. That way, you create the road for your audience to walk to your video and your account. This is called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and it’s something every website and creator employs on Google and, now, on social media. Don’t miss out on this insider tip!

Step 4: Be okay with failure

The video is done! It’s ready to be posted! Up it goes into the terrifying world where everything is immortalised forever. But we are, after all, human. We’re afraid of putting ourselves out there, for the world to tear us apart and document our biggest insecurities in the mean, little comment section. Or maybe you spent ages coming up with the idea and put in a lot of effort for the filming and editing. But the video doesn’t perform well. It doesn’t skyrocket your follower count. 

It’s okay. It’s extremely okay! No one ever gets a short, straight road to virality with a humongous following count. Life is never that easy! But you can never let failure or the fear of failure get to you. Melissa says, “Every day, just don’t break the habit; just post a video and you will learn, and you just become better. And so everyone starts at zero followers, and it’s just those who end up building a really big audience just have that commitment.” Commit to it!

And part of that commitment is enjoying the process. Love what you do so much that it doesn’t feel like work; it feels like a part of you is coming alive in this content. Seek a love in this craft that makes you want to think deeper and do research to make your content fly. See which videos get more engagement, which have more views but haven’t translated into likes, or which have a better ratio of views to likes or new followers. There’s so much to unpack to excel truly, but it comes with the thirst. 

CreatorWeek Melissa Laurie: Interview 3
“So my advice would just be, just start, don’t burn yourself out, just enjoy the journey.” – Melissa Laurie

So, don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be scared of what people say. Go for it ruthlessly, with drive and passion, and you’re already halfway there.

Content creation has been booming over the years, but its potential is only now being truly unleashed. Creators use their content to start conversations and spark change while informing, exciting, and inspiring. And you can be one of them. Social media is a world of information that will only get bigger. Every second, new videos, posts, and stories are being added to this ginormous information powerhouse. You can add to this, too, and make it work for you. 

Thank you, Melissa Laurie, for sharing your knowledge with us and for breathing life into hopes and dreams that had been packed up in boxes and placed in the attic. Thank you for giving us hope.

Well, you’re now armed with the ultimate tell-all cheat sheet to mastering social media and skyrocketing your engagement. Remember, the power to create content that sparks conversation, change, and happiness while building a sacred online community is in your hands – it’s time to take the leap and make your mark. As long as you have the power to dream it, you’re literally mere clicks and taps away from making it happen! And now, you know how.

CreatorWeek Melissa Laurie: Conference Session
Melissa never gatekeeping, always kindly sharing her knowledge to make us all digital aces!

Wouldn’t you just love more tips from Melissa Laurie, someone with incredibly vast knowledge about this mega universe of social media? Check out her Instagram and TikTok pages for more! 

Photos by Pauline Caoile and Eshani N J of the DANAMIC Team.

Baani Kaur

Aspiring to achieve great heights like every human in the world, but till then, enjoy the most dramatic and sarcastic person you will ever read from.

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