Facebook’s Riff Could Be Your Brand’s Viral Video Factory


riffThe evolution of video creation and sharing on social media continues, with Facebook writing the most recent chapter. On Wednesday, Facebook introduced Riff, an app conceived by employees as an after-hours side project which allows users to collaboratively create videos centered around a specific topic.

After a user creates an initial video on Riff, his/her friends on the platform are given an opportunity to add to the original video. The process continues, with friends of friends further adding to the video. "The potential pool of creative collaborators can grow exponentially from there," Facebook says, "So a short video can become an inventive project between circles of friends that you can share to Facebook, or anywhere on the internet, at any time."

Video has become the Holy Grail of online communications. Every major social network is making moves to put video at the heart of its offering. In an effort to attract more native video uploads, Facebook and Twitter both recently introduced functionality to allow users to embed videos originating on their services elsewhere. Instagram added video functionality in June 2013 and, according to TOTEMS, 88% of brands on Instagram have uploaded a video to the service. And then there are dedicated video services such as Vine and newcomers Periscope and Meerkat, which have dominated social media headlines as of late.

Riff could be the solution for brand communicators looking to create a viral sensation. For brands that create an original Riff, the new app provides an opportunity to interact with fans in a whole new way, with the brand's message front and center. And because of the way the app is designed to spread from friends to friends of friends, those messages will reach large numbers of people at lightning speed.

Riff will be dominated by user generated content, both a blessing and a potential curse for brands. Riffs will take less effort to create, but they will also be open to abuse. While it may be too soon to tell if Riff will be the next big thing on social, if you've ever been asked to make a viral video, the new app warrants your attention.

Follow Brian Greene on Twitter: @bw_greene