Five Things I Learned from an Unexpected Viral Post
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This last month I witness what we’ve all been dreaming.
A viral post.
On Facebook I had posted a picture to the fan page and overnight it started receiving hundreds of likes and shares. With a little boost it was soon into the tens of thousands.
Since then the posts have died down but it was enough to give me some insight. Maybe it was a stroke of luck or maybe it hit at the right time but either way it did really great so I want to share the experience in the attempt that you may also put out one of these posts for your business (and also avoid some of the mistakes I made during that process).
1. Good posts come from unexpected sources
The post that really went big wasn’t even from my work. The post came from a suggestion from my girlfriend. I liked it a lot and so I worked it to match the company message and sure enough it was a hit.
Sometimes you get too deep with your niche. You feel like you know best and that it’s your job to moderate what’s reaching your community.
The reality is that your community wants what it desires. Sometimes you can tell based on your analytics but other times it’s a shot in the dark.
Because you get too wrapped up in the niche you stop thinking about it from the average Joe perspective. You try to appease the community but then miss it when it comes to reaching those on the fringe members that are willing to click.
These bits of inspiration come from all angles. The important thing is that you keep an open mind to the suggestions. Don’t assume you know what’s best. Listen to the community. Listen to the outsiders. Try something that hasn’t crossed your mind or is so blatantly oblivious it’s worth a shot.
2. You might as well tag them
One big problem I had when I published the post is that I didn’t go ahead and tag the post with the brand name.
If I were to redo it I would try to find the original creator of the content and negotiate a deal where I could tag the post with the company URL.
The reason for this is that it suddenly hopped in popularity on multiple social media websites – some of them caught on before us while others seemed to have only posted afterward.
Before long there were plenty of pictures of what we had shared with the website logos and URL’s plastered across the image.
If you feel you’re about to unleash a post that’s going to make it big you might as well put some kind of contribution to it that way you can build up that branding.
3. A promotional coupon would be in order
The thing I should have done is release a coupon not long after the post or the moment I saw that it was starting to take off.
In a few short days it reached tens of thousands of likes which would have been the perfect time to reach out to the people commenting with some kind of call to action.
Yes, we did respond but it was out of courtesy. We left responses as if we were talking to someone we knew not someone that could have become a customer.
And that’s the kicker …
Everyone that’s responding, as long as what you share is relevant, could be a consumer because they have been exposed to the brand.
If you offer something they really want, even if it gets shown to them via a cat picture, it should be something they’re ready to purchase since you’re taking initiative to interact.
4. Some people just won’t get it
There are always those people that just don’t get it.
You know what? Forget ‘em.
You’re wasting a whole lot of time trying to explain yourself on these types of responses.
Likewise, even if they agree with you than you’re probably better off just letting the community speak for itself because the discussion is going too fast.
If you end up doing this type of post don’t worry about the naysayers.
Focus on those that really love what you’re doing and get in touch with those. They are the ones that are going to become the buyer’s. They are the ones sharing the post.
If you waste all that time talking to the trolls then you’re going to miss out on the prime opportunity to pick the low hanging fruit for your business.
Just let it ride its course. Pay attention. Do what’s right for the community based on your gut reaction to the feedback and responses.
5. It doesn’t always stick
The interesting matter about the post that got so much response is that I did one very similar to it a few months ago. After a few days I had realized that the post seemed somewhat familiar so I looked at the earlier posts and sure enough there was a post that was almost exactly the same in terms of image and the wording.
It goes to show that sometimes you’re too early for your community.
A viral post is truly just sort of random.
Sometimes it sticks because it piques the interest at the right time while other times it goes over their heads – it’s really reliant on how the community is feeling at the time.
What I would argue is that you go back and republish something from earlier time to see if it hits the mark. You may be surprised to find people are now acceptable to the content.
It’s a lot like innovation. Sometimes the market doesn’t notice it when it’s first introduced but when it’s wrapped in a pretty package they’re all over it. In that case – if you had a good idea, before, it may still be good this day so give a shot and see how it works. It couldn’t hurt.