This week I’m sharing some lessons I’ve learnt from content going viral.
I’ve had a couple of social media posts go viral in all my marketing years – just a couple and I’ve had a movement go viral – in fact, it still probably is as it is still building at the rate of about 1000 people each week!
This means I’ve learnt some lessons from viral content that I wanted to share with you!
If you’ve never had something that has gone “viral” – that’s ok, there are still some massive lessons in this episode, just in case one day you do.
Firstly though – let me explain viral.
Viral is like success, it means different things to different people and might not mean millions of likes and follows.
I am certainly not privy to anything that has millions and millions of likes or comments – but viral to me is reaching an audience so outside the norm that it can be considered viral.
Lesson 1 – BRAND IT!
You don’t know what’s going to go viral!
You can’t see it coming.
My first experience with something going viral was a Facebook post I did on my old account for the Kitchenware Queens. (Unfortunately, that account doesn’t exist anymore but I do have a screenshot of the post!).
The post was totally random and I actually posted it whilst sitting in the crowd waiting for the comedy festival to start.
So literally paying no attention to it whatsoever.
But within about an hour or so, I had to turn my phone off. It was on silent but kept lighting up and when you’re in a theatre with a few hundred other people, in the dark, you become obvious!
AND I might add the last thing you want to do at a comedy festival is become part of the act or cause attention from the stage – that would be my worst nightmare to be haggled!
By the time I got out of the theatre, in 2 hours, my post had about 605 likes, 298 comments and was seen by over 125,00 people – and it was so long ago that Facebook didn’t even have stats on shares!
I had no idea it would go viral. Although looking back considering it had alcohol and chocolate involved in it – I probably should have known! I was selling the egg moulds in the post – nothing to do with the alcohol!
To put these figures into perspective, I had about 2,000 people following me on my Facebook – so this was a lot more people seeing my post than usual!
My biggest mistake, because I didn’t think it would be any different to any other post I’d done, I didn’t brand it.
Yep, so I had all this extra attention but my branding didn’t go with those 5,000 odd shares.
So, my most popular post ever (to that day anyway), was now out of my control and wasn’t about to bring me any sales, because no one knew who put it up there – especially if they screenshot and forwarded it.
My excitement turned to despair …. If only I’d branded that post ….
So even though you don’t know what’s going to take off in your business, make sure your brand is on everything, because once it does go viral, you will no longer have control.
My other significant piece of viral content has been my Facebook group – Buy From a Bush Business. I set that up on Friday evening in late October 2019 hoping to help some small rural business owners make more sales coming in to Christmas – because things were pretty tough with the drought.
Little did we know, bushfires, floods, covid19 and a mouse plague would follow so quickly.
That group went from 0 to just under 100,000 members in 6 weeks.
18 months on – it’s at 320,000 members.
I went from group creator to community leader to community mayor, police officer and negotiator in less than 6 weeks.
It was apparent I wasn’t building a Facebook group, I was building a community.
So, the first lesson is you don’t know when it’s going to happen – so always be ready just in case (especially with branding)
The second lesson is to embrace it quicker – get on the viral train quicker!
If a piece of viral content happens to you, embrace it, encourage it, nurture it and show the hell up so people know it’s you!
Even if that means commenting on people’s comments, sharing on your stories what’s happening or doing some videos around it or even better, getting some free press around what’s happening.
You might think, ummm drrrrr Jenn of course, but I’m telling you, it happens so fast and you are so excited that you forget to be a marketer of your business.
Viral might mean for you 50% more comments than you usually get – again we aren’t talking millions here – we are talking out of the ordinary for you and your business.
The third lesson, expect the haters to hate.
When you get fans, when you get super fans, you get haters and super haters.
There are people in this world who delight in tearing down others – not sure why but they do.
And if you have some grand success in your business, they are going to seek you out and find you and adopt you as their best friend they like to hate on.
I deal with them every day.
Every single day.
I don’t talk about it often, because that gives them oxygen which they don’t deserve, but they are there and I am here and at least once a day we clash.
Well actually they clash, I ignore.
You’ll never win against a hater – so don’t try – and just ignore the trolling and hater comments, they often move on to a new target when they don’t get a bite.
THE THING ABOUT VIRAL
The aim of 80% of your content is to reach as many people as possible, so they know what you are great at and then want to do business with you.
The aim is never to go viral – that’s just a bonus if it does.
And as much as viral is not the aim, we should always be ready for it – for example, branding the content as you – just in case!
People say that video is the way to go viral, and most of the viral content I see is video.
That said, it’s usually viral because it’s so hilarious – not really a piece with a call to action in it from a business owner!
And my experience is different – I had a photo go viral and a Facebook group. So like I said in Lesson 1, you just never know what’s going to happen!
Content that’s relatable to your audience, solves their problems or brings them great delight or joy, is primed for social exposure.
Of course, things that make us mad or disgust us also goes viral – but we don’t want that as small business owners!
Why did my post about alcohol and chocolate go viral?
TIMING – it was Easter time coming up, tapped into the emotions of happiness and love (for chocolate and alcohol) and it was simple, easy, and desirable. And above all – different.
All sprinkled with luck!
I’ve tried to do it again, emulate the success, but it’s never worked, the concept of the post has been seen too many times (because I wasn’t the only one who thought of it) – so timing and luck have it!
For my Facebook group going viral – well, I think that would be easy to do again if you tapped into the emotions and needs of enough of the population, gave them a compelling reason to join and it was out of the box thinking than it may just gain traction. As it would be different, and not like another Facebook group for small business owners for instance.
Look for big movers and shakers that have your audience, think outside the box and voila! As I’m thinking about that sentence, I’ve got in mind the Kmart groups and the Buy now pay later groups – big companies, big audiences, but different angles of niches.
As the Americans say, the riches are in the niches. (but we say Niches!).
If you’ve experienced something viral in your business or world, I’d absolutely love to hear about it – send me a DM on Instagram or let me know in the Like Minded Business Owners Facebook group – if you’re not a member, then go and join!
How can I help you?
You can book in for a Discovery call with me!
If you’d like to book a call – get in touch – send me a message on any of the social platforms or book a call at http://bit.ly/Discoverwithjenn
There is also my Like Minded Business Owners Facebook group which is a fantastic group of small business owners who have a wealth of knowledge to share – please join if you aren’t already a member and become a part of a wonderful community!
Or you can DM me on Instagram or shoot me an email email@example.com
I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land, the Yorta Yorta People, on which I conduct my business today and pay my respects to their Elders past and present. I extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples reading this blog post today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR!
Jenn Donovan is a marketing strategist and social media extraordinaire, coach and mentor to savvy business owners. Owner and Founder of Social Media & Marketing Australia.
With a passion for making business simple, because it’s isn’t easy but it should be simple or at least simpler, she’s built a reputation for helping other small business owners simplify their marketing and businesses so they can reach their goals, be more profitable and live the dream (finding the freedom they set out to achieve when they started … the illusive small business owner freedom dream …!)
Jenn believes in giving before asking and that’s why she’s the host of the popular Small Business Made Simple Podcast.