Note: here's a guest post from copywriter, Wendy Jacobson, sharing how her post went viral on LinkedIn. Listen to our podcast episode about it here too.
Imagine this scenario:
You craft a post for LinkedIn (or Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok or another social media platform you’re on) and it takes off like hot cakes. You don’t plan for it to happen, but it does, and suddenly you’ve gone viral.
If it sounds exciting and exhilarating, it is. I should know because I had a post go viral on LinkedIn, and I learned a lot from the experience.
But before I get to that, let’s talk about the post itself.
After a 10-day vacation with my family in Miami Beach this past April, I put my husband and two kids on a plane back to Minneapolis and stayed with my Dad for one more day. He winters in Florida and needs someone to help him drive back to the Twin Cities. It’s a trip I’ve made with him several times before, and one I always look forward to.
The day after I returned from our drive home (which was the Saturday of Easter weekend), I posted about our trip on LinkedIn. I had been off the social media platform for the entirety of my vacation, and needed to dip my toe back in. I shared that I had just spent four days on the road with my 90-year-old dad and what it meant to me.
I closed my laptop and got on with my Saturday.
A few minutes later, I noticed a couple of notifications on my phone, but then something happened: I got alert after alert that people were reacting to, commenting on and sending me messages about my post.
After a while, I had to silence the LinkedIn notifications -- there were too many! That's when the post caught fire and gained traction. A lot of traction.
Then, it went viral.
By about 10 days later, the post had received more than 7 million views, 77,000+ reactions, 3,000+ comments and I received hundreds, if not thousands of messages. The post also was featured in the LinkedIn News section.
Why Did It Go Viral?
You may be wondering why. What was it about this post that made it go viral? I have some thoughts.
First, it told a heart-warming story about a grown daughter, her aging father and gratitude. The topic is truly universal and one that just about anyone could relate to.
But that’s not the only reason; there are some other factors that played into its virality which I break down in my Viral Post Checklist.
Make Hay When the Sun Shines
While I never meant for this post to go viral, I admit it was exciting when it did. It also was exhausting. Suddenly, I was spending a bulk of my time reacting and responding.
At first, I spent time replying to the comments, but then noticed that I was getting hundreds of messages and connection requests. So, I ditched the comments and spent my time managing those.
My philosophy was first message in, first response out but I didn’t stop there. I, of course, replied to those people who needed help with their content first. I used the same approach with connection requests (first in, first out), and initially replied only to those who included a note.
But then, I realized I could be doing more.
Leverage, leverage, leverage
Ilise and I had a coaching call the following Tuesday and she asked me an important question: How was I going to keep in touch with everyone who’s reaching out to me?
Turns out, I hadn’t even thought of that. She said, “Clearly, they like your content, so when you accept a connection request, include a reply that thanks them for reaching out and offer them a link to sign up for your newsletter.”
It’s so simple and so non-salesy, which I like, and I took her advice. Some took me up on my offer and signed up while others didn’t, but at least I gave them the option. And no one replied telling me I was being pushy ☺
It’s been a few months since my post went viral and it’s still paying dividends. I learned a lot from the experience – both about what makes a post go viral and how to respond – and I break it down in my Viral Post Checklist. Download it here if you want to learn more!