When Posts Go Viral: Four Lessons


When Posts Go Viral: Four Lessons

When Posts Go Viral: Four Lessons

You’ve been writing your fingers to the bone for years now, writing about everything you could think of for your business blog. You’ve covered all the major topics and included photos of cats, hedgehogs, fancy race cars, and pictures from other viral posts. So maybe by now you’ve given up on anything going viral. By the way, I wrote about pins on Pinterest going viral, which you might like, too.

Recently, a post of mine went viral, and I can now tell you how random it seemed at the time. And my thoughts on it now.

First of All, Transparency

A client of mine could not post a photo on LinkedIn, and asked me to see if I could post a photo. So I took an old blog post from April, “Is it Time to Quit Facebook?, and republished it on LinkedIn, around 11 pm, along with the image and went to sleep, with the thought that maybe one or two people might see it.

The Next Morning

Before I got on LinkedIn, a friend of mine texted me that there were quite a few comments and shares on the post. I went to check, and there were already 45 comments. Since I was at a workshop, I didn’t have much time to reply.

The Next 24 Hours

The next day I tried to keep up with the comments, angry replies, thumbs up, thumbs down, replies to angry replies from other angry people, etc. It was a whole big thing. It really was. Also, LinkedIn picked it up and promoted it under “LinkedIn Pulse.”

Gold-Plated Problem

My business mentor, Caterina Rando, would say this was a “gold-plated problem.” You never expect anything to go viral, but when it does, you think about what you could’ve done differently.

Lesson One

My post could’ve been written better. Well, I always think that. It could’ve been longer, more thorough, and could’ve had better images. Doesn’t every blogger think this about every single post? And yet, there are deadlines, so posts get published. You don’t know what’s going viral.

Lesson Two

You can’t complain about a post going viral. Seriously. You might as well complain that your house is too big for one maid to clean. Or it takes you ALL DAY to shine your gold watches. Nobody wants to hear that. Or, at least, if that’s your biggest complaint, then your life is pretty cushy. It would be all the way at the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Social Media Needs.

Lesson Three

You can’t really prepare any more than you’re already prepared. Well, I guess I wouldn’t post right before going on vacation or a long weekend. You always leave a little time to comment back to people, but probably not 48 hours worth of free time for a single post.

Lesson Four

Forgive yourself for not answering all the comments and move on. You can post something along the lines of “thank you for commenting and sorry I can’t reply to all of you.”

When Your Social Media Post Goes Viral

When Your Social Media Post Goes Viral


Here’s a screenshot from that one post on LinkedIn. In addition, I got about 45 new people wanting to connect, a couple of hundred shares of the article on Twitter, new connections on Pinterest (not too many), and around 25 new followers on Facebook. And of course, the usual spam. Oh, and a job offer. So that was nice.

And Another Thing

I’m not sure why this post went viral. It could be that LinkedIn likes posts about Facebook not having good reach, since Facebook and LinkedIn do compete for some of our time, in a way. Maybe it was late at night and there was a quota (self-deprecating humor for the win!). Most probably, the article was selected by the secret magic LinkedIn algorithm.

Has One of Your Posts Gone Viral?

Were you prepared for it? How did you handle it? I really do want to know!


Pinterest: 6 Steps to Going Viral

Pinterest: 6 Steps to Going Viral

Pinterest: 6 Steps to Going Viral

You’ve been on Pinterest for awhile now, pinning like a crazy person. Your pins, or those for your new startup, get liked and occasionally repinned, but nothing has ever gotten very popular, or achieved the success you’d really like. What can you do to increase your odds of a pin going viral, being repinned, liked, and commented upon? As an example, I’d like to use a pin from my Tiny Homes board. (If you click on the picture above, you’ll see the original article).

Disclaimer: Nothing can ensure a pin going viral. Sometimes the dumbest things catch on, while your carefully crafted posts die a sad, lonely death with nary a like. This article may only increase your chances. If you really want to go viral, send $10 million in unmarked bills and I’ll see what I can do.

Click Through

If you’re repinning from someone else’s account, make sure that the pin goes somewhere. That is to say, click enough times to see where the pin leads. Make sure that the pin does not lead to a Google search, or a website where there’s no more information, or **gasp** a 404 page. My pin goes to a fabulous site with an article about downsizing for a tiny home.

Read the Article at the Pin’s Origin

For pins that include an article, read the article all the way through before you repin it. Take note of a few things about the article. The point of this is so that you have something interesting to put in the caption. For instance, is the article funny? Is it thorough? Is it peculiar? Do you like the writing style?

Recap What You Liked

In my tiny homes pin, the writer uses an example of a clown car which cracks me up. So in my caption, under the pin, I write my own mini-review of the article, telling people why they might want to read the article. And be sure to give credit where credit is due–to the original author.

Post At a Good Time

Now that's a tiny house!

Now that’s a tiny house!

If you find an extremely good item to pin, save it for a good time. According to Social Media Examiner, pinning at different times of the night and day will help your pins be seen by local and global audiences. I like to pin on Sundays because that’s a very popular time in the U.S.; pinning at various times I’ve noticed that different people are online depending upon when I pin.

Comment on Your Own Pin and Respond to Comments

People love comments! And few people comment. So you can add comments to your own pin. And be sure to respond to any comments about the pin to keep the conversation going! This raises the popularity of the pin.

Repin Later

If your pin doesn’t catch on, you can repin the pin to the top of the board or even make it the cover pin. If there are no “likes” or repins at all, you could delete it completely and repin it at a later time. You can add more text to the caption, too (think about how you might search for such a pin yourself). You want people to be able to find your pin!

Have Your Pins Gone Viral?

Do you have any “pins gone wild,” which been repinned hundreds or thousands of times? Was that a complete surprise, or were you sure that they would be popular? One of my pins has been repinned 25 billion times! Ok, one of the previous sentences might be a slight exaggeration. Can you guess which one? As usual, leave your comments below!

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