Gone Viral!

going viral, instagram, facebook

No not me unfortunately!  However, I really did want to write a post about why people go viral, and what happens when you get there!

I also want to point out very early on that I’m not jealous of anyones success, nor am I trying to denigrate anyone in particular.  This is merely a discussion blog and I may use certain people as an example.

Let’s be honest here, most of us online content makers would love a blog/video/instagram post to go viral.  Why?  Because it brings huge exposure to our blog, more followers and that means more opportunities.  Which of course gives us more content and so on and so on.  But in these times where people are becoming more and more aware of influencer fraud, we are becoming very suspicious of anyone who goes viral.  Especially if their content is less than deserving!

There are three known reasons why content goes viral.  Firstly, already influential content makers start to promote a person/account to their followers. Who of course, follow and then promote that person themselves.  Almost like a pyramid selling scheme!  Secondly,  there is a community of participation.  For instance when hashtags are created, this makes a community.  Much the same as the first way, the community propagates the content and more followers are gathered as it spreads.  Lastly, when something unexpectedly becomes viral.  This maybe a one-off post/picture.  Very often the last category is attached to human emotion.  Whether that be anger, sadness or good old nostalgia.  If we care about it in some way, we tend to share it.

So you have gone viral, what next?  The brutal truth is that you have to work damn hard to maintain that momentum.  Going viral does not give you a green card for unlimited followers/traffic forever.  You have to come up with yet more original content, and maintain your exposure.  If you are a bit of a one trick pony, or have limited ideas for content then unfortunately your numbers can slide just as quickly as they went up.  If you are smart, by using an analytics site then you will be able to identify when your virality (probably not an actual word, but I used it anyway) is at its peak and take advantage of any opportunities that come your way.  By not doing this, and your numbers drop like a stone then you may have lost that moment to capitalize on your success.

In short, going viral is not always the godsend you think it’s going to be.  The pressure to keep delivering original content is huge, and what is initially a positive thing can turn negative in the space of a breath!  People are also fickle.  What they love tomorrow, they can grow bored of and hate tomorrow.  So whilst Minkeh and Pinkeh are the flavour of the month, I’d be surprised if they last the distance.  And in no time at all we’ll see a lot of sad-looking Minkeh’s stacked up on the supermarket shelf, which the manufacturer wondering what the heck happened!  Although to be fair, they are probably laughing all the way to the bank at the moment.  That’s a whole other post though!

The other side of that coin, for all the lovely personalised Jo Malone candles and phone cases, people are expecting exposure.  Is a fleeting  mention on an instagram story enough?  Does the brand feel as if they are getting value from you as a content maker?  As I’ve said before, if you muck it up, it’s game over!  You run the risk of alienating yourself completely and forever.

My personal opinion is that if you have a something go viral, you have a responsibility to educate yourself.  Especially if you have had something go viral from nowhere.  There is nothing that will get fellow creators backs up quicker if  you don’t know the rules around advertising or affiliate links etc.  Most importantly, have integrity.  In this day and age where there are many sites that analyze people’s accounts, any dishonesty will soon be uncovered!

Finally, I think it’s important you are humble, and you share your success.  You give credit where credit is due, especially if another social media account has inspired you or given you ideas.  What you shouldn’t do is try to claim an idea as your own, people will find you out.  My followers will know that I have been particularly outspoken this last week about one viral instagram account in particular.  Mostly because I feel this person hasn’t been entirely honest, no one becomes viral on a handful of continually recycled content and pictures on Instagram.  Let me be clear, this is not jealousy, it’s about upholding integrity within the content creating community.   I make no apologies for banging this particular drum.  I see lots of genuinely brilliant content creators, being overlooked and ignored because they have small follower numbers.  They could so easily take the easy route and buy followers, and yet they don’t.

Anyway off my soapbox, for today at least.  All the best…..



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