The Secret Sauce to Go Viral on LinkedIn
Going viral on LinkedIn doesn’t happen often but it can. Going viral on LinkedIn is a combination of creating value-added content, regularly posting, having a content strategy, being engaged and present on the platform and having a little bit of luck.
When I went viral, my post received more than one million views and 15,000 likes to date (It’s still getting likes almost a year after I posted it)!
I was shocked. I knew it would do well, but not that well.
When I posted it, it wasn’t with the intention of “going viral.” I posted it with the intention of helping others. It was one of my more personal posts (for me, those are the ones that resonate the most with my followers versus posts where I give marketing advice).
The post was about a personal comeback story and dealing with adversity.
I told a story. I used a photo of me as the visual. I was honest, vulnerable and shared helpful advice.
I used short paragraphs so that the post was easy to read and encouraged people to stop scrolling.
I responded to every comment and quickly especially soon after I posted it, which is critical for the success of a LinkedIn.
As a result, the post struck a chord with people.
Of course, a personal post is not for everyone, but there are lessons we can learn from it and from others who have also gone viral on LinkedIn.
When a piece of content makes a reader or viewer feel a certain way, they are more likely to share it on social media. That’s why storytelling and being human works and why dry, business and self-congratulatory content doesn’t anymore. That kind of content doesn’t help you stand out. It either blends in with everyone else or it makes you sound too boastful, neither of which are good.
Today people want to do business with people they know, like and trust. Successful B2B marketing is business to human more than business to business – especially in a crowded market, especially like law.
Here’s the thing, going viral on LinkedIn isn’t about trying to go viral.
Don’t try to create a post with the intention of it going viral.
Instead focus on creating on relevant, useful and intentional content on a consistent basis that provides value to your network.
Share stories (because emotion is what compels people to take action) and engage authentically.
Also remember that “going viral” will be different for everyone because it’s based on the size of your network. If you have a LinkedIn network of 1000 people, a post with 100 likes is the equivalent of going viral. For me, a post with 5000 likes is viral. It’s all relative.
But remember that true success is not about going viral. It’s about building a strong brand on LinkedIn where your content speaks for itself, and organically attracts attention because of its value.
It’s about the engagement your posts receive, the messages, the comments and those who follow you and receive a notification when you post but also the silent audience that looks forward to your posts too.
A lot of people want to go viral to build their brands and businesses but I encourage you to also think about more noble reasons to go viral such as helping and educating others, amplifying others or promoting a cause that is meaningful to you.
When you look at the top creators on LinkedIn, they do all of these things with their posts – mixing in educational and inspirational content, while connecting with their followers.
So how do you go viral on LinkedIn without trying too hard to go viral?
It’s about creating content that resonates with your network and is helpful to them.
It’s about posting on the right days of the week and at the right time of day (I find posting on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 8am and 11:30am to be the best times for my posts to get maximum engagement since that’s when many people are scrolling LinkedIn and then the momentum of the post build all day. But there are of course exceptions to this – for me, posting on Saturday mornings also works well).
It’s about being posting consistently. The more regularly you post on LinkedIn, the more people will start to recognize you, and the more you will build your network. Also, the more active you are on LinkedIn, the more the automation and LinkedIn algorithm will push your content to others.
It’s about having a strong, large LinkedIn network – the more people who see your content, the higher the likelihood that it will go viral. While it’s always about quality over quantity when it comes to your connections and who you allow in your network, the more people in your network means the more people who will see your posts. So keep building your LinkedIn network. To go viral, you will need a growth strategy for building your followers and connections.
It’s about making it easy for people to share your content.
It’s about sharing personal stories, your challenges and your background – stories help to build relationships with others.
It’s about using the power of emotions to build a strong connection with your audience.
It’s about hooking in the reader in the critical first three lines of your post before it says “see more.”
It’s about using strategically hashtags – that means using no more than three to five hashtags (that you research in advance) and placing them at the end of your post.
It’s about building a community and supporting others so that they in turn support you too.
It’s about adding a call to action (CTA) that asks others to comment on your posts or answer a question – this encourages comments on your posts, which helps your engagement.
It’s about catching the attention of your readers as they scroll their newsfeeds by structuring your posts for maximum readability knowing most people skim their newsfeeds and use mobile devices to view LinkedIn. This means using compelling visuals (using photos of you is one of the best things you can do to connect with your audience) and ensuring your posts have lots of white space to improve readability instead of dense paragraphs. Use short sentences and add white space by placing a line between each paragraph.
It’s responding to all comments on your posts – especially within the critical first 60 minutes after posting. Posting something on LinkedIn and not checking the comments all day is the equivalent of putting something on the stove and leaving your house. It will burn, as will your post.
It’s about storytelling so you can stand out in a sea of sameness, show vulnerablity and personality and relatability.
It’s about ensuring that your posts are SEO-optimized and relevant.
It’s about focusing on the first three lines of your post to capture the attention of your reader – which is essentially your headline. The rest of your post is not shown to your audience – they have to click “see more” to see it – so make them want to click on it!
It’s about connecting with influencers – individuals with strong networks on LinkedIn who believe in your content and will advocate for you.
It’s about omitting links in your post (which hurts your ability to go viral because LinkedIn doesn’t want you to take people off its platform). Instead add the link to the new URL area when you upload a photo or video in the mobile app.
It’s about luck – sometimes the content you think will go viral doesn’t yet another post does and you’re surprised. Try to learn from it.
And most of all it’s about being human and being yourself. The secret sauce to go viral on LinkedIn is to not try to go viral, instead just create great content and be YOU.
What would you add?