Going Viral - Part 2
How do I go viral?
- Tips & Tricks
- Sample Posts
- Ben & Eli
- Action Steps
Today: Learn how to go viral (part two).
Part 1 - The Content
Valuable text-only content is king on LinkedIn. Provide enough value and you'll have a good chance at overcoming any hurdles your content may have to tackle in distribution.
Types of value-adding viral content:
-Thought-leading innovation (important original content)
-Important, relatable life lessons
-Stories of perseverance or success with a lesson
Those are only a couple examples and we've seen thousands of posts like this that are also complete duds. There is no hard and fast formula as to what you need to write to go viral. You can set yourself up for potential success but nothing is for sure. If it were, LinkedIn would be a pretty boring place.
Part 2 - The Algorithm
What is the algorithm and why does everyone talk about it? Do we even know what the algorithm is?
The LinkedIn algorithm refers to the computational and human processes taken out by LinkedIn used to efficiently and effectively distribute content across the platform. You see it in action when you ask yourself, "Why did post X get 1,000 reach but post Z got 100,000?"
Well, some of it has to do with the LinkedIn algorithm. Post X did not get distributed to the extent of post Z. Why? Let's looking more specifically at the algorithm to find out.
There is a considerable amount of information available to us to understand content distribution. However, not all of the details are known and we are left to interpret what we can as a collective.
Recent insights have revealed details of the algorithm that we did not previously understand. Here is what happens to your content when it's published:
LinkedIn looks at what type of content it is (text, video, article, etc.). Text-only receives the highest distribution rate while video, articles, posts, and posts with images are all (generally) hindered in their reach. The specific percentages or rates are not known at the current time, but we do know that text-only is favored highest.
It gets thrown into 1 of 3 categories: spam, low quality, or clear (high quality).
After determining your post is not spam or low quality, your post will get sent to a small control group from your network. A group of randomly selected users will hold the fate of your post. It's here where your post receives a score based on engagement. A like = 1 point, a comment = 2 points, and a share = 3 points. The higher your score, the better the distribution.
If your post grades well and engagement continues to funnel in rapidly and heavily, your post will be reviewed by a human at LinkedIn HQ who can then distribute your post even further and tag your post as "trending."
This is an extremely broad part of the process and probably one that LinkedIn won't reveal too much about. We don't have any control over this step and is why not every single post we feel should go viral, does.
The algorithm is part computer, part human, and part chance. You can read an in-depth analysis here.
Part 3 - The Circumstances
Value-adding posts are not the only ones that go viral. Sometimes posts catch fire because they're funny, or outlandish, or maybe just extremely controversial. Sometimes we see users post content that clearly only served the purpose of going viral for the sake of virality.
Understand that posting content of this nature is frowned upon and is of little value to you or the community.
We've encouraged tagging in the past and continue to use tagging as a method of exposure and community building ourselves. Tagging can grow posts reach through exponential networking.
For example, your post asks for your network to nominate 3 users who inspire them. Those three users then comment 3 more users each, then you've built up to 9 other people each tagging 3 others users. It multiplies and continues to grow from there.
It's an acceptable strategy but shouldn't be overused. We recommend making sure your post always has a purpose and value to add. Seek to serve others and add value to their network first and foremost.
The Midas Touch
The final reason for virality is something interesting and unique to only 1 person (so far.) It's the Jeff Weiner factor (LinkedIn CEO). When Jeff likes, comments on, or shares a post - it goes viral. Hands down, every time. He has the Midas Touch.
He has nearly 7 million followers and when he engages, your post gets exposed to a decent portion of those users. Then the network of all of the people who engaged with your post via his engagement get exposed to your post and so on. People tag Jeff in their posts frequently but he is extremely selective and sparse in the content he chooses to interact with.
You should only tag Jeff if you really feel that you have a strong reason to do so and that there is a high likelihood he will interact with your content. Spamming him with tags will do nothing. We don't necessarily encourage tagging him but don't discourage it either. Ben has gone viral that way and it was a mixed bag in its return. Proceed with caution.
Now that you understand more about virality, we hope you see that what you should focus on is moving forward, improving your personal brand, serving others, staying consistent and most importantly, providing valuable content to your network. If you do go viral, you'll be ready for it and better equipped to dissect why it happened.
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The age-old discussion - going viral. My opinion? Forget about going viral. Focus on your audience and show up day after day. Build relationships, not views. Understand why posts go viral, how to create engaging content, the algorithm, techniques to grab attention, all of that - but don't make it your sole focus.
Now that you know WHY posts go viral, you can decide if you WANT to. There are definitely benefits to having millions read your posts but focusing only on that goal will cut back on your authenticity. It's a choice. Choose wisely.
Today: Learn how to go viral (part two).
- Write a post recapping the last three weeks of #30DS. What have you learned/gained?
- Include the hashtag #30DS at the bottom.
- Join the Facebook group.
Tomorrow: Learn how to write concisely.
"It's very easy to make a viral video, but longevity and consistency, that's hard."