I’m often asked how you can get a post to go viral on LinkedIn. It doesn’t happen often but it can. When I went viral, my post got more than a million views and 12,000 likes and it surprised even me. I knew it would do well, but not that well.
When I posted it, it wasn’t with the intention of “going viral.” It was one of my more personal posts (for me, those are the ones that resonate the most with my audience versus posts where I give advice on content marketing, social media or marketing).
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 and shared advice. It struck a chord with people. Of course this kind of post is not for everyone, but there are lessons we can learn from it and from others who have also gone viral on LinkedIn.
Here’s the thing, going viral on LinkedIn isn’t about trying to go viral. Nor is it just about getting your content in front of people, it’s about getting it in front of the right people.
When a piece of content makes a reader or viewer feel a certain way, they are more likely to share it on social media. So that’s why storytelling and being human works and why dry and self-congratulatory content doesn’t.
Don’t try to create a post with the intention of it going viral. Instead focus on creating on highly relevant, useful and intentional content on a consistent basis that speaks directly to your audience and provides value. Share stories (because emotion is what compels people to take action) and engage authentically.
When I talk about going viral here, I’m talking about going viral as an individual on LinkedIn. It is hard (maybe impossible) for LinkedIn company pages to go viral. That’s because company page posts are usually limited to showing in the feeds of only your LinkedIn page’s followers, people who engage with your company updates and people who follow the three hashtags on your page.
Also remember that “going viral” will be different for everyone because it’s based on the size of your network. I have over 12K LinkedIn followers. A post with 10 likes is a flop. A post with 12K likes is one that went viral. It will be different for you too.
The ultimate goal of going viral is of course, because you want to promote your brand and your business, but also think about a more noble reason to go viral. Such as helping and educating others, amplifying others, advocating for others or promoting a cause that is meaningful to you.
So how do you go viral on LinkedIn without trying too hard to go viral? Here are some ways:
- It’s about creating content that resonates with your network.
- 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).
- It’s about being authentic and consistent.
- It’s about having a strong, big 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 – here are some tips on how to do that.
- It’s about making it easy for people to share your content.
- It’s about sharing your personal stories. Your challenges. Your background.
- 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 hashtags strategically.
- It’s about building a community and supporting others.
- It’s about being confident in your content.
- It’s about catching the attention of your readers as they scroll their newsfeeds by structuring your posts knowing most people skim their newsfeeds. 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.
- It’s responding to all comments on your posts – especially within the critical first 30 to 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.
- 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).
- 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.
When you look at the top creators on LinkedIn (look at Melanie Borden, Lea Turner and Heather Monahan for inspiration – they do all of these things with their posts – mixing in educational and inspirational content, while genuinely connecting with their followers.
Your content must be interesting and helpful, but going viral really has to do with how fast and how much the people who do see your post engage with it via likes, comments, shares, etc.
I’m going to be offering a small LinkedIn group coaching course for the first time starting this summer. If you are interested, message me!
Here’s a video about how to go viral on LinkedIn.