Facebook Viral Post Case Study
Creating Facebook Viral posts is not complicated, but with Facebook’s algorithm changes…it’s harder to do! Recently, we had a post go viral (in June, 2019). Here’s a look at the elements that helped it go viral.
Step 1. Create a Viral-Worthy Post
While this seems like a logical first step, this really is a hit and miss guessing game.
My best tests show that higher initial engagement has a chance of creating a viral response to a post. This means your post needs to be something that creates high engagement.
All types of engagement are good, but for viral posts – viewers commenting remain the best type of engagement for creating the viral movement.
Thus, your post needs to create an “outcry” from your viewers. This can be people who agree with your post, disagree with your post, sympathize with your post, or otherwise create a passionate response.
Hot Topics For Engagement
Naturally, the big 3 disagreement topics hit high engagement: religion, sports, and politics. Basically, anything that your family will argue about at Thanksgiving dinner will likely create engagement on Facebook.
Another hot topic for engagement is entertainment items like silly surveys or “Take the Hogwarts House Quiz”. Along the same lines, you can ask your viewers to vote on something (this is popular in e-commerce) or even make recommendations (like suggest a name for your new pup).
This doesn’t mean you can’t elicit a strong response with another niche…we did!
The key to our engagement was tugging at the heart strings of a passionate animal niche. Unfortunately, a real-life tragedy led to an educational opportunity that evoked a variety of responses.
When I say variety, I mean variety! From people who HATED us to people who became our best friends and everywhere in between.
Bottom line: You need a high engaging post (ideally evoking comments…more on this in just a bit).
Highlighting Our Base Statistics
I always hate reading posts from people bragging about their viral post, only to find out they have 1.2 million likes on their page.
My first thought is, “you can’t get more viral posts with 1.2 million people who like your page?”
I immediately stop reading, roll my eyes, and mark their content to memory as people who use clickbait. I want useful information for the normal person, which is what I like to share!
Yes, viral posts are rare these days…but our post went viral with less than 200 likes on the page and the page was less than 1 month old.
The reach (as of right now) is over 200,000 after 13 days.
For those of you who want to declare that reach as not viral – you are wrong. This is a completely viral post, especially considering the page had less than 200 likes to start.
Viral posts are finicky, especially with Facebook. After about 10 days, the movement slowed WAY down. It’s hard to tell if this was a natural decline from lower engagement or if it is Facebook squashing reach in an attempt to entice us to spend money on ads.
*This could also have been us! * We faced 2 significant challenges to help the viral post.
The first challenge was that the page owner was the person commenting on all of the responses and FB implemented some requirements for her to keep posting.
She was unable to figure out how to fix the two core issues (and I was stuck out in no-internet land and couldn’t help). This made her unable to access the page for about 3 days, which likely contributed to the slow down. (FYI, she could comment as herself, but she spent a lot of time trying to fix the issues and did not reply as much on those 3 days.)
The other major challenge was that the page owner was anti-automation for one of the key steps. This means a lot of manual labor, and we all slowed way down after the second day (I’ll talk more about tools later).
Regardless, this reach is excellent for such few likes on the page.
Now, don’t get me wrong – page likes for the sake of page likes is a BAD idea. Do NOT artificially create poor page likes.
Remember that engagement we talked about? Fake page likes definitely do NOT help you create viral posts. You want REAL people that are passionate about your page topic.
On that note, let’s talk about engagement.
Step 2. Focus On The Best Engagement
For the June viral post (which is still seeing engagement and contributing to a significant increase in page likes), we really got lucky that the people who saw the post engaged at high percentages.
As I mentioned earlier, all engagement is good – especially for the algorithm. The best type of engagement for your post in order to show to more people is COMMENTS.
Comments are critical because every time someone comments on the post, every one else that has commented on the post gets a notification. This causes a percentage of those people to come back to the post and read the comments (and sometimes reply to others).
When the Facebook algorithm sees this activity, especially repeat activity, the algorithm views this as showing that the post is something people want to see repeatedly. Facebook will show your post to other people for free (this is called organic reach).
The higher the percentage of engagement, the more likely your post is shown to more people.
As long as your post is truly engaging, the new people will keep engaging with it and the cycle will continue…until it doesn’t. Of course, there are some ways you can fan that fire!
(Optional) Step 3. Begin Your Funnel
Since you have people commenting on your post, it’s a good idea to engage them while they are hot about the topic!
The way you do this is to send them a private message via messenger and send them to the beginning of your funnel (usually some sort of email opt-in or free offer).
For example, let’s say you create a viral post that is related to dog lovers. You have created a free digital PDF calendar (I identify how you can do that in the Blueprint to Viral FB Posts).
Now, someone comments on your viral post and you send them a message thanking them for their comment and inviting them to get the digital PDF calendar for free!
Let’s say 20% of the people figure out how to check their message and they decide they want the digital calendar for free – and you get their email in exchange!
Now, you have them in your email marketing funnel.
If this is all new to you, don’t worry! I detail the concept in my Blueprint to Viral FB Posts (you can claim your access on this page).
Getting Help From Your Other Marketing
Unfortunately, Facebook’s algorithm is rather picky. You really need to get engagement as quickly as possible after posting – and maintain a high percentage of engagement for views.
If Facebook shows your post to 150 people and no one engages with the post, Facebook will STOP showing your post to people (I test this regularly on one of my pages with more than 10,000 page likes).
If no one seems to want to see your post, why would Facebook waste valuable real estate on your post?
This is exactly why you want real people, passionate about your topic to like your page! If you are doing other marketing, you already have other resources to help improve your odds at engagement.
Here are some tips to help you build momentum on your Facebook posts:
- If you haven’t invited your other marketing channels to like your Facebook page, do that first (and every time you send out emails).
- Schedule your content AND schedule an email out to your email list (if you don’t have an email list…you need an email list).
- Automate notifications out to your other social media channels. I teach about syndication networks and automating updates to multiple social media channels (baby steps – start by joining my Facebook Group).
- Share your post into Facebook groups that permit the shares.
Now, despite all of these recommendations…we did none of these. All we did was post a highly engaging post and reply to comments. We also used automation to help us invite people to like the page.
Borrowing Virality From Other Posts
If you can’t come up with your own viral post, you may need to borrow from others. When I say “borrow”, I really do mean borrow – NEVER steal other’s posts. It’s way too risky with Facebook. They will shut you down with any hint of improperly posting.
*I see many posts that steal a picture or video and they post it on their own page with some sort of loose credit. This is VERY grey and I recommend avoiding such grey tactics at all cost. Just SHARE the post! I’ll tell you why in just a moment.
The short version of this is that you find someone else’s post that is popular and share it to your page. Then, you implement the same methods (reply to comments, invite people, etc.).
Sharing Content Has Perks
Believe it or not, when you share content…you get a few perks.
First, you provide true value to your viewers. Even if you don’t think that is true, Facebook feels that way and Facebook REWARDS that by showing your share of the post to people beyond your page!
Second, the original post already has data attached to it, especially if it’s a video. The Facebook algorithm already knows the type of people who like that post and like your page. When you share it to your page (maybe with an engagement-provoking text added), Facebook already has an idea of who to show that post.
I have tested this and had others test this. I get much better reach on a popular post from another page that I share than when I try to duplicate the post on my own page. This is especially true on my 10,000+ likes page.
Tools To Boost Your Success
Everything I have mentioned in this post was basically done manually. In this instance, we were not ready for a viral post. The page was new, the circumstance was unfortunate and unplanned. We made do with what we had, which may have slowed down the virality of the post.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining! I just wish we had been a bit further in our setup to capture all of those people interested in the post.
So, this is where tools come in handy. You can get a complete list of the exact tools in my Blueprint to Viral FB Posts (you can request your copy on this page) but here are the types of tools I use maximize my efforts on any posts but especially on viral posts.
- Invite Tool: This is one feature in a tool that offers several features. This tool lets me invite people who have liked/loved/haha/sad, any of the reactions for the engagement – I can invite those people to like my page.
- Public comment reply tool: I have only found 2 tools that do this. Your schedule and budget will determine which one of these is better for you…but this is the part that makes a post go viral and ride a long ride! Public comments appear to be key, so do NOT overlook this tool if you don’t have time to reply manually on a regular basis.
- Private comment via messenger tool: There are TONS of these available on the market. I personally have around 5 different ones that I have tested, but again – your budget will determine what works best, and I’ve got 2 that are phenomenal and definitely within your budget. *This type of tool is critical for anyone that is looking to make money from their Facebook marketing.
- Email Marketing Tool: This is another area that has plenty of options. I’ve tested at least 7 options and resources. I have found an option that works well and should fit just fine in your budget.
- Landing Page Resource: This one is trickier because I have several that I use regularly since I test all sorts of software and resources! I decided to focus on two resources. You pick the one that’s within your budget or use whatever you have!
- Viral Post Finder: I mention this earlier, but this is a great tool to help identify content that people already like and may do well on your page. This is a critical tool for those of you that do not want to create your own posts.
- Video Software: If you plan on creating video posts (which is a good way to help your post go viral), you want to include some specific elements to encourage engagement. The specific tool will vary depending on the type of video.
I’ve outlined some of the basics of a viral Facebook Post. If you want to get more details and have better chances of improving your odds at creating a viral Facebook post – claim your free copy of my “Blueprint To Viral FB Posts”.