Before asking how to go viral on LinkedIn, let’s first ask why you want to go viral on social media. The secret of going viral might lie in the motive.
Many people like the idea of going viral because they think they’ll be lauded as an industry expert. The attention will be on them. That’s all true, but the attention will be fleeting, particularly if the post is a one-off and they don’t have a follow-up.
A better motive for wanting to go viral is to help people and share knowledge. Having a desire to solve problems is how people build a brand and earn a loyal following. It requires becoming an expert with a depth of knowledge and consistent contributions. By being a consistent voice of knowledge, you will draw followers, and your content will go viral because you have established yourself as a legitimate thought leader within your subject area.
Here's how to establish yourself on LinkedIn and social media so that the attention you receive is valid and grows.
A brand is not built on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great platform, and professionals should use it to telegraph their brand, but your presence on all social media platforms and your website all contribute to your brand. Creating a website is probably the most effective place to build your brand. That way, you establish yourself independently and are not “renting a space” on another platform.
For more on building a personal brand, read "What Is a Personal Brand?"
A post that goes viral does so organically most of the time. It’s a combination of great content, great strategy, and luck. The great content is created through knowledge and communication skills, and the luck part is out of your control. Strategy, on the other hand, is in your control, and much of it has to do with why you want to go viral as opposed to trying to go viral.
Here are some tips for creating a post that goes viral.
If you want to be considered an expert and thought leader, your content will speak for itself, and your content will organically attract attention because of its value. If you simply want to go viral to gain followers, you will focus more on tips and tricks, which will likely detract from your value. You do better concentrating on the content and engaging others in discussion about your work.
A mindset that you want to serve the community will help you produce the right content. Understand the needs of those you want to serve by empathizing with them and then create content that helps them.
Your LinkedIn profile should complement your company homepage. The branding should be consistent, and your content should reflect your message. Ask yourself the following questions when establishing your brand.
Why do I do what I do? Who am I doing it for?
What type of content do I want to be known for?
What topics can I talk endlessly about?
What do people praise/value me for?
What makes your approach unique?
Then, make sure your website and LinkedIn content align with the answers.
If you are asking people to value what you say. But to be considered an expert in your field, you have to look like one. Your headshot should look professional, and you should appear approachable (smile).
A professional photographer can cost between $200 and $400. However, you can use the camera on your smartphone. Here are some tips for a professional profile picture.
Use an up-to-date picture and one that looks like you. Your face should take up about 60% of the frame.
Choose the right size image. Ideally, 400 x 400 pixels. Avoid small, low-resolution images. Ask someone else to take the picture for you rather than taking a selfie.
Use a simple background, such as a natural setting or a painted wall. You can use a banner image to add to your brand like the one above.
Use soft, natural light.
For more on LinkedIn profiles, read "LinkIn Profile Tips"
The jury is out on the importance of LinkedIn connections and followers. Some say that the number of followers or connections you have has nothing to do with whether a million people see your Linkedin post. However, your content will not be seen if you only have 300 connections. Thus, to go viral, you will need a growth strategy for followers and connections.
It's probably true that more connections will increase the chances of going viral because a lot of people are likely to read your post. But when growing your network and accepting followers, choose them carefully. Connect with people who can influence or promote your brand.
How do you build your connection base? Connect your emails to your LinkedIn account. The email list will become your initial contacts on the LinkedIn platform, which will automatically send out a connection request to those contacts for you.
You can also build connections with Facebook Groups. Search for groups that you might want to join on the Facebook platform, join them, and participate. You can create a thread asking to connect with everyone on LinkedIn.
Great content marketing is quality over quantity. That said, to gain followers and attract attention, the more quality posts you can produce, the better, and the more chances you have of producing a viral post. Posting once a day is a good goal to have.
Posts of 1,300 words are ideal. As you post, more people will start to recognize you, and the more followers you should get. Also, the more active you are on LinkedIn, the more the automation and LinkedIn algorithm will push you and your brand.
There’s no need to remind you how much newsfeed and general content people consume on their mobile phones, so make your content easy to read on a three-inch screen. How do you optimize for mobile?
Use short sentences and add white space by placing a line between each one if you can. Keep your sentences short. If you space out your sentences, each one will be two to three lines long on a phone screen, which makes them easy to consume.
LinkedIn used to penalize posts that contained external links, but that is no longer the case. The reason is that they were considered advertising, a bit like clickbait, but it is probably more the case that platforms didn’t want their users clicking away from their site.
Even though LinkedIn no longer penalizes external links, other social media platforms may. To get around the issue, post any external links in the first comment in the comments section and direct your readers there. This will also keep your content clutter-free and encourage the reader to stay on your page.
We’re not all James Pattersons with a thriller story to tell or successful entrepreneurs with a tale of adversity. However, crafting a hook that will immediately engage the reader is vital for compelling LinkedIn articles. A visitor to LinkedIn may only be able to see the first two sentences of your post before scrolling, so make sure the first two sentences convince the reader to click on “see more.”
You want your reader to devour your text post or video right to the finish. Try telling a personal experience or personal story with the emotional part first. Then, present the narrative as succinctly as possible. Keep it simple, and only include relevant information.
LinkedIn favors posts that engage others and encourages them to click "like" and comment. Increase reader engagement by adding a CTA that asks them to comment on your content or answer a question.
Many LinkedIn influencers join groups, or an “engagement pod,” where they agree to “like” or comment when one of the group posts to increase engagement. This is known as growth hacking or growth marketing and is a good way to get your content seen by a wider audience. A post will shoot up in the feed algorithm when the whole group participates, Much of the viral content on LinkedIn and other social media sites becomes so widely seen because of relationships that stimulate comments and increase the metrics. If an influencer engages with your post, your post will be shown to all their followers. Start your own engagement pod by connecting with other LinkedIn influencers and asking them if they are interested in starting an engagement pod.
LinkedIn Native allows users to directly upload native videos of between thirty seconds and five minutes from LinkedIn’s mobile app. Short video content that points readers to longer podcasts or webinars is an effective LinkedIn marketing strategy and a way to engage users and convey your brand.
Creating a post that goes viral on social networks is a combination of great content, strategy, and luck. The copywriting and strategy are up to you, and the best strategies are long \-term. The right strategy is wanting to help your audience, build networks, and stay consistent. The luck part is out of your hands, so it pays for content creators to focus on quality, strategy, and consistency.