8.27.2014

What I learned from posting a viral meme


This image was posted, without explanation, last Saturday around 12:30 pm. By Sunday night Facebook reported that it had "reached" more than 100,000 people. As of today it is still getting a few "likes" and "shares." According to our page Insights:
  • It has been served to more than 132,000 people.
  • It has been shared more than 2,000 times, with an equal number of "post clicks."
  • More than 9,000 people "liked" some version of the post.
  • More than 735 people commented on some version.
  • We also added 28 "fans" to our page over this time.
This is for a page with 1,100 "fans," where posts reach 200-500 people on average and engagement numbers in the single digits or teens are the norm.


So what did I learn?

  • When inspiration strikes, go for it! With all of the pouring water videos going around thanks to ALS fundraising, and some humorous responses, I thought of this simple image of our bishop baptizing an infant during a visit to Tanzania a couple of years ago. So I just jumped into Pixelmator and knocked this out for immediate posting. (This was our photo, shared on our Flickr page, so there were no permissions issues. Don't just grab images that are possibly copyrighted.)
  • Keep it simple. There are memes out there with a lot of text, but when you have an emotional image like this, let it speak for itself. (Also, in trying to boost another image post, we found that Facebook rejected it because text made up too much of the image.)
  • Humor works. Just have fun with it. Not that profound sayings won't work, but stay away from preachy. People already think the church is preachy.
  • Don't point out that you are responding to a trend. We didn't say anything about the ALS challenge, although people picked up on it and added comments to their shares, suggesting that people give or that they remember their baptism and respond.
  • Boost, but be realistic. We did experiment and spent $20 to promote the post to our fans and their friends. That did reach more than 2,000 people, but the vast majority of the shares, likes and views were viral...people seeing that through the normal exposure of our page and of our fans to their friends, and then passing it on themselves.
  • Interestingly most of the new likes came from the promoted post, which makes sense as we targeted friends of people who were already fans, some of whom were likely Lutherans who would be interested in our content. 
So if you have an image, an idea or an event that is meme-able, dive in. Be strategic about whether or how you promote it. And don't be disappointed if the post reach is only slightly larger -- or slightly smaller -- than your norm; we've had image posts go both ways. 

Happy meme-ing!

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