Viral not viral: A Social Media Lesson

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On 7 January, I posted a video I had made of the Westerkerk playing a tribute to David Bowie on their bells. I posted to YouTube, hoping to share my fan experience with others and with little thought to who and how many people might see it.

It is not the normal sort of video I share on YouTube and I was not expecting it to get viewed much. When I went to watch the Bell ringing, I was focussed on another post-Bowie experience.

What happened

But yeah. It got watched. A Lot! Nowhere near REALLY viral but huge in my corner, (over 9 000 views in less than 2 weeks – and still climbing).  And:

  • My channel gained 16 new subscribers.
  • None of my other videos were attached at all.
  • No-one clicked through to my website, connected on LinkedIn or Instagram.

Because I had just recorded what I viewed as a slice of my life, I did NOT:

Include any info about where to find more about what I do (links etc) in video or in the text below

I made it all about the content, not about me at all.

What I should have done

Now, the video has achieved a reach I did not expect. In theory, I could have turned that reach into exposure and followers not just on YouTube but for me professionally if I had done all the right stuff:

  • Back up social media posts
  • Branded the video
  • Link sharing,
  • Comments pointing back to my online presences
  • Etc etc

Now, of course, this is where it gets interesting.

If I HAD done any of that, would the number of views have benefitted me personally? I will never know.

If I had done that, would it have put viewers off? I will never know.

If I had done that, would YouTube have recommended my video as much? I will (probably) never know.

It was a fun and exhilarating process. And of course, it is now tempting to try and capitalise on this success with more of these kinds of videos… except of course its not the birthday AND death of David Bowie in one week every week.  

The Lessons

  • Don’t prejudge your content’s reach. Just put it out there
  • If you’re going to post, post it like it’s going to be shared
  • Let your passions show and nail your colours to the mast
  • Make it easy for people to find more in a relaxed way
  • Share and Share
  • Tell the story in a variety of places

You can be sure my next video will be packaged a little differently!

Go on, check out the original video on my YouTube channel here:

The Video

Bowie on Bells

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