“I am on social media daily, and none of my posts are getting viral. My business needs to be viral to be successful.”
Is this you?
Or you are constantly searching for the formula on how to go viral on Facebook, how to go viral on Pinterest or other social media platforms?
I can’t blame you if you believe you need to be viral or have tons of followers so your business will succeed.
It's quite easy to fall into this influencer trap! I did, too, when I was starting my business.
But first, is there a formula for how to go viral on Facebook, Instagram, or other social media accounts?
I was so desperate to know the answer to this question a few years back that I even hired a social media guru to teach me how.
For six months, I followed her advice to a tee! I was on Instagram daily, posting and engaging on our family’s product-based business account.
Here is our Instagram account sometime in June with less than five hundred followers and very little engagement.
If you are on social media platforms, you will have to deal with this beast called “Algorithm,” which will make or break your dreams of becoming viral.
To be friends with the Algorithm, you need to know these principles by heart:
These social media platforms want you to stay on the platform.
They want not just you but your audience glued on the platform as well.
And so, if you can make people stay on the platform, you will be rewarded by exposing your post to more people.
How do these platforms assess whether your posts have the potential to become viral?
Immediate engagements as soon as you post. This is the reason why gurus would say that you should start engaging a few minutes before you post and after you post.
Longer views — either they watch your video, or they read your caption; all of these contribute to the length of views. What currently works are short videos of 9 seconds or less and carousels.
Consistent posting — These platforms want fresh content to keep people glued.
Following these basic principles, I’ve seen our reach growing to thousands of accounts!
And with a bigger reach came more followers!
This is our following after three months.
Here is our following December of the same year.
Daily engagement with other accounts led to this level of engagement metrics, literally thousands of likes and hundreds of comments.
If you were to judge our business based on these metrics alone, you would probably say that our business was successful!
But are we, really?
I mean, sure, suddenly, we got offers for sponsorships, promotions, and brand partnerships. We were even featured in some publications.
Here is the fact, though: Even if we have an engaged following in social media, we could only convert less than ten clients coming from social media alone.
Six months of work, a daily grind on social media, and only a handful of clients? I don't need an MBA to know that that isn't a good use of time as an entrepreneur!
For the year I was focusing on social media, most of our clients came from the markets we attended the previous year. Without those clients, our business would have failed.
Vanity metrics do not reflect how successful your business will be
You see, social media ingrained this belief that success means having popularity, virality, lots of followers, and lots of likes — not really realizing that likes and followers are nothing but vanity metrics. Vanity metrics look good but don’t automatically convert into sales or clients.
Key to understanding this concept is knowing the difference between what I call the “Entrepreneur Model” of marketing and the “Influencer Model” of Marketing. An influencer doesn’t need to convert people to becoming clients. They get paid just by endorsing brands. And the way brands choose influencers is by how big their follower base is.
You, on the other hand, have a lot more to do to convert strangers into paying clients.
You need people to:
✅ know, ✅ like and ✅ trust you.
Vanity metrics such as likes and number of followers have very little to do with client conversion. I don’t oppose the idea that a big following can be a form of social proof.
But the people fooled by this type of “social proof” are usually the newbies and the less discerning prospects. They will easily be attracted to the next big thing and will not necessarily invest in you.
Here is what you need to become successful in business
You want and need quality clients — clients who will actually buy what you offer and who will tell other people about you.
Vanity metrics do not easily blind quality clients.
There is nothing wrong with having a big following or becoming viral if you also have time to convert that following into paying clients. Unfortunately, in reality, virality is a hit or miss. It is something you cannot control. In business, you need to focus on things that you can control.
Getting quality clients means that you have a system that can nurture your prospects until they are ready to buy from you. Posting for the sake of virality may attract people, but it hardly nurtures them. Hence, they remain that -- a vanity metric.
Your time as an entrepreneur is also limited. You need to choose which activities you will use your time for.
So the next time you find yourself wasting time creating the perfect post, hoping to become viral, STOP.
The key to success in business is not virality. There are more things you can do that can have a more profound impact on your business success.
In fact, your time will be better spent nurturing the following you already have.
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