Case Study: A Story of A Post Gone Viral

8 News Values of Journalism & Social (1)

Here is a story of a company I am working with on their social media marketing. They had 176 Facebook Page likes when a post they shared “went viral” and reached over 3,000 Facebook users. There was no paid promotion either, this was all organic growth.

First I will discuss the Facebook terminology, then give you a little background on the situation, and finally share the perfect post formula that made this post go viral.

Facebook Terminology:
Page Like” is when a user chooses to follow a business or organization’s page and willingly accept the pages’ news into their newsfeed. In this case the client had 176 likes at the time of the post.

Reach” is defined as how many people see your post. This number not only includes those who like your page, but those connected with your audience members as well.

**When you post a status update on Facebook, only a percentage of your audience will see the post. This has to do with Facebook’s algorithm that filters relevant posts into your news feed. You don’t see every post in your network. If you did, it would be 1,500+ stories/day. Facebook attempts to make it easier for the user, by placing relevant content in your news feed.

Returning to the numbers of this specific post:

How did over 3,000 people see a post from a page that has only 176 friends?

First let me explain the situation. My client wished to remain anonymous due to the politics surrounding this case.

Background:
Recently, a family run, regional grocery chain known for their low prices, ousted a family member from their board in an unfriendly manner. Employees favored the ousted family member and rose up against the board and new management. Employees did this by boycotting stores, inviting the media in and pulling consumers into their rallies and boycotts. Employees refused to stock shelves and encouraged consumers to shop elsewhere. Due to a large amount of stores with over 25,000 employees, the board waited too long to respond, and could not grab a handle on the uprising.

My client is a well-established business in a prime location. Outside of their office, at a busy intersection, is a statue of an animal that they like to dress up for special occasions. This statue has become an unofficial mascot of their business, recently being incorporated into their logo and branding.

As this news story broke, the owners decided to dress the statue up as a grocery store employee, with a cleverly crafted sign that mentioned both the species of animal and the ousted board member. The response has been outstanding. I am not going to share the post, however I will share the numbers.

The original post on my client’s page had 25 likes, 3 comments and 61 shares in 6 days.

Social Media Viral Post

From those 61 shares: the post had 177 likes, 20 comments and 2 others re-shares. How did this post go viral? They had the perfect post formula.

Perfect Post Formula:
Not only did my client tap into the 8 News Values of Journalism (below), they used some key social media tactics to push their post into viral territory.

8 News Value of Journalism & Social

What is key here is the news story surrounding the grocery store touches on the 8 values on its own. It is a current, timely, relevant news story that impacts many. The business and board are both prominent in the community, as they have been in business for many years. Due to a vast network, that spreads across multiple states, many communities feel the impact due to close proximity to locations. This is a unique story of employees attempting to overpower management, in favor of an owner they feel is fit to run the business. Conflict is at the center of this story. It touches on humanity as many have stopped working, affecting their own lives, to stand for what they believe in.

For the clients’ business, they didn’t want to make a political statement but wanted to acknowledge the situation. They didn’t anticipate the power social media has with a situation like this. Their post, recognizes the impact this conflict has had on their own community. They were timely, sharing the post at the height of the hysteria, with the board set to meet and an employee rally planned for the next day. By dressing the statue up, the owners displayed humanity and support through a prominent role model (statue). Their particular office location is in close proximity, a mile up the road from one of the stores.

Of course the uniqueness of this case study isn’t lost either, how does a picture of a statue being dressed up get over 3,000 Facebook shares?

Because the owners, wittingly tied their business to the news story in a relevant, fun and humorous manner.

A few other things:

Proper Use of Hashtags – We used a popular hashtag tied directly to the news story that gained the post further notoriety and social media sharing.

Call to Action – The post had a call to action asking to share the post if they agreed.

Go Beyond Your Network – Those who shared the post often shared it with large community pages, created out of this news story. Those are “viral” areas where emotions are high and people are more apt to take notice and share. One community page had 15,000+ followers.

By tapping into the 8 News Values, as well as properly using social media, that is why and how this post ‘went viral,’ garnering reach 30 times the size of their Facebook audience.

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Image Sources: JO Social Branding Canva Creations