Everyone wants their blog posts to go viral on social media. I'd like to remind you of the value of slow and steady sharing.
To illustrate my point, I’d like to introduce you to the little pin that could:
A couple of years ago, I decided to give Pinterest a try. My Pinterest interest burned hot for about a week, during which I created a pinboard called “Places I Love.” I pinned images of places I’d visited, one of which was New Hampshire’s Franconia Notch State Park. It’s a gorgeous little spot in the White Mountains, where you can take a tram ride to the top of Cannon Mountain or hike through the flume gorge. It’s famous for a stone structure, shaped like a face, that used to jut out above Profile Lake. “The Old Man of the Mountain” was mentioned by Daniel Webster, who said, “Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoemakers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch, and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but in the mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men.”
Nice place to visit. Not the Grand Canyon or anything, but nice.
I pinned this to “Places I Love,” saw a squirrel, and promptly forgot about Pinterest. Every few days or so, I’d receive an email that looked something like this:
A lot happened between the summer of 2012 and now. I got older, got divorced, moved to a new town, became the owner of two cats. I just kept glancing at and deleting these emails from Pinterest about my Franconia Notch pin.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I wondered: How many times has Franconia Notch been repinned? The answer: 267 times, as of today. Consider that I put no effort into Pinterest – I haven’t even looked at in three years – that’s not too shabby a performance.
Marketers try very hard to make blog posts go viral, but in most cases, I think it’s lightning in a bottle. Also, likes and shares are nothing more than vanity metrics if they don’t translate into revenue or valuable connections. I like the idea of my Pinterest pin, which is more of a fungal post than a viral one. Here's what I mean:
- It has grown slowly
- It has grown steadily
- Its growth has accelerated over time
Fungal blog posts shared via social media marketing parallel the traffic patterns of evergreen content. Instead of spiking and then collapsing into nothing, they start slowly and build momentum gradually. Viral social media posts can contribute to transient competitive advantage, but fungal blog posts mean a couple of new relationships, almost daily, that give you time to actually get to know your connections. If you’re a small business owner without a marketing team, you’re probably better off cultivating patient fungal growth than wasting your time hoping for viral.
Viral Social Media Marketing Can Be Overrated
Instead of spending your time trying to make viral blog posts and expecting them to magically change your business fortunes, create a thousand fungal blog posts instead, and use the slower pace to build deeper relationships. After all, would you rather have a virus or a delicious, slowly grown truffle?
Once you have an audience, you can try developing viral social media marketing campaigns. If you're struggling to find the time for social networking, use my small business social media management services.