A new study out from Wochit found that only 1 percent of videos uploaded to Facebook go viral. But as I explain in the below video, virality has always been overrated. When it comes to building your personal brand, consistency is much more important.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how business professionals are flocking to LinkedIn’s recently-opened-to-the-masses blogging tool. The folks I interviewed for the piece describe the LinkedIn blog as a robust platform that had the potential to expand business thought leadership to the masses. Several of the blog platform’s users mentioned that at least one of their posts had been chosen by LinkedIn’s internal media team (headed by Dan Roth), which combs through thousands of user-submitted posts each day and chooses several to be amplified by LinkedIn Pulse. LinkedIn Pulse, they told me, sends a gargantuan flood of traffic and leads to a sharp increase of profile views and subscribers.
Last week, a blog post I’d published to LinkedIn was chosen for LinkedIn Pulse, and what happened next is fascinating. Here’s my recounting of the experience:
About once a week, I cross-post one of the columns I’ve written for my blog to LinkedIn. In most cases, the post receives between 30 and 50 views, but for some reason the column I uploaded last Monday, about how layoffs have taken on a new meaning in the media industry, garnered some extra attention. In its first 24 hours, it generated about 10 to 12 “likes” and about 100 views. I’m not sure what caused this increased interest, but it tapered off in a day or two.
Still, this was significantly more engagement than I’d seen on any previous post, so I continued to keep an eye on the post throughout the week. Then, on Thursday evening sometime around 5 p.m., I happened to log on to LinkedIn and saw that I had several notifications. They alerted me that the post was collecting likes and comments, and that people were hitting the “follow” button on my profile (meaning they were subscribing to future posts). Bewildered, I began hitting the refresh button on the post every few minutes. Within the first 20 to 30 minutes, the post had generated about 3,000 views.
People weren’t just viewing the post; they were interacting with it in all kinds of ways. To date, 86 people have liked the post and 79 commented. Reading through the comments, some of them were off-topic and a few even outright spam, but a surprising number of them were on-topic and very thoughtful, forcing me to reconsider some of the viewpoints I’d taken in my column.
I began noticing an impact off LinkedIn as well. People shared my post on Twitter, resulting in a few dozen tweets that mentioned my Twitter username (I’m pretty sure that’s because they were hitting a tweet button on the LinkedIn post that auto-loaded my Twitter handle). This eventually led to about a dozen new Twitter followers.
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In the piece itself, I’d linked to an article on my blog about the Forbes contributor network. According to Google Analytics, that article received about 100 additional views.
The traffic fire hose seemed to cut off within about 24 hours. But during that time the post collected around 49,000 views. Perhaps more important, my profile received about 150 new followers, a 33 percent increase over my following a day earlier. Though the post received the overwhelming majority of its traffic during those 24 hours, likes, comments, and follows have continued to trickle in.
So why was my post chosen? My guess is that initial rush of interest in its first day, however small, sent some kind of flag to LinkedIn’s internal editorial team, and that someone from that team finally got around to reading that post on Thursday.
It seems pretty clear to me that being chosen for LinkedIn Pulse has tremendous benefit. There are few websites in the world that can send you 50,000 views in 24 hours (and I’ve seen other examples of posts generating several hundred thousand views). The fact that it had effects outside LinkedIn, including an increase in Twitter following and traffic to my website, shows that LinkedIn is sending you an engaged audience. And the 150 new followers will certainly be beneficial in helping me spread future posts. Even though I have no idea why my post was chosen or if I’ll ever be picked again for LinkedIn Pulse, the experience was a real eye opener for me in terms of the potential LinkedIn holds when it comes to thought leadership and personal branding. I have a feeling that the budgets and focus of social media marketing professionals will start to shift to this platform when they discover how influential its readership is for their clients.
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