When do social media updates spread? When they are relevant!

Estimated read time: 2 minutes

linn mar weather tweetPeople talk about making content go viral and then dream up a way of making that happen. In reality few – if any – of those strategies work.

But there’s a way to set content up to have a chance to go viral – or at the very least get shared wildly. (The definition of viral seems to get more and more difficult to attain with each latest viral piece of content setting the bar higher and higher.)

It’s about relevancy and I was reminded of this with the winter weather in Iowa in early January 2015. One day it snowed a few inches and some rural schools canceled classes. The next day the temperature was forecast to be well below zero. Schools – including the Linn-Mar district in Marion, Iowa, started canceling classes the night before.

I saw it first on Linn-Mar’s Facebook page and told my family. As far as I can tell, Linn-Mar posted it to social media a few minutes before posting to its website.

This staggered approach makes sense since people are on social media and not necessarily on the district’s website at that time of day.

Lesson 1: Cover all your channels but go to the high-impact ones first.

I also instinctively shared the post to my Facebook wall to let others know.

The Facebook post on Linn-Mar’s wall received 51 likes in just a few minutes. Typically,  each like would also share the post to the person’s wall.

A few moments later I received the Twitter notification on my phone for the Linn-Mar account. The news had now been posted to Twitter.

I looked at it right away and amazingly it had already been shared (Retweeted) 12 times. Within 30 minutes the Twitter update was Retweeted 75 times. Amazing but not surprising when you consider the Tweet’s relevancy. Many brand social media managers would be happy with these kind of engagement numbers.

Lesson 2: Content gets shared if it has relevance to people’s lives.

Students and parents alike need to know so plans can be made for the day.

Brands participating in social media and who are trying to get their content to spread should keep this in mind.

Consider: Why is our content relevant to somebody’s lives? When it is, it will be read and shared.