The Twitter Effect: How last week’s post reached 100,000+ people in 36 hours
As much as I like to think of myself as a seasoned blogger, I still get surprised from time to time by which posts become most popular. Some articles I spent 6-8+ hours writing fail, and others I spend 15 minutes on are my biggest hits.
My post last week – Viral video disaster: what NOT to do – was a good example of this.
In case you haven’t read the post yet, it just contained some brief comments on what I saw as a social media campaign gone wrong. I wanted to share the videos with you as an example of something to avoid – but had no idea it would spread virally as it did.
As far as I can tell, the post was re-tweeted (shared) by 48 Twitter users within the first 36 hours, and I also received several hundred new readers from Chinese blogs I wasn’t aware of previously. Among the people sharing the post on Twitter was social media A-lister Chris Brogan, whose updates are read by over 73,000 followers.
A few thoughts on this experience:
1) Social media has a lot of real potential. There is a lot of hype out there (even I get tired of hearing about it) – but the results can be very real and tangible. How else could I have spread my message for free to over 100,000 people that quickly?
2) The top social media power users have disproportionately large influence. Normally, it would take a lot more than 48 re-tweets to reach an audience this large. Thanks to Chris and several other marketing stars on Twitter, the traffic I received was very substantial.
3) Negative/controversial content gets attention. I have mixed feelings on this – even wish it wasn’t true – but that is the reality.
4) Viral traffic from Twitter has a very short lifespan – often no more than a few hours. For long-term traffic, you need to gain the attention of bloggers and website editors. Thankfully, many bloggers are active users on Twitter, so this often works out well.
Encouraging people to spread your message virally on Twitter is more of a science than I initially recognized. There are a lot of excellent tutorials and case studies on the web, but here are a few I found especially helpful:
- How I got my blog post retweeted by @problogger, @GuyKawasaki and 250 more (by Marko Saric)
- Make your blog go viral with Twitter ReTweets (by Marko Saric)
- What’s in a Retweet? The Data Behind Viral Messaging on Twitter (by Dan Zarrella)
- Retweet: The Infectious Power Of Word Of Mouth (by Jeremiah Owyang)
I would like to post some industry-specific articles and case studies of how hotels have used Twitter to virally spread a message or special offer. Have you experienced a similar results – or know a hotel that has? Let me know in the comments, and make sure you’re subscribed to receive future posts on this topic.