The Pros and Cons of Going Viral on Social Media with Laura Jane
(Want to listen to this blog post instead? Check out Episode 6 of The Social Brain podcast.)
Have you ever googled “how to go viral on social media”?
Would you love your reels to hit millions of views?
Do you dream of social media fame?
After listening to this episode of The Social Brain Podcast, you might just change your mind….
I recently spoke with my friend Laura Jane on The Social Brain Podcast to discuss what it’s *really* like to go viral on social media after an audio Laura created for reels was viewed millions of times worldwide.
Prefer to listen to the audio version of our conversation? Go here.
When Laura created the jingle “It costs so much it takes me f*cking hours”, she never anticipated the reach the sound would achieve. At the time of our conversation, the hashtag associated with Laura’s audio had been used over 700 million times.
Whilst she never intended for the sound to be quite so popular, she did have a clear intention for what she wanted to achieve from it. Laura says:
“I had spent so long just watching so many talented people, most of them, friends of mine, charging less than minimum wage for something that they're incredibly skilled at and it was just pissing me off. There's a tendency with the creative world to think that because they enjoy their job, they shouldn't be charging for it.”
Laura went on to write the jingle in the shower. If you haven’t yet heard it, here’s a snippet of the lyrics for It Costs So Much It Takes Me F*cking Hours:
“It costs that much 'cause it takes me fucking hours (fucking hours)
It costs that much 'cause I don't have super powers (super powers)
You need to pay for my skills 'cause exposure doesn't pay the bills
It costs that much 'cause it takes me fucking hours”
What are the benefits of going viral on social media?
The most obvious pro for Laura in terms of going viral on social media was the increase of followers and engagement on her Instagram page. This was a nice confidence boost for her. Although she did share that the type of followers didn’t necessarily relate to her business.
Followers is a vanity metric, so whilst it’s good to have an increased following and a bigger audience, it may not always translate into more sales.
Increase in Sales
There's a misconception that an increase in followers will translate into sales, which is why so many businesses strive for virality. When you’re a physical product creator, that's not always the case. Laura knows a lot of creative business owners who have a hundred thousand followers and aren't making regular sales.
However, Laura was quick to capitalise on her viral audios and created products that complimented her jingles. She created stickers and t-shirts that ended up selling really well. Her sales definitely went up because of the increase in visibility, but not to the degree that people would expect.
Creating New Offers
Since going viral on social media multiple times, Laura has adapted her product suite and will be launching a new membership to help other creative businesses grow. With this new added digital product, Laura can sell more online and not have to rely on products that may go out of stock or could sell out.
Introducing digital products into her business means Laura can increase her revenue and support people in a way she hasn’t been able to before.
What are the downsides of going viral online?
Not Attracting the Right People
When you create something that goes viral on social media, you can see a huge increase in followers and engagement but you’re not necessarily getting in front of the right people. It's lovely to have lots of followers, but if you’re a service provider or sell a physical product, you want the vast majority of your audience to be people that are going to benefit from your content and your offers.
If you’re trying to sell something to a particular niche of people and you end up with an audience that doesn't really align with your content or offers, your posts will soon fall out of favour with the algorithm and you’ll find it harder to be seen by the right people, meaning your sales may decrease.
The Viral Hangover
As things start to dip off, you may be left feeling exhausted. Laura describes it like this: “It’s like when you’re in a nightclub and all the lights come on and everyone is way uglier, all of a sudden, and you feel like shit. You just want to go home. You think it was fun, but now it's over, there's a kind of lull.”
Laura explained that you almost hold yourself to an impossible standard forever, always striving to go viral again or be viral on an even greater level. But how do you top 600 million shares?!
Trolls, Bullies + Negative Comments
Laura received hateful comments and even death threats after her songs went viral with people accusing her of comparing herself to Louis Vuitton. When you’re exposed to a greater audience, the chances of receiving a negative backlash sadly become much higher.
How do you cope with trolling and hateful comments online?
Different people cope with trolling in different ways. Some people respond back to negative comments whilst others choose to delete and block these offenders immediately.
Laura ended up closing her account down as she was going through a very bad patch in her personal life and was not in a good place to handle the hateful comments.
Laura explained that now when she gets messages or negative comments from people, she simply leaves them to it. She doesn’t bother engaging with them or deleting them.
The best thing you can do in your business is what works for you.
What’s the best piece of advice for someone who goes viral?
Before we ended our conversation, I asked Laura for her best piece of advice for anyone who goes viral on social media. Here’s what she had to say:
“If something's gone viral that's had quite a polarising effect, don’t read all the comments. Try to distance yourself from the video as much as you possibly can, or distance yourself from the audio as much as you can, because a lot of the negativity that's going to come in isn't going to be personal.
“At the end of the day, this person doesn’t know who you are. They probably haven't watched any of your other videos and they probably won't.
“Also, be very strict about how much your phone is in your hand. It can become all-consuming for good or bad reasons. You could become very anxious about the things that are being said or the comments that are being made or any personal attacks that are happening. And you could become consumed with the numbers as they’re going up. It can become an obsession to check it every 10 minutes.”
We say, protect your mental health at all costs!
Laura Jane is a Fairy Godmother for Creative Businesses, Founder of The Creative Business Association® and creator of world famous jingles including ‘It Costs That Much’ and ‘We Don’t Owe You Affordability’.
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