When your LinkedIn post goes viral, it may be the result of a lot of hard work or it may catch you completely by surprise so the first thing you should do is congratulate yourself!
Once you’re done celebrating this win, it’s time to move on to the follow-up to your fantastic post: leveraging your post’s popularity in a thoughtful way.
When your LinkedIn post goes viral (or even gets a lot of likes, comments, or engagement,) this is the best time to build your professional network. And when I say, “build your professional network,” I want to pause and say that building a meaningful professional network does not mean building the largest professional network.
It’s easy to get trapped into thinking “the bigger, the better” when it comes to social media networking. Certainly, other platforms such as Instagram and Twitter reward people for having more followers by elevating their posts on people’s news feeds.
LinkedIn absolutely does reward posts that get a lot of engagement (a lot of likes, comments, etc.) but that doesn’t change with your follower count. I have seen people with tens of thousands of followers who don’t get a single comment on their posts because they’re sending connection requests to anyone and everyone.
If you are not making meaningful connections, then it is very difficult to start creating engaging content or to use LinkedIn for networking. Think of LinkedIn as an in-person networking event. If you spend your time at networking events trying to make small talk with as many people as possible, you’ll end up with nothing useful. If you use that same networking time to get to know even one person attending the event on a deeper level, you’ll probably leave with a professional connection at the minimum.
This is important to remember because a LOT of people on LinkedIn connect with everyone they can and amass tens of thousands of followers. But when they post content, these thousands of followers don’t actually care about their content (i.e. it’s not interesting to them, it’s not in their field of expertise, etc.) and would rather just ignore the posts.
That’s why I’m a huge proponent of connecting with fewer people, but being more thoughtful of who those people are. Make sure they are in your industry, are interested in what you do and share, and can actually get real VALUE out of your content.
So how do you find this new audience when your LinkedIn post goes viral?
There’s no better way to find those folks than by looking at the 2nd and 3rd connections who liked your post!
These are the connections from your current network that aren’t currently part of your network. These connections are so important because these people are most likely to be interested in the same subject matter, profession, networking that you are currently working in.
So once your LinkedIn post goes viral, I want you to go back to your post and do the following:
- Click on the number that shows how many people have engaged with your post. A list will pop up of all the peoples’ photos and names and headlines.
- To the right of their name it will say either 1st, 2nd or 3rd. 1st connections will be up top, so scroll down to get to the 2nd and 3rd connections.
- These 2nd and 3rd connections are the people who liked your post but you aren’t connected to (yet.) Sometimes you’ll get random people, but overall, these are folks who genuinely have at least some interest in your content. Based on whether you think they can be a useful addition to your network (this is where having a really clear headline is important!), right-click on their names and open their profiles in a new tab.
- Once you have all these profiles open in new tabs, write a template “thank you” response, then customize it for each person, and send each of them a connection request with the custom thank you note! The custom note greatly increases the likelihood that they’ll accept your connection request.
Now you’ll have a viral post AND new professional connections that will be paying attention to your LinkedIn content and will be far more rewarding.