The answer is both complex and simple: capture the emotion of the moment.
Sometimes the best posts aren’t brainstormed around a table or produced through a multi-step process. Sometimes they’re simply based on a gut feeling.
Last Friday, KARK morning anchor Mallory Brooks posted a picture comparison of what Melania Trump was wearing at the inauguration and what Jacqueline Kennedy wore in 1961. The post was shared some 94,000 times and reached roughly 20 million people. It also generated an additional 10,000 likes for the KARK Facebook page.
Brooks was watching inaugural events with some of her colleagues when we few of them mentioned Trump’s outfit seemed to channel Kennedy. A Google search produced some pictures that seemed to confirm that. That’s when Brooks thought it might make a good social media post.
Brooks put the two pictures side-by-side and crafted a long text post to accompany the images.
“I started to post it and then hesitated,” Brooks recalled. “Do you think this will bring up too much controversy?”
That’s when a discussion started between a few people in the newsroom. Would the post open up attacks from either side of the aisle? The caption and wording with the picture were critical. Brooks didn’t want to give people ammunition to view it the wrong way.
“We didn’t want people to think we were comparing them as women. It’s about the fashion,” said Brooks. “This is not political. This is simply comparing two looks.”
She settled on extremely simple text: “Jackie Kennedy on Inauguration Day in 1961 and Melania Trump on Inauguration Day in 2017.”
Brooks finished her post about 10 minutes after initially spotting Trump on TV and making the comparison. She didn’t think twice about checking to see if it was successful.
A couple days later, I noticed our Facebook page registered a reach of 16 million. After doing a little research, I traced it back to her inauguration-morning post.
We sat down to discuss why the post was successful and decided it comes down to a few things:
Capture the emotion of the moment – If you feel it, post. Try to capture what people are feeling in a post. If you can do that, they’ll share it.
Be quick – Numerous Facebook pages made similar posts that day. We were one of the first. This helped put us in a position to get shares.
Simplicity equals success – The text of the post is simple enough that it opens up the opportunity for shares. It doesn’t take sides. You can’t really read into it. It’s whatever you want it to mean which opens up a conversations.
Give these principles a try and see if they produce results. I’d like to hear your social success stories!
It’s worth noting this isn’t the first time Mallory had a post go viral. Two years ago, she had a cheese dip recipe that continues to generate shares. We’re now approaching 400,000. It was posted a couple days before the Super Bowl. Again, capturing the emotion of the moment…