We all dream of going viral on social. Going viral means a ton of eyeballs, a ton of followers, a ton of newsletter subscribers, and a ton of sales, right? Not necessarily. A solid stable of fans who get you and value you is worth way more in the long run than droves of ephemeral people who watch once, then click away. Plus, over time, that slow-and-steady build will surpass the viral follower spike anyway.
And we’ve got the receipts to prove it.
Meet our UoW Professor client!
Oh Snap! has been working one on one with an amazing University of Washington professor to boost their online presence and visibility – something that in this world of publish or perish is increasingly vital.
When we first came on board, our Prof had 1,900 followers on Instagram. Today? That number is 16,800+ and growing. And those followers are all legit, engaged people, not spammers with a bunch of numbers after their names.
So how did she make this happen? By consistently providing high-value posts that are relevant to her core audience. Easy-peasy (but seriously)!
Here’s what we did:
- Developed a posting strategy that felt doable for her to implement (and stay consistent with over time…and she’s done that!!!)
- Shifted the strategy if things became too time consuming, afterall each semester she’s teaching 4,000+ students (or if a viral post hit)
- Created a variety of on-brand, engaging content
- Leveraged video content, hashtags and trends — yes, she embraced Reels fully!
- Pushed viewers to her website (including a newsletter signup)
All that consistency led to more eyeballs AND more attention from the IG algorithms who LOVE a reliable poster. In addition to a steady increase in fans, she also posted a hit Reel that drew 3.3 million views in less than 10 days and grew her following by 5,000 people overnight! (Consistency creates luck, people!)
We knew that eyeballs coming in from that viral Reel weren’t going to be of the same quality as the bit-by-bit “earned” followers, and that a drop-off was inevitable, so we took advantage of that temporary boost by:
- Capturing email leads through a quickly spun up Google form, so she has a list of engaged fans at the ready for when she wanted to launch her newsletter
- Preparing ourselves mentally for follower attrition (it happens after viral posts!)
- Continuing with our proven and tested strategy and keeping a close eye on the numbers to not only draw out quantifiable results but also qualitative intel on what content hit and what was a miss so she could continue to create compelling content for her audience
Why did we focus on the email leads instead of sweating over retaining those followers? Your email list is the only thing you truly “own” in this digital age, so it’s absolutely in your interest to funnel people towards it. Newsletters are a direct line to your superfans, whereas social media can be a fickle thing that may or may not surface content. When it comes to a sure thing vs. a maybe, always go with the sure thing.
As expected, numbers leveled off a bit after that viral Reel, but by sticking to our strategy, that follower count is still steadily climbing day after day, which is exactly what we want to see.
So the key takeaways? They’re the same things we’re always plugging:
- Have a strategy
- Be consistent
- Keep it doable
- Connect the dots
- …plan for success!
You don’t have to be fancy. You just have to keep plugging away in a way that works for you – and build that mailing list bit by bit.