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The Anatomy of a Viral Facebook Post

Make it go viral!

It happens more often than I can believe. It usually happens midway through a sales meeting, or a client meeting, or a casual conversation, or a fun TV interview, and I hear it, "How do you make it go viral?"

"It" could be anything. A youtube video, a Facebook post, a tweet, a blog post, whatever it is that the person asking had in mind that they wanted to promote or sell during our conversation.

So here I stand before you to put an end to the madness. Here's a roadmap to the most recent "viral" Facebook post that my Agency has ever created on behalf of our amazing client partner The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

The post was seen by 17 million people organically on Facebook.


If you deem that appropriately "viral," read on. If not, you're hopeless. Go fly a kite ...but I digress ...


It took us over a year of working closely with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to make our process seamless. We crawled by enhancing their social media presence. Our social media program includes a dedicated Silverback Social team working with their amazing social media team led by Natalie Barreto to set up a social media, search engine-centric social places and subsequently deliver custom recommendations and – upon client approval – execute those recommendations on their behalf.


We wrapped management around the entire social media process.We then engaged as LLS on all appropriate social networks. That is not just about posting on a Facebook page, not even close. Here's a short list of what's involved daily.

  • Content generation
  • Wall Posts (structured for viral distribution)
  • Scheduling content
  • Sharing
  • Community management
  • Interacting with synergistic brands (LLS partners)
  • Development of appropriate content for defined social places based on audience interest and analysis of current content and interests of the audience
  • New content creation - live on site at events, in office, as it happens
  • Distribution of content in appropriate social places
  • Fan engagement (community management)

We assigned four person pods to every client. They dedicate anywhere from 60-150 hours per month to our clients. Most clients have internal teams. This means that there are always eyeballs on our clients social places.

We listen. HARD.

  1. March 13, 2014 Makala’s family posted a touching photo of her last day of chemo:
  2. Brian Levine, our Sr. Community Manager on the LLS team spotted the photo, emailed Natalie and she contacted Makala's family for approvalMakala


We have an impeccable process. Our core competency is create, connect, and calibrate. This also means that in order to execute each of these three cores we have a back room of documentation to make sure it all happens. When Brian saw the post he passed it on to LLS. We've run through this before. Everyone knows their responsibilities. We know we can't post without the permission from the family. There's no room for missteps here. The content is too sensitive. This is literally life and death. We have deep reverence for our role with LLS, and their community. We take our role very seriously.

We replied to her family and requested permission to post on the LLS Facebook page. Once given approval we posted it. No financial boost, no media plan. Just a community responding to the lovely face of a child who had overcome horrible adversity. You can't create that. All you can do is be so prepared that when it happens, you see it, and share it. So that's it.

Do that...for a year.

With a full team of dedicated and passionate people. Then spot a compelling photo and post it to a community that love and respect you because you love and respect them, and boom - it's VIRAL.

Easy, right?

Now make it go viral!

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