The Anatomy of a Viral Facebook Post

Chris Dessi
Chris Dessi CEO, Author, Television Commentator , Silverback Social

Posted on June 3rd 2014

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!

Chris Dessi

Chris Dessi

CEO, Author, Television Commentator , Silverback Social

An award winning digital thinker, author, television & radio commentator, public speaker and educator, Chris Dessi is the CEO and Founder of Silverback Social. Silverback is the world's leading social media agency, enables top brands and advertisers, to connect with more than a billion customers through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, Youtube, and more.

Throughout his career in London and New York, Chris has worked with a wide array of businesses ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, as well as notable personalities, products and brands.

Chris’ savvy marketing acumen combined with his passion for psychology, sociology and cultural studies, all reside at the fulcrum of his unique manifesto; he believes that social media is much more of a spiritual awakening rather than a technological one. This revolutionary perspective has propelled his personality into the national media landscape. In addition to being a regular social media expert contributor on Fox Business' Shappard Smith Show, CNBC, Fox Evening News, Good Day New York, WPIX, and Fox Business’ Varney & Co., Chris has appeared on Inside Edition, The Steve Adubato Show, One to One, and has participated in radio segments on WOR’s The John Gambling Show in Manhattan, and WBAL’s Marybeth Marsden show in Baltimore.

Chris applied his fresh and innovative outlook on social media to the pages of his first book, “Your World is Exploding: How Social Media is Changing Everything and How You Need to Change With It,” which shot to #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in its first two weeks of publication.

As an educator, Chris recognizes that the manner in which we, as a culture, aggregate and disseminate information has changed, and he is devoted to sharing his effective techniques for mastering engagement in social media to the world. Chris has lectured on social media to sales executives of Fortune 200 companies and he consistently travels the country coaching college students how to leverage social media to benefit their personal brand message and their career.

In 2012, Chris was selected by the Business Council of Westchester’s 40 Under 40 for exemplifying leadership, foresight and a vision for the future of Westchester County, where he currently resides with his wife and two daughters.

Consistent with the passion he holds for his professional career is the devotion he has to his family. Having never been a runner, Chris trained to run the New York City Marathon last year to raise money for the ALS Association after his father was diagnosed with the disease. When the Marathon was cancelled after Sandy hit, Chris took it upon himself to run his own 26.2 mile marathon route in Westchester to honor his father.

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