Seriously, Please Stop Trying to 'Go Viral' on LinkedIn
Everyone wants to go 'viral,' but nobody wants to put in the work.
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Maybe you've seen it: the 19 paragraph breaks between sentences, the ultra-dramatic story titles, the cliffhanger second sentences that supposedly keep us on the edge of our seats until we're able to click that "see more" button -- and it's only getting worse!
All of my #growthhacker and #socialmediainfluencer friends are going to hate this column because of the blatant disregard for patented LinkedIn hacks. So hold on to your viral-social-media-influencer hats for this truth bomb, because there's "No Escapin' This" (cue Beatnuts in the background. For you gen Zers it's a rap group from the '90s)!
Not everyone has a story interesting enough to "go viral."
There, I said it. I don't particularly care how you created your digital marketing agency while living at your mom's house generating $2,000 the first month by selling her neighbor with the weird cats Facebook ads courses, which has now afforded you to travel the world.
Related: Evergreen Content Is the Secret to More Traffic. Here's the One Reason Most Evergreen Content Fails.
I taught myself to code in prison without the internet, using textbooks. Now I go back into prisons to teach inmates how to program with the nonprofit The Last Mile. Sure, I've been picked up by some various outlets for my story (Time, The Next Web, etc.), but even my stuff hasn't "gone viral," and it's much more primed than most.
Not everyone's an expert.
I know, you bought a couple courses or even created one, and now you're the ninja, guru, wizard of (fill in the blank). However, it's just not enough anymore. You need to eat, sleep, breathe, whatever you're doing, and do it for five, 10, 20-plus years. Then tell us how you've been successful. I don't care about your "seven months under enormous amounts of stress."
Finally, why do you care about going viral?
Virality is not a sustainable form of growth, it's a vanity metric. Yeah, Sisqo was hot for a summer, but the thong song had to go.
Related: What You Can Learn From the Viral Shenanigans of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
Here's what I propose:
1. Create real community. I have a Facebook group of more than 16,000 other entrepreneurs who share advice, leverage each other's networks and whose ideas my partner and I are now investing into with our new fund, Ammo Ventures.
2. Find your voice. Does this feel like we're having a conversation while you read it? It should because that's how I wrote it. This is a fun and engaging way to communicate. I put you, the reader, first, which allows me to have a two-way conversation with you, rather than just speak to you. I don't speak at people in real life when communicating in person, why would I do that online? And it doesn't even have to be with words. Timmy Sneaks and Ikonick have been able to do that with their art. Dope.
3. Improve our writing skills. Everyone knows Neville is the copyright King (or so he's convinced us, which is an even better testament to his prowess). All of your favorite entrepreneurs from Noah Kagan to Sam Parr recommend him. That's a good place to start. Ryan Holiday's book club will help you improve every month. Here's what helps me: write every single morning. And use Grammarly as a Chrome extension to fix your grammar while you improve.
4. Choose a channel, build your audience and parlay. Rather than regurgitate content and repurpose it across all of your channels. You should choose one channel, build your audience and take that audience with you to the next channel. It's a much better approach. It mimics real life.
Related: What Gets Shared Online? Depends How You See It.
5. Create real value. My boy Gerard Adams created an accelerator in the heart of Newark. He's creating real impact and changing lives. We do that with The Last Mile nonprofit. We go into prisons and teach inmates that are incarcerated how to computer program. That's massive impact. Let's do that instead.Unless you actually talk like Dave Castro during the CrossFit Open (which would make me feel worse for you), save the paragraph breaks for when you actually have a new thought and please save us from your incessant rambling on LinkedIn.