Megan's Social Media Marketing Show - episode 11 - Are Viral Posts a Good Thing?

ep11 - Are Viral Posts a Good Thing?

show Mar 10, 2021

Many people hit publish on each post hoping that it’s “the one” – the post that will go viral and bring them millions of followers. However, I’ve talked to several people who had the blessing and, some would say, the curse of a post going viral.

In this episode, I bring back my friend Joy Vetterlein to talk about her Instagram post that went viral for stating an opinion that is controversial in the Christian world. She shares how she dealt with the backlash and lessons learned as a result.



About My Guest:

Joy is a Christian Misfit, pastor, and writer. She is passionate about exploring unconventional spirituality for people who love Jesus but don’t fit in at church. She’s also a project manager for hope*writers, which is how we met. (I’m their social media manager.)


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Hello. Hello and welcome to Megan's social media marketing show. I am so glad you're here today. I want to talk about viral post. I think this is a mindset that has permeated our psyche and somewhere, even though that may be not what we tell other people, somewhere in the back of our brains, we're posting, we're just about to hit, publish.

And we hope and pray that this next post is the one, the one that will go viral and will gain us millions of followers overnight. Well, I have talked to several people. Who've had viral posts and just from listening to interviews and reading about people, who've had that kind of growth on their platform.

Maybe they're an author who had. Uber successful first book that the stress and the burden that comes after that viral posts can make it difficult to find your way going forward. So I am always a proponent of slow and steady growth of building that sustainable community who, you know, who are raving fans, who, you know, are there for you and for what you're.

Equipped to provide them. viral growth is abnormal. It's usually not something that you normally talked about. Maybe you had a wild hair and you had an opinion about a current event, you posted about it. And then. People latched onto that and took it in another direction. And then you're left with the decision.

How do I handle this? Do I go in that direction now? Because all these people have come to me for that thing. Do I need to talk about that thing now? Or should I keep going where I am and where I know my skillset and my knowledge is based in. Or do I follow this viral thing? And that can be stressful.

You could also be left with dealing with a ton of backlash from your current community and this new community that you all of a sudden have. And. It can be difficult then you're, faced with some other issues now going viral. Isn't always bad. It could be for good reasons, but as with anything.

A burden and a blessing from something like that happening to you. So I thought it would be very interesting to share with you a clip from my friendJoy Vetterlein. She was on episode two, talking about how she got her first thousand followers on Instagram, but she also had this experience of having a viral post.

And I'd love for you to hear from her words. What she did and as a result and the lessons that she learned from it. So without further, or do here is joy.

Megan: Hello everyone. Today, I am having a conversation with one of my good work buddies, Joy Vetterlein. I will let joy introduce herself to all of you. Joy. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do. 

Joy: Hi, Megan, I'm so excited to be here with you. Yeah. So you and I know each other through our work with hope writers, but I also am a writer. That's one of my other many jobs as a writer. And I write primarily for what I call Christian misfits. People who have some sort of faith, affiliation, love Jesus, like have some background in church, but for whatever reason, like are not connecting with the current expression of church in the world.

I'm finding there's a lot of us. And I like to gather us all together and help people who are feeling lonely and their spirituality. Feel less alone. I love it. 

 Megan: [00:01:00] That's lovely. You, I had an experience that many people hope and wish will happen on their accounts. One of your posts went viral.

Joy: [00:01:09] Yeah. So I mentioned that at one of the things I found successful was like, quote, graphics with a statement that is expressing something. Articulating something that my audience might be feeling or thinking, but hasn't had articulated, hasn't been able to articulate that well, and I wrote a post about a very controversial topic, right in the middle of it was the summer of 2020 when there was.

Huge controversies around racism and the pandemic. And in my particular niche, there was a big controversy about whether churches should reopen and people should go back to saying, be allowed to sing in churches. And with my background in church, I wrote a post on it and took a stance that was not a conventional, typically Christian stance on this.

And. It was at first, like a pretty normal post for me, you know, proud was like, yeah, this is like, you've studied exactly what I was thinking. Thank you so much. That's so right. But somewhere along the way, somebody got wind of this post that was pretty controversial and I was pretty like sassy about it and took on all these kinds of.

Topics in there.  I'm not sure. I would phrase everything the same way in retrospect, but somehow it got shared and somebody, I remember seeing the posts and I was so panicked, they deleted it and I'm kicking myself now, but it was like, everybody go find this post and like speak some truth.

And I was like, it was like a call to arms by someone with like a massive following. 

Against my posts. Yes. It wasn't like everybody go be a fan of this. It was like, this lady is like super wrong. Everybody needs to go tell her. So, and I would get like, I was getting like 30 new comments, like a minute.

It felt like an, and they were all horrible things. Like people like calling you names and like telling me like, this is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. You shouldn't like. How dare you. And you should read your Bible, which is a really big slam in the Christian world, or haven't you ever read your Bible?

] And like, this is what you get when women teach or whatever, all these kinds of lovely, lovely things staring at me by people who share my name, but it was, it was really crazy. And I was really shaking at first because I didn't know what to do. And the first advice I saw was like block and delete block and delete every comment.

And so I kind of just like panicked and did that and started like blocking and deleting the really offensive comments. Again, people were coming back and saying like, you just blocked me on my alternate account. I'm just going to keep coming back. And like, you blocked my wife's account and like censorship and all this stuff.

And I was like, Oh my gosh, there's not even any point. And it kinda just like, you know what, they're kind of speak for themselves. I'm going to let them have their say so that they can vent all they want on this post. And it doesn't leak out into the rest of your feed. So I just kind of left it and it took me a couple of days.

And then I was like, Oh no, like I need to go engage in conversation. Cause there are a few people that are raising some good points that weren't from conversation. So I spent like, after a day of just like, what is happened, I went back through and  engaged in conversation. In retrospect, I wouldn't post something that controversial unless I knew I had bandwidth to like engage right away.

I ended up getting like over 600 comments. A ton of likes though, as well, because what was funny is that people continue to share this and say, man, this lady is like so off base, but then people that followed them would actually agree with me. And I got like a hundred followers out of the whole thing and a ton of new, like email subscribers.

And it was like great from my platform. So we kind of had the opposite effect, but. Yeah. And it was a really interesting experience because I really, I felt it, it like confirmed my resolve that I was doing the right thing and that I was speaking to the right person because I had touched on something that had brought this sort of like really awful raft.

And I realized just how much my reader is going through, because this is exactly what they're facing. And I was like, you know, what, if I can. Like battle this for you. I'm absolutely willing to, because. Like nobody should talk to anybody like this, especially in churches and especially like in the names of being Christians, like this is unacceptable.

And I am now going to take an even stronger stand. And I felt like it was a really important moment for me to define myself and my voice and my brand. And since then, it's just like, continued to be like, Nope, this is what I do. And yeah. It's something more in speaking out, I'll speak out for that. , it was, it was really interesting.

[00:06:16] And now I'm just kind of glad that it happened because I learned so much through it and he was one of the viral posts or one of those things that I think everybody. Maybe not everybody, but most of this could be the one, you know like they're hitting public. People want to go viral for good things to everybody.

Some people probably we could get into your Enneagram types and talk about which people are like, no, bring it on. Like come fight me. Other people are like, is there any chance people might fight me? Cause I got to take that on.

Megan: Right, right. But not, it doesn't happen very often. So it's, it's very interesting to hear your perspective and, and how it, it all played out.

But I mean, I think everybody wishes for viral posts in a good way. Like you're saying like this is going to take off however, Viral means abnormal growth. Like we don't want a virus. It's not, you know, growth is supposed to be slow and steady.

If there's anything we've gone from 2020 is that viruses are bad right now.

So. Slow and steady. It's a good thing. Yeah. Oh, okay. Well, thank you so much joy. Yeah, you're doing this for sharing your thoughts and, and how, how you grew, which I would say was, was quickly. And you found your people, which is hard to do a lot of people spend years trying to figure that out. So I am always there in your corner, cheering you on being your cheerleader for those.

Watching and listening, who do not know you, where can they find you? 

Joy: Yeah. So joy better line is a pretty unique name, so is able to snag it everywhere. So you can find me on Instagram at Joy Vetterlein at the end there. And then same with my website, and on, on Facebook and Twitter, technically, but not quite as much as Instagram.

Megan: Thanks so much joy. 

Joy: Thanks for doing this for all of us trying to grow.