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The Egg That Cracked Instagram

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The Egg That Cracked Instagram

In early January of 2019, a photo of an egg hit Instagram. It had a simple call to action:

“Let’s set a world record together and get the most liked post on Instagram.”

Now until that innocuous photo of the egg appeared Kylie Jenner (you know, the youngest of the Kardashian tribe) held the record for the most ‘likes’ on Instagram at 18 million. Achieved mostly through selfies and shameless self-promotion.

But then the egg.

Now, there was nothing special about this egg. To be sure it had good shape and the colour was as we’ve come to expect from our hen laying friends, but let’s be clear … It was just a simple photo of an egg.

And yet, this oval-shaped wonder took the internet by storm. Questions arose. What’s in the egg? Is there even anything in the egg? What does the egg ‘stand’ for? All the while the likes kept ticking over until it became a tsunami.

As of the first week of February that egg had over 52 million likes, and the owner of the Instagram account has amassed over 10 million followers.

Then, just as the furore began to settle down, a crack appeared, causing another flurry of excitement and engagement. Finally, on the fourth of February (just in time for Superbowl), a message appeared:

“The pressure of social media is getting to me, If you’re struggling, too, talk to someone.”

Lo, the egg had purpose.

It was all part of a national mental health campaign. Designed specifically to coincide with the American Superbowl, one of the world’s largest advertising opportunities (and holder of the most expensive TV ad slots in the world).

Once again, media around the globe reported on the egg, reigniting the conversation and further boosting the engagement. A quick check on Google news for the ‘Instagram Egg story’ saw the entire front page filled with articles that had been posted in the last 12 hours.

It’s important as Small Business owners to take a look at the story of the egg and attempt to reverse engineer its success.

We’re often quick to lament the downhill trends of organic posting on social media platforms, and yet this post was able to crack the record for the most amount of likes ever.

  • The first thing that sticks out for me is the account holder asked for help.

“Let’s set a world record together and get the most liked post on Instagram.” That’s inviting anyone who comes across the post to take part and join a common cause.

Instead of posting yet another dry fact, try posing a question or actually asking for help. Humans are wired to want to help, and when faced with a question our subconscious automatically goes into answer mode. Structuring some of your posts this way will invite your audience to be a part of your conversation.

  • The account holder created a sense of community.

In structuring the update the way he did he immediately made each reader feel as though they were a part of something bigger than themselves. Sadly there is a significant lack of a sense of community online which is leading to higher feelings of isolation. Find ways to actively help your audience feel like they are part of your ‘tribe’.

  • The post was intriguing.

Let’s not forget this post started as a photo of an egg. Ask yourself how can you leverage or manipulate the seemingly mundane in order to spark a conversation? This reminds me of my days working in radio when we used to have the ‘secret sound’ competition, we took an ordinary everyday item and displayed it in a way that was unfamiliar, leading to conversation and engagement.

The biggest learning for me though is this:

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the ones that gain the most traction.

The challenge we all face is to constantly review our business through fresh eyes and look for ways to engage and delight our audience at every opportunity.

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“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"



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