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Viral Marketing – “5 Magical Curation Tools” Reaches Over 600,000

First Post Went Viral Reaching 412,000: 5 Magical Do More With Less Curation Tools


August 22 Update

5 Magical Tools Update – Value Of A Second Act

I learned an important lesson from my former direct mail employers: “Feed the bear.” It is easier to move something HOT to hotter than something COLD to lukewarm.

The extension of this logic in social media times is that when something goes viral you create a, “This Just Went Viral,” post. This is that post, the second act to our 5 Magical Do More With Less Curation Tools post.

Second acts help move more traffic to the original post. This post (original text below) drove 59,000 new followers from 12 new ReTweets to move the total follower count on the first post from 412,000 to 471,642, up 11% form the first act. This isn’t unusual. Getting more than 10% more out of a post that is past its halflife is hard. Remember, we received this 11% bump by posting another post ABOUT the first post.

Second Act Performance
The post you are about to read did very well on social media too, confirming my direct marketing bosses’ truth – feed the bear. This post, thanks to highly influential ReTweeters such as @Scoopit, @SmallRivers and @videoturf, has reached a following audience of 193,579 from 28 Tweeters. Combine the follower count from this post plus the 11% pickup on the first post and we’ve added 253,000 followers, or up 61%, from the first 412,000 follower set.

I’ve posted several other posts since 5 Magical Curation Tools. Some did well, generating  retweets with thousands of potential followers, but none of them came close to creating an Act II on a known viral post. When you have a post go viral, get a second act by being sure to FEED THE BEAR!

Total followers reached between First and Second Act = 665,221

Here now is the post about the post…

Our August 7th post on 5 Magical Curation Tools achieved something rare – It went viral, reaching  a potential audience of 410,620 via ReTweets. The post is about tools such as, and We may have hit two nerves: One, tools reviews are popular. Two, tools that help do more with less are VERY POPULAR.

Doing more with less is a common need, a large trend, a big wave. Social media marketing is exponentially increasing the work most Internet marketing teams must do. Skeptical management is NOT increasing headcount to fully address the social marketing opportunity. Internet marketing teams are working on social, because they know social media marketing and the social signals it creates help SEO, customer engagement and user experience (UX). The left hand of many Internet marketing teams is being smacked by the right hand, the hand in control of the money. Do more with less is a common demand.

We have recently had five posts “go viral,” reaching more than 200,000 via social support or SEO:

Facebook and Social Media Marketing (on Technorati)

Curation – The Next Web Revolution (on ScentTrail Marketing)

Biggest Multi Channel Marketing Mistakes ( #1 ScentTrail Marketing post and #1 on Google)

Social Media Marketing –  The Most Valuable ROI (on Atlantic BT’s Blog)

Top 5 Do More With Less Curation Tools (On Atlantic BT Blog)

This brings up a vexing question. What makes content go viral?

5 Magical Curation Tools Analysis

Let’s start by looking into why “5 Magical Tools” might have received so much social support:

  • Power Twitter Accounts are Critical to Going Viral.
  • Shorter is better (more of a gut feeling than in the data, but all 5 are on the shorter side).
  • Visuals are Important.
  • Plus Twitter is more powerful than either alone.

Power Twitter Accounts

“5 Magical Curation Tools” was supported by a handful of influential and powerful Twitter accounts, including:

@SmallRivers ( team) (50,878 followers)
@videoturf (17,762 followers)
@henrikboyander (10,097 followers Tweeted 2x)
@justmenga (9,995 followers and Tweeted 2x)
@mickgray (8,411 followers and Tweeted across several large accounts)
@davidrossblog (7,171)
@ ksmall1 (6,836)
@ffreedom_coach (6533)
@pam_strawberry (6445)

Why Viral #1: Power ReTweeters Are Critical
81 Twitter accounts ReTweeted “5 Magic Curation Tools” (so far). The average follower count for accounts who ReTweeted was 4,831. The average Twitter account has 126 followers, so most of the accounts who picked up “5 Magic Curation Tools” are POWER Twitter users with follower counts many times the average.  It is impossible to go viral without pickup from POWER Tweeters. Power Twitter accounts create buzz and following. Without at least a handful of power accounts, it would take too long to create viral numbers (greater than 100,000 followers). By the time you got to the Viral Village on the backs of smaller accounts, the event would be over. Power ReTweeters are key to content going viral.

Why Viral #2: + Twitter Are More Powerful Than Either Alone
@SmallRivers, the great team behind, one of our 5 Magical Do More With Less Curation Tools, rolled out their support. I met Liz Wilson in and liked her curation and comments. Liz asked if I would write a post about how to learn to love social media for I was glad to write a two part series for Liz and @SmallRivers. Doubt Liz and I could have become friends over Twitter: It’s not impossible to become friends over Twitter, but it’s harder at 145 characters. One of’s strengths is its active community of SMART Internet marketers and content curators.

Why Viral #3: Topical
Every day there are new waves to surf. There are also BIG waves left over from the last set. Big waves right now include:

  • Social media marketing, especially ROI, and understanding how it works.
  • Resurgent focus on Google – Panda and Penguin algorithm differences change SEO 180 degrees.
  • Mobile and mobile commerce – All of a sudden your traffic will be 15% mobile, and it will hit like a truck.
  • Hyper Local – Smart phone penetration in the US of over 50% means location is now in the mobile marketing game.
  • Gamification – A subset of creating sticky content, the kind of content a new Google algorithm wants.
  • New Ecomm – Ecommerce is one of the few growth areas for many companies, so ecommerce is getting investment and creativity.

Google Insights For Search Hot Marketing Topics

Note how the Viral Marketing graph (red line) is dropping as social media marketing (gold) gains and dominates. Curation and gamification are small but trending in the right direction. When your content touches one of these big waves, pickup is easier. Four out of my five viral articles have been either directly or indirectly about social media marketing. I need to rewrite “Biggest Multichannel Marketing Mistakes” to include more about social marketing. Social is clearly an important Internet marketing channel now.

Why Viral #4: New-ish — Not Bleeding Edge
I’ve written bleeding edge content, and it never goes anywhere fast. Something too new needs to cook and gain acceptance before bleeding edge content gets pickup. I wrote Platforms vs. Websites months before Phil Simon’s book The Age of the Platform was published in 2011. Good example of being too far out on a trend to gain social support. It is important to publish when ideas happen, but don’t look for a strong viral response on bleeding edge content. Bank bleeding edge content against the swelling wave to come. When the wave begins to swell– when Tom’s book was published, for example– then pull the content forward into NOW by writing more content that refers to it. Early publication dates reinforce authority and legitimacy, which may help it go viral (or not).

Viral content needs to be a new spin on an existing hot topic. The bigger the wave, such as social media marketing, the easier it is to carve out a unique path. Think of the law of large numbers. If there are already a million people interested in something, 1% is 10,000. Your content only has to carve off a small piece of a larger trend to get viral treatment when large numbers are at work.

Why Viral #5 – Places Posted
ScentTrail Marketing, my personal blog, only has 2 of the 5 viral posts despite much more content. ScentTrial only has a PR3. Atlantic BT and Technorati have higher PageRank and more daily visitors. It is harder to get something to go viral from ScentTrail Marketing, but not impossible. ScentTrail Marketing has to have everything just right to generate a viral response. There is more room for content to go viral on a power platform such as Technorati or Atlantic BT.

Here are some interesting graphics about how “Top 5 Do More With Less Curation Tools” went viral to show the importance of Power Retweeters and Men vs. Women and Companies:

Why Does Content Go Viral - Power Tweeters Chart

5 Magical Do More With Less Retweets By Gender pie chart

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