Why I Regret Going Viral On Instagram (3M+ VIEWS!)

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In August 2022, this Instagram Reel went viral

At the time I’m writing this, it has had 2.9 Million views, 124k likes, 6,500 comments, 26,000 shares, over 100k saves, and gained me about 60,000 followers in less than a week.

Which is everyone’s dream come trueright?!

Well actually…

I kinda regret going viral. 

And in this blog, I’m going to explain why… 

Hey Posse! What’s up? It’s Alex. 

I’ve been wanting to write this for some time now. It seems like a new blog gets published every single day teaching people “How to go viral on Instagram”…

Now there’s nothing wrong with those videos. I mean, I do get it – the prospect of becoming “insta-famous” does have an allure…

But I’m here to say there’s another much darker side to “going viral” that, honestly… no one is talking about. 

So I’m going to open up about my experience with going viral – explain why I regret it and what I’d do differently if I could start over. Now there are of course MANY factors that determine if a piece of content goes viral.

In this Reel, for example, the hook was great, the caption was just the right length, and the video was scripted perfectly to keep people interested until the end. 

But, it wasn’t exactly targeting my ideal audience

Let’s watch it, so you can see what I mean. 

My hope with this reel was that it would inspire people to want to learn copywriting and marketing so they could create the fulfilling life of their dreams, like many of my students have done.

But it ended up capturing the attention of hundreds of thousands of people who were likely looking for an easy way to make some money…

And I bet they were pretty bummed to find out it actually does take effort to create the life of your dreams, even if copywriting as a skill is an easy skill for anyone to learn.

So a lot of people gave me a quick, mindless follow without any intention to actually start a business or any idea who I am or what I’m all about. And they likely haven’t engaged with my brand since.

They aren’t aligned with my message and certainly won’t become paying customers… 

And this isn’t rocket science, but who actually wants followers who don’t engage, feel aligned or buy from you?

I mean – in a lot of cases, that’s what you’re getting when you “go viral”. Not to mention it took my team SIX TIMES longer to keep up with the influx of DMs we were getting… (which meant I was paying team members to nurture people who were absolutely not interested in me or my services)… 

But aside from the wasted resources… 

The more “low-quality followers” you have… 

The HARDER it becomes to connect with your “high-quality followers”. 

Aka – your true fans.

The ones who have been following you from the beginning, the ones who are actually interested in what you have to say, the ones who engage with your content and support your business. 

Those are the people you want to attract.

So, what’s the lesson behind all of this?

A small but engaged audience is FAR more powerful than a large and unaware audience. 

So we pumped the breaks REAL FAST on our social media strategy and completely overhauled our growth tactics. We stopped talking so much about how copywriting is so great because anyone can learn it and it has the potential to make you a lot of money” (even though it’s completely true)… 

And started talking about how copywriting is so great because:

  • “You can stay home with your kids…”
  • “You can stop work at noon and spend the rest of your day scuba diving…”
  • “You can travel the world – no vacation time or PTO needed…” 
  • “You can get paid WHILE fulfilling your passion for writing…”

In other words – we started talking to our REAL audience. The ones who want to change their lives – not just “make more money”. 

So instead of focusing on how you scale super fast and attract as many followers as humanly possible…

Focus instead on how you attract your fans (aka your ideal customer avatars!).

I promise you if you take the TIME (and yes, it does take time) to build a real community by rallying your audience around a shared set of beliefs and values, your marketing efforts will feel SO MUCH easier and more effective.

Before this Reel went viral, I spent 3 years building up my community from ZERO to over 300,000. 

And yes, while it did take time and hard work, all that work has paid off because no matter what algorithm changes come along, no matter how expensive paid media becomes. As long I continue to nurture my community, my business will continue to grow as I launch new products and programs and increase my customer lifetime value.

Which is SO MUCH BETTER than having a big impressive number of followers. 

So to all my Posse peeps out there reading this, I freaking love you! You are WHY I do this.

If you guys enjoyed this and want to see more real talk about business mishaps, failures, and lessons learned… 

Make sure to join my newsletter.

Until next time, I’m Alex – ciao for now! 

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