The Holy Grail of online marketing.

Have you ever wondered what makes a social media post go viral? In this blog post we take a close look at a tweet sent from an account with 29 followers and go behind the scenes to show how it was viewed by over half a million people.

In June 2015 I was sitting at home watching my local hurling team, Wexford, play live on television. It was the under 21 team and they were enjoying a great evening, playing some wonderful stuff.

Meanwhile,  I was sitting on the couch doing what I normally do when viewing sporting events – ‘second screening’.

Second screening is simultaneously engaging with a second device, such as a smartphone, to improve your experience of content on another screen. In this instance, I was checking twitter on my smartphone to see what people were saying about the match that I was watching on TV.

The young Wexford team proceeded to score an amazing goal, starting from the goalkeeper, flicking the ball the full length of the Wexford Park pitch and into the opposition net.

I quickly recognised this as something there would be buzz about on social media. So, I paused the action on the TV, rewound it to just before the goal and enabled the camera on my phone.

I took a 20-second video of the goal and posted it to twitter using my personal account:

Despite using twitter regularly, I don’t tweet very often from my personal account. I use it more as a source of news rather than interaction. At the time of sending this tweet my account had 29 followers.

Over the next couple of hours my phone lit up with notifications of likes and retweets. The video was retweeted by popular accounts such as Paddy Power and the tweet was embedded on websites such as independent.ie and balls.ie.

My tweet containing the video was viewed over 30,000 times. With retweets and embeds, a conservative estimate would be to say my video was viewed over 500,000 times.

So how did this video, tweeted from an account with 29 followers get viewed over half a million times?

Lets take a closer look at the 3 main reasons this happened


The video of the goal was posted within 2 minutes of it happening. As word spread quickly of this amazing goal being scored, people were searching online for footage of it.

The speed with which it was posted on twitter meant that people were able to see it straight away and share it amongst their friends and followers.

Other videos of the goal were posted online later in the evening but got nowhere near the same engagement. The original video had been shared extensively by that stage.

By reacting quickly to events you can take advantage of online buzz and get your content in front of a massive number of people.


The tweet that contained the video was also tagged with two twitter handles. By tagging the official accounts of Wexford GAA and the official account of the competition the match was in, this meant the tweet was likely to be seen.

If the tweet had just been posted with no comment or tags, its visibility would have been very limited. The two official accounts tagged in the tweet shared it amongst their followers.

It was also likely that anyone searching for footage of the goal would have searched ‘wexford’ or ‘u21 hurling’ so by tagging these accounts in the tweet resulted in the tweet being prominent in search results on twitter.

Clever tagging in a tweet can greatly increase its reach.

Use of Technology

There is a common belief that to produce high-quality content you must invest a lot of money.

It might be true that multinational companies with massive budgets will plough significant amounts of cash into producing videos.

However, this video was produced using the camera on a smartphone. The production quality of the video may not be the highest but that only goes to prove that the content is the most important thing.

People wanted to see footage of the goal and as long as the video was watchable that was good enough in this instance.

By using technology that is available to you, you can produce content that will be shared. The main thing to remember is to ensure the content itself is what your target audience wants.

Content is King!

A well-used phrase, but that’s because it’s true!

When posting on social media the most important aspect of the post is the content itself.

Tagging, timing, and technology are all important elements that can help a post go viral, as in the above example.

However, if you post something that is topical, different or noteworthy you give yourself a much greater chance of reaching more people.

At Jam Digital we can help you reach more of your customers online.

Take the first step by checking out our services and get in touch today. We will maximise your online potential and ensure you fully take advantage of your online opportunities to help your business grow.

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