The image that went VIRAL. The pros and cons.

Being fairly new to social media for my business (in the past 2 years) I wondered what it would take for an image to go viral.  It sure had to be special but how special should it be and how do you create an image that goes viral?  And what will happen after your image goes viral?  Well, this year, I had the answer with my first image to go viral.  I was very surprised by the image that actually made the cut.  It’s a fish jumping after being hooked.  I figured fisher people would like the image but for some inexplicable reason to me it was a hit with also non fisher people.  The likes started pouring in after posting it on Instagram.  And is not the likes that made it go viral but the shares.  I still have a fairly small group of followers on instagram being only a year into it.  Is the shares that put the image on pages with thousands of followers and it just spread like a virus in a few days.  Millions of likes and shares hit the image in no time.  At one point I thought my phone was going crazy.  It beeped constantly and realized it was from twitter reposts and mentions of my photo that I never even posted on twitter.

Now, the really important question.  What did I gain from it going viral?  Or was there a loss?  Truth is, I post images on Instagram for business reasons.  I am still figuring out how the business part works but that’s the ultimate reason, to make money somehow.  Have I made money with this image?  So far it was considered for a magazine cover (the bubbles conflicted with the type so ended up not being used), Patagonia has it on file and is considering it for their new catalog and I got a free hat from a German fly fishing clothing company.  So in short, I got a cool free hat from Germany.  I am sure that I received a lot of exposure from the image that could also eventually translate into some monetary gain but for now is just the hat.

Has there been a loss?

What I did notice is that the image was shared and in many instances was shared with credit.  But often the image was just shared stripped of my credit and not only that, it was manipulated and changed from it’s original form.  Some changes kind of cool, others not so cool. IMG_20141202_122531 copyWhen an image goes viral you lose control.  People can do whatever they want with it, manipulate it, crop it and eventually the image will be stripped of your credit.  That’s the nature of the beast, when it goes viral you can only let it go wild.

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2 Responses
  • stephanie menuez Reply

    HI Paolo, Love the image, so GREAT! Bravo. Great story as well. Thank you for sharing the experience, great to know
    how to get a nice hat, I hope to hear how it did translate into an image sale or a giant campaign very SOON!!
    Big Cheers, Stephanie

    • marchesi Reply

      Thank you Stephanie. You are welcome :)

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