Lassie Come Home – How A Movie Star Dog Helped a Facebook Post Go Viral

I’m often asked by clients “How can I make my post go viral?”. Believe me, if I had the answer I’d be rich! I plan my social media posts very carefully, align them with business objectives and assign a specific Call to Action to help followers find their veterinary practice, but there’s no way to know which posts will perform better than others, or which posts will resonate best with followers.

And then today, this happened…

A seemingly innocent and heartfelt post about Lassie’s final resting place broke the internet! At the time of writing, my client’s post (Passing Paws Pet Cremations) has gained over 100K reactions, 4.1K comments and 15K shares in less than 24 hours, and it still hasn’t stopped.

Why this post?

On the face of it there is nothing special about this post. I often spend hours designing original branded content in Canva, so the fact that this simple snippet from the internet has performed so well on Facebook took me by surprise. I decided that this warranted deeper investigation.

Facebook vs. Instagram

The same post on Instagram has only performed moderately well in comparison, with 130 Likes. This tells me two things:

  1. That this content resonates more with an older demographic who spend more time on Facebook than Instagram. People aged 45-50+ are more likely to remember the Lassie movies, and the fond childhood memories that accompany them. It’s more relatable to them.
  1. The ability to share posts on Facebook was a major contributing factor to the virality of this post (posts cannot be shared to a feed on Instagram).

Emotional Connection

It’s not only happy childhood memories that Lassie evokes. This is an image of Lassie’s tombstone, so people will also feel a mix of sadness for the loss of this beautiful dog, along with respect for the bravery and devotion that Lassie depicted in her movies. These are traits that are embodied in our love for all dogs, including our own.

Facebook Algorithm

When Meta realises that people are liking what you are putting out, they reward you with extended Reach. The more people react, comment and share, the further your post will go. It’s like a snowball rolling down the hill, and once it gets going there’s no stopping it!

What Next?

Strike while the iron is hot! Invite people who reacted, to follow your page. Facebook makes this easy for you to do. Simply click on the Reactions below the post and start sending invites.

In summary, it’s almost impossible to plan for a viral post or deliberately replicate it, but unless you keep spinning the wheel, you’ll never hit the jackpot.

  • Be consistent. Post frequently and offer a variety of different content types.

  • Test new ideas. Consider your target demographic and what will resonate with them.

  • Evaluate the results. What worked and what didn’t?

Have you had a post go viral on Facebook? I’d love to hear about it!