Oops I went viral! (and 8 lessons for small business owners)

There are moments in life when you feel so compelled to take action it takes over your entire being. All the cells in your body are living and breathing this thing inside of you knowing that there is a real urgency to let it escape. And not only to let it out so you can feel content and calm again but to voice the core of your pain to the world and ultimately make a difference to other people and their families, as quickly as possible.

Well this moment happened to me recently after listening to a tragic story about a 14 year old boy in London who died from an anaphylactic shock resulting from a food allergy from something he ate at school for lunch. The school staff did not administer his epi-pen that could have saved his life.

I knew I could be proactive in preventing another tragedy like this happening again and so I began a mission to educate as many people as I could by demonstrating how to use an epi-pen with a video on Facebook. I thought  ‘if this reaches 1000 people then I’ll be really chuffed!’ Within 3 days it had been seen by 30,000 people! And within just a few weeks more than 45,000.

Astonished at the quick response I’d received I quickly put my business head on and scrutinised the key underlying reasons why hundreds of people had shared my video and thousands had taken the time to watch it.

In my conclusions I came up with 8 reasons why this scenario had such enormous success.

No1: It was newsworthy. I had piggybacked onto a current news story. Therefore my video was current and relevant.

No2: I gave people real useful practical advice. (Top Social Media Tip No1: Being useful should be your ultimate objective with your social media).

No3: I’m emotionally connected to this story. My son has an epi-pen and I once had to administer it after a reaction to nuts. My own personal story drove the momentum and strength of my video and compelled people to share it.

No4: There was no sales. Period.

No5: I asked people to share it. I gave examples of types of professions/groups of people whom would benefit from the video and why I wanted them to share it. (Top Social Media Tip No2: Always ASK!).

No6: My advice was really important - potentially life saving.

No7: I made sure I followed up my video with post updates on how many views the video had received along with my response to this. Plus I did a 2nd video showing how to use an epi-pen with a banana, after someone who saw my original video asked a question about how to administer it.

No8: Because I’m an active social media user I have a large like minded network of connections worldwide. This always helps when you want a favour!


If you’d like to discuss how I can help your business utilise social media to get the outcome that you want. Please get in touch, it would be lovely to hear from you. sarah@sarahcook.co.uk