I post on Instagram daily. I post a lot of photos, and the occasional video. These are invariably about my garden, my chickens, my organic gardening magazine, or the occasional visit to the farmers market. It’s my favorite social media channel, and I’ve made tens of thousands of friends there. I usually get enough likes to feel like someone cares, and I love the engagement that frequently follows.
Even so, I was a bit taken aback when I discovered a video I’d posted was racking up several new views per second. That’s right, per second.
The gods smiled
So what strange confluence of events conspired to create over one million views of this video?
The video is of what’s called a rubber egg (more about this in a moment). And this video was blessed by the Instagram gods who featured it on their Farm Life video feed.
Now this isn’t my first rodeo, so to speak, with a featured video. Several of my videos had been featured, but my idea of a very successful featured video was maybe 15 thousand views. When the numbers started climbing past this in a few hours, I was surprised.
I’ve seen some videos on this feed get up to 90 or even 100K views, but so far, I haven’t seen anything above that. But the views on my video hit 100K and kept on going. I began to hope we’d hit a quarter million.
When we hit half a million, I was sure it would die out. It didn’t. And the engagement continued to grow.
What made this video go viral?
So why this video? I sure wasn’t expecting this to happen! What did I accidentally do right?
The subject is definitely worth a quick analysis.
First was the subject matter.
Face it, rubber eggs are weird. It’s a condition where the shell doesn’t fully form before the chicken pops it out. The shell is very soft, pliable and, well, rubbery.
A fellow Instagrammer posted my video on his feed and it set off a chain of accusations that the egg was a hoax. Apparently you can soak an egg in vinegar overnight and it’ll do the same thing. This was no hoax.
But even before that, a different thread opened on my original posting. Another Instagrammer, someone who is vegan, posted a slur against what she called “you meat eaters.” Enter controversy. I briefly considered deleting her comment, then decided what the heck, she’s entitled to her opinion. So I Liked it instead. But other viewers took her comment to heart, and a ripping debate started that quickly degenerated into name calling. Even some vegans were attacking her, while other vegans stepped up to defend. The frequency of views went back up again!
Eventually this controversy calmed, but the views have continued. The comments have grown, and the engagement has broadened. Scores of people are saving the video, tagging friends to watch it, and even sharing it on their own feeds. (Michele, the Garden Science editor for The Dirt magazine, says it’s because the rubber shell breaks unexpectedly during the video. But who really knows?)
Then there are the hashtags. Instagram definitely rewards good hashtag use. While super popular tags are rewarding for quick view gratification, it’s good in the long haul to also include those hashtags less traveled. Two of my hashtags for this post were still putting the video in the #1 position for TOP POSTS three weeks after initial posting. (And no, I won’t tell you which ones!)
Even now, the video continues to invite engagement by its very nature. Chicken people are a helpful and caring community, and many have offered advice on causes and remedies for rubber eggs, or shared their own experiences with their chickens’ rubber eggs. And engagement is what we all want on Instagram. It’s what makes it fun!
So what’s the bottom line? I have some idea of what factors might have converged to produce over a million views in three weeks, but if you asked me to reproduce the phenomenon, I’d be like, “Um, sure—wish me luck!”
The benefits of going viral on Instagram
What have I gotten out of a video gone viral on Instagram?
Hahaha! Not much! It hasn’t produced a jump in my followers, and I can’t sell advertising on it, the way I could if it were on YouTube. On the surface, it doesn’t give me much.
But it boils down to pretty much one thing: bragging rights. And this, I have to admit, I am really enjoying.
Think about it. Viral videos on YouTube happen all the time. But how many people can claim a million video views on Instagram? I’m an Instagram star! Or at least, my chicken’s rubber egg is.
Su Falcon, Editor in Chief
The Dirt on Organic Gardening Magazine
If you’re interested in chickens and gardening, check out some of our other blog posts.