While perusing Facebook last month, I stumbled across a trend that got me rather excited. And that trend was the #PowerpuffYourself hashtag.
If you’re not familiar with this viral craze, then you’re probably going to need a bit of background. To celebrate the reboot of one of the most amazing 90’s cartoon shows ever, Cartoon Network launched a Powerpuff Girls avatar creator and encouraged users to share their completed creation on social media with #PowerpuffYourself.
With new hope that my forgotten childhood dreams could finally be fulfilled, I mixed sugar, spice and everything nice (as well as a dash of Chemical X) to become a Powerpuff Girl. And just as the website instructed, I feverishly shared my finished avatar across all my social media.
I knew I had just jumped on a viral bandwagon. But while my picture processed on Instagram, I started wondering just how much difference this would have on my likes and followers, and how I could make the most of this trend.
The number of likes I get on my Instagram uploads are somewhat sporadic due to varying times, content and hashtags, but I never usually get more than twenty. I wanted to see if I could push beyond this and try to get a hundred likes.
I didn’t attempt this just by using a range of optimised hashtags; I was proactive in my experiment. Some would say too proactive. But I’ll get on to that.
Following the advice in Joe’s guide to reaching double figures on Instagram, I used seven hashtags in total, five that are relevant (#powerpuffyourself, #powerpuffgirls, #cartoon, #cartoonnetwork, #nostalgia) and two that are more general but popular (#igers, #instagood). I was already seeing a few likes rolling in, and I was on track to hitting about twenty within five minutes.
But because of the instant nature of Instagram, my Powerpuff Girl would soon be shoved down by other #powerpuffyourself posts, and I wouldn’t see much more beyond my average stats. According to my Iconosquare report, my average media lifespan is 2 hours, so I started thinking about ways I could reach my target of a hundred likes. I was particularly inspired by the concept behind the #like4like hashtag.
Without further ado, I started liking a bunch of #PowerpuffYourself, #PowerpuffGirls, #Powerpuff and #CartoonNetwork posts in batches over the next couple of days. To give you an idea of the amount of pictures I liked, I was blocked from Instagram at least three times. In one instance, I wasn’t allowed to like posts for the whole day. I liked so many that when I checked out my liked pictures, I counted two hundred and gave up. I would estimate that I liked about a thousand or more Powerpuff Girls and Cartoon Network related Instagram posts. This may be a bit excessive, but for the sake of the experiment, I went a bit overboard – and I noticed that other Instagram users were doing the same.
At midnight on the first day, I achieved my goal. I even surpassed it in the morning, hitting 227 likes after another liking spree.
This also had a positive effect on my recent photos, including one of my selfies, which ended up getting 55 likes in total. My following also grew, though not as significantly as I had expected (during my experimental period, I gained about 20 new followers). The graph below shows how many likes I received since having my Instagram account – you can see that April (when my PowerpuffYourself experiment started) gained a record number of likes.
April also achieved the most comments.
Here’s how my post looks now:
And just for comparison, I also posted a Star Wars Day themed image with appropriate hashtags, but did not actively seek new followers and likes:
A photo posted by Corrie (@corrossa) on
At the end of my little experiment, I have concluded that it does pay to jump on viral trends – but it pays even more to interact with relevant audiences. If your posts are very topic specific, then you should like other posts that are of a similar theme. If you’re more focussed on building your following, you can also take inspiration from the concept behind the #follow4follow hashtag, much like I did with #like4like, to work on gaining more followers.