That Time I Went Viral!

Kleenex Box Sign

Not long ago, it was a Friday afternoon and I was winding down my week. I came across a photo from my hometown that combined my childhood and my long association with Kimberly-Clark. I posted that photo along with a little anecdote and carried on with my day. Then things got a little wild!

There are articles out there that talk about how people are turning to nostalgia during the disruption and disorientation of the pandemic. I suppose this picture struck a chord with some people. Not just some people, it also found its way into the feeds of a number of groups of people:

1) People with a personal connection to me
2) People with a history or connection to my hometown – Terrace Bay, Ontario
3) People with a history or connection with Kimberly-Clark

As time went on it was apparent that most were in category three. Kimberly-Clark is a massive global company and many were current employees or past employees. This picture from the late 60’s or early 70’s probably hit the chord of nostalgia with many of them. There are likely other factors like pride in the company they worked for as well as marveling at the power of a global brand and its ability to resonate over the years.

Some statistics from this post (it has slowed down but it is still circulating):

641 reactions

LinkedIn Kleenex Sign Post

I found this quite amazing and I was not even trying to do anything to get noticed!

See the original post here

As this was happening, my profile views went through the roof and I gained quite a number of new connections. I also noted a considerable increase in traffic to my website.

I got to thinking, what lessons could I derive from this? I am not sure the reaction could be exactly replicated but all the same, why did this post take off in this fashion when many seem to never be noticed?

When I consider my typical LinkedIn activity and its results:

Post a link to an article that I found interesting: 100 to 200 views
Post a link to a new blog post on my website that I wrote: 200 to 400 views
Create a post that incorporates a photo or video of myself: 800 to 1000 views

To me, there is so much “noise” on LinkedIn. Many individuals and companies have posts about a new product or service. Many people post articles that do not seem to have any relevance to what they do or represent. People post things that seem like it would be better on a personal social media platform like Facebook. In such a noisy platform it is hard for your posts to stand out.

It makes one wonder whether people are interested in your content, particularly if you are just curating content (sharing stuff that other people have created).

Try being bold, do not just pass along someone else’s writing. If your purpose on LinkedIn is to establish yourself as a subject matter expert or build your brand, then try writing yourself!

You do not need a blog or a website to do this. It is quite easy to create an article on LinkedIn. It is nerve wracking but when you manage the courage to take the plunge, you will find it is really not that bad. The worse that might happen is that no one reacts (I have been there). Even with that, you have had an opportunity to learn and incentive to try altering your approach.

Remember whatever you do on LinkedIn, what truly stands out is yourself!

Something happens when people see your face or when they can hear you talking for a brief moment; for that they will take a moment and stop and see what it is that you are saying.

If they know you, they really like that moment of connection with you.

To me, this drives to the lesson; when you are being active on LinkedIn, strive to be authentic. Share stuff and talk about stuff that is important to you or relates to you.


  1. Randy Ouimet on February 13, 2021 at 10:25

    Hi Tom. I experienced the same viral activity when I posted the photo of the Denison Mines Management Team from the 80’s in a Christmas message that included a pic of my late father. I simply notes how much I learned about the mining business from the supper table and that post ended up with similar numbers. My connections are now well over 5000. Most from the tunneling and mining industries that I serve. Your suggested content is correct. I wrote my first blog not long after that and number two will be coming soon. Maybe I’ll do a short video to introduce it — good idea.
    Thanks Tom

    • Tom Fournier on February 13, 2021 at 10:33

      Do try the video. It is amazing the impact!

      I picked up a few tips in a networking group from a presenter.

      Target length is under 2 minutes.

      Plan it out before hand and have the following:

      1) An introduction – who you are and what you are going to talk about

      2) The core message/theme

      3) Conclusion/call to action

      I am going to try a couple more soon.

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