The LinkedIn Meme that Went Viral

LinkedIn is the professional network. Most people understand that LinkedIn is no longer just an online resume but a robust social network where professionals are able to connect, share and gather insights from others in their industry.

One of the recent enhancements to LinkedIn is the ability to share rich-media into the activity stream like pictures. Photos in your LinkedIn activity stream?!? I post photos into Facebook but where would the value be in putting an image into LinkedIn?

That’s what I wanted to find out. Would I be able to post a picture into LinkedIn and get as much, if any engagement on it with my professional network? I wasnt sure but I figure I’m in a great position to find out.

A few of the guys from LinkedIn Sales Solutions (Duncan Carvey and Max Angell) created some funny memes about LinkedIn and I posted one into my profile Monday morning.

The resulting effect was not expected. When I say viral, I’m not in the “Double Rainbow” category but as far as LinkedIn updates go, this is by far the most exposure and reach I have ever seen from an individual status update.

[update] Thanks to the internet there is a celebrity voice over of the scene using our script.


Just minutes after sharing this image I started seeing activity from my 1st degree connections. Liking it and sharing it to their network. Withing an hour I was seeing that 3rd degree connections were engaged with the meme.

Then Duncan Carvey posted the meme and it was injected to a whole new social graph and his update started to get engaged.


I have a couple different shares of this meme posted on my profile. I didnt realize that when I re-shared it that it would create a new update and not use the original post. Each of those have between 40-60 shares a piece. Because it’s rich-media and not a link to a blog or other web-link, searching for the people sharing it is very difficult. I have been able to find about 6 other people that have posted this meme directly into their activity stream. The beauty is that all of this engagement shows that my network likes these types of updates and I should do more. There are other lessons to learn.

LinkedIn’s platform is built for virality.

Besides just being an amazing meme, the reason I am seeing so much engagement on this is that the LinkedIn platform is actually propelling the meme to new audiences.

When the update is shared or liked, the update is then posted on the activity stream of the person engaged. This is what allows people from their network to see the post and then “like” or “share” it also. This is why I started seeing more and more 3rd level connections engaged with it, something I rarely, if ever see. This is also why after posting the image Monday morning that I am still seeing people share it today and probably tomorrow.

This is a wake up call for marketers trying to crack the LinkedIn code.

How to leverage this engagement

Between all of the shares I can find in the LinkedIn network I’ve counted over 500 individuals that have engaged with the meme. I’ve done my best to connect with or message the people that have liked or shared the picture. In one day I have found a way to connect with hundreds of other professionals some from some big name companies. Not bad for a meme that took less than 15 minutes to think of and create.

No. The idea isnt to create the content, get engagement and then start pitching your product. The idea is that you share great things and then use the engagement to expand your network. Push the barriers of your 2nd degree network and then connect with a larger group of professionals that can either add value to you or that you can add value to.


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