The Viral Event
On the 26th of February 2020, Harry Styles played a set in New York City.
Fans were obsessed with the funky, chunky knit cardigan he sported on stage. Designed by JW Anderson, the Colourblock Patchwork Cardigan went viral. It gained so much attention, it has now been reproduced hundreds of times around the world by adoring fans, with the permission of the brand.
What can small businesses learn from Harry Styles’ viral cardigan?
The V&A suggest it’s a sign of the times. It’s a lesson in improving user engagement.
Within an hour of the gig fans posted about the checkerboard cardigan over 1,000 times using the Hashtag #harrystylescardigan. Viewers raised a storm on social media over both the garment and the singer. Thousands discussed how to recreate it.
Today the Hashtag has 77.1 million views on TikTok and 17.6k posts on Instagram.
The Hashtag went viral on TikTok with thousands of users making the cardigan at home over lockdown. Its thunderous reception on social media prompted British designer JW Anderson to give Styles’ fans the exact sewing pattern. He even shared a tutorial on how to make one on YouTube.
Today, to memorialise the viral story, the Victoria and Albert Museum will display the original in their hallowed halls. The museum suggests it signifies a cultural shift towards eco-friendly practices of people making their own clothes, as it encouraged a spike in the number of people who attempted this over lockdown.
Somehow this story also encapsulates the experience of many of us over the pandemic, taking up new hobbies, longing for live events, and most importantly: connecting with others globally using social media.
The Lesson on Generating Viral Content
The Instagram Hashtag is a grossly underestimated tool that sparks conversations, brings users together, and can snowball to create global trends like this on a historic scale.
We know the pandemic saw a huge rise in the time users spent online. Social Media content scheduling platform Hootsuite notes in their annual social media trends report.
“Marketers are smartly following where the user growth is. Instagram added the greatest number of new users between July and September 2020, posting even stronger growth figures than Facebook.”
Did you know Instagram’s advertising reach “grew by 7.1% in the most recent quarter”, that’s more than three times Facebook!
For all of the hype around TikTok, it has not gained much ground in generating Marketing investment from companies that use Hootsuite. Meanwhile, 67% of companies surveyed have increased their investment in the Instagram platform.
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