Going Viral: Lessons from Delivering a Home Run

Pippa the dog
25 Aug 2016

Everyone wants a social media post that goes viral. 99.99% of posts don’t make it huge. This is the story of Pippa & a loving postie, who hit the big time.

Everyone wants a social media post that goes viral. 99.99% of posts don’t make it huge. Many get a nice result, but every now and again you get a Chewbacca Mum moment.

This week we had our moment courtesy of a fabulous Aussie postie and his love of dogs – in particular a dog called Pippa who loves collecting the mail.

Martin is a friend of our intern, Rachel Cliff. He is also a postie who regularly photographs the friendly dogs he meets on his deliveries. He has a huge heart and always has a kind, encouraging word for everyone. He is one of those truly decent blokes in life who deserve something great to happen to them.

Last week, Pippa came to collect the mail as she always does, but there wasn’t any mail to collect. So Martin improvised, and wrote Pippa her own parcel collect note.

Luckily for us he photographed the note and the happy Pippa and posted it to his Facebook wall.

Rach loved it and shared it with me (she is brilliant at spotting emerging trends and share-worthy stories).

We could see that the post was getting a lot of likes and engagement from Martin’s friends, so we decided to share it to the Heart Harmony Communications page to see how it would go.

It was the ultimate feel-good story told in a few short, simple sentences and supported by gorgeous photos.

A generous heart meeting a beautiful innocent dog. What wasn’t there to love?

The post took off! In an hour, the post had become one of the top-performing posts on our page.

Adding Amplification

With social media, you look for posts that are performing well and then amplify them. Sometimes you pay to amplify, but in this case, we decided to share the post with a page with a much bigger reach than ours and simply share the love.

We looked at media pages and decided to go for the Today Show page. Why? It has great reach, and engaged followers and the social media managers are suckers for dog stories.

We shared it to their page late on Thursday evening, and their social media people picked it up and shared it to their main page feed an hour later.

It exploded!

Within a few hours there were 20,000 likes and loves, with a few thousand shares. By the early morning the post was the top performing post on the Today Show page for the past week.  By breakfast, it was the top performing post for the past month. By the next day it was one of the top performing posts for the year for them.

People loved it … and Pippa … and Martin … and Australia Post.

They were sharing the post with all of their friends and colleagues – simply to give them a smile.

Martin was happy, embarrassed and confronted all at once. He reported his sudden viral status to his Australia Post manager in the morning who appropriately notified their PR hierarchy.

In the meantime, Imgur picked up the story, then The Dodo and The Poke. It then raced around the world, being picked up by Buzzfeed, Bored Panda, Reddit, Mashable, the Daily Mail, India Times and Fox8.

Hundreds of local news sites translated the post – it has been spotted in Italy, the UK, Germany, China, the USA, Brazil, Taiwan, France, Portugal, Hungary, Dubai, Argentina, Croatia, Canada, the Philippines and loads more that we can’t translate.

Some enterprising people turned the images into a video and uploaded it to YouTube.

Then the meta stories started – stories about how viral the viral post was going. Huffington Post took the story about the story angle, and the photos are still being shared around the world.

Martin’s personal Facebook page has been inundated with well-wishers from around the world. Australia Post has also been inundated with praise for Martin, and mounds of mail for Pippa.  Pippa’s owners are loving their celebrity status – as is Pippa.


Sometimes the best social media comes directly from an individual who is simply reacting in the moment. You can’t script it. You can’t stage manage it. All you can do is share it and enjoy.

Why this took off was the simplicity of the message and the pure joy of Martin and Pippa.

Well over a million people have loved the story of a postie and a beautiful dog called Pippa in less than a week. All from a simple act from an employee who loves their job (with a little share in the right direction).

About the Author

Ingrid Moyle

Ingrid Moyle is a self-confessed multipotentialite. While she is now retired from the corporate rat race, she still shamelessly dallies in her latest topics of fascination. When not hardwired to her computer, she quests for the perfect decaf coffee while chasing virtual reality creatures across the backstreets of Brisbane.

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