If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that the power of a retweet is growing far beyond anything we could have previously imagined.
From multi-billion dollar IPOs to correctly predicting the outcome of Brexit and the US election, the likes of Facebook and Snapchat are increasingly challenging the powerhouses across all industries – from publishing to research – and show no signs of letting up. However, while the titans of industry continue to battle it out for dominance in the ever expanding digital landscape, it’s often easy to forget the ability social media has to propel an individual with a passion into the spotlight.
Earlier this week, the BBC reported that teenager Carter Wilkerson became the new world record holder for the most retweeted post in social media history when he launched #nuggsforcarter. An aptly named campaign which began when the sixteen year old tweeted US fast-food chain, Wendy’s, to ask how many retweets it would take to get a free supply of chicken nuggets for a year.
Now, being the social media savvy brand they are, Wendy’s Community Managers replied with the unrealistic promise that, for “18 million” retweets, they would give him just that.
With the witty reply of “consider it done”, Mr Wilkerson shared a screenshot of the promise with a plea for help in achieving this ambitious goal, and sparked a quick response – being retweeted over one million times in its first day.
Since then, the tweet has gone viral with Carter Wilkerson’s plea breaking Ellen DeGeneres’ previous record when he passed 3,430,249 retweets on Tuesday (after having been shared by global companies including Apple Music, Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Twitter itself). It even got a shout out on the talk show of previous record holder Ellen DeGeneres; and won Carter his prize plus $100,000 to his chosen charity, The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, and a promise of a flight to any Wendy’s in the world from United Airlines.
Admittedly, this is a very rare example of just how viral a viral tweet can go. But is a fantastic showcase of how the right emotive messaging, the right influencer engagement, and a catchy hashtag can influence not only personal brand awareness, but also achieve a seemingly unrealistic goal (and maybe earn a charity some cash along the way).
There is a simple message which brands can learn here, and it’s simply to understand your goals when setting out on a campaign. Far too many brands turn to social media out of a sense of peer pressure, the idea that we all need to be pushing out content all the time across all channels – without ever really asking the question, ‘why?’
Carter Wilkerson is a shining example of understanding your campaign objectives, the audiences you need to engage with to achieve them, and the channels and messaging which will best suit your purpose. And as a result, he’s now achieving international recognition as a social media superstar – which will no doubt open innumerable opportunities for him, whether it be as an influencer, working within the industry, or simply looking great on his college transcript.
It’s easy to forget at times that whilst posting on Twitter may often feel like screaming into the void, just another one of the faceless many posting about your #FridayFeeling, there is actually a highly engaged audience across the social media landscape – who are time poor, raised on the multi-screen experience, and are always on. Capturing them on the right channel with the right message could help make that sale, get that sign up, or project you into global renown overnight.
So whether you are a brand, a charity, or an entrepreneur looking to get your message out there and express your passion in a way that will be heard and listened to, it’s important never to look at social media as simply an afterthought. Plan your content, your message, and your time with the digital landscape in mind – and you too may one day win a year’s worth of “the world best nugget” (according to our in-house American).