On April 5, Carter Wilkerson, an average 16-year-old student from Reno, Nevada, tweeted Wendy’s to see how many retweets it would take to earn an annual supply of chicken nuggets.
He received a response he was not anticipating as Wendy’s swiftly replied “18 million” in their typical cheeky fashion. From there, it was history. Carter accepted the challenge and shared the conversation with his followers, encouraging them to help him reach his goal. Thus, the hashtag #NuggsForCarter was developed. The single post has now hit more than 3 million retweets.
HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS pic.twitter.com/4SrfHmEMo3— Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm) April 6, 2017
Notable brands like Microsoft, Google, GoDaddy, Universal Studios have even joined the conversation to support Carter:
Aside from famous brands, well-known celebrities also got in on the fun, including Ellen DeGeneres, who currently holds the title for the most retweeted tweet of all time.
DeGeneres hosted Carter on her streaming channel on Tuesday, April 18, issuing a new challenge for her audience to ensure she retains her title for most retweeted Twitter post of all time.
Nugget boy is here today. You know what they say... keep your friends close and your Twitter competition closer. pic.twitter.com/PA9Vfu2tY3— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) April 18, 2017
“Anyone who retweets Carter's tweet should retweet mine; that way I retain my title," DeGeneres said.
So, the question is, what can brands learn from this viral social media movement encouraging engagement, all for some chicken nuggs?
1. Embrace Engagement
Realize that every follower presents an opportunity for your brand. Don’t get caught up on the number of followers or level of influence your users have currently. Today, social media allows us to amplify our voice and instances like #NuggsForCarter prove how an average follower can become a powerful influencer overnight.
2. Make authentic connections
Connect with followers in a way that stays true to your brand values. If you represent a clothing company, choose to insert yourself in conversations around fashion trends. Organizations around the world chimed in to draw connections between nuggets and their brands. NASCAR joined the #NuggsForCarter conversation in a unique way by adding a special decal to Michael McDowell’s car for the race in Bristol on April 23. Other brands have offered freebies for Carter if he reaches his goal, adding more incentive for him to reach 18 million retweets and engaging in the conversation in an authentic way.
Time after time, we have seen brands latch on to trends that just don’t fit. Don’t reinvent yourself when engaging with followers; they will be the first to call you out. Empower your social media team with the necessary tools to understand, embrace and execute your brand voice.
3. Plan for the unexpected
When mapping out social media strategy, brands tend to remove their followers from the content equation. Make a plan to prepare for any requests or comments thrown your way. Start small and practice. Craft responses that everyone on the team feels comfortable with. Before you know it, you’ll be an expert at identifying the best opportunities for engagement and coming up with quick responses while maintaining your brand values.
Developing social media strategies and implementing best practices for engaging with followers is our specialty. Contact us today for a social media audit to better understand the strengths and opportunities to increase engagement across your social media platforms!
Follow along as Carter continues to move toward his goal of 18 million tweets!
UPDATE: Carter surpassed Ellen's twitter record and finally got his nuggs!
A teenager will get the free chicken nuggets he asked for after his request got more than 3.4 million retweets https://t.co/rIBu594BBW— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 10, 2017