This past week, Wendy’s has gotten quite a bit of attention online due to one “non-influencer’s” hit tweet…leading to the viral hashtag #NuggsforCarter. Check it out below:

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So here’s what happened-Carter Wilkerson, a 16 year-old high schooler from the area of Reno, Nevada, decided to tweet Wendy’s one day asking how many retweets would it take to get a year of free chicken nuggets (it’s pretty common these days for users to tweet fast food chains). Wendy’s, like most fast food chains, has a more sassy online tone, replied with a witty comment of 18 million. Now, 12 days later, this tweet is on track to break the retweet record previously set by Ellen DeGeneres with 3.3 million retweets. As you can see in the pictures, he currently has 3.1 million.

DeGeneres has now played along with Wilkerson’s tweet, something she typical does when anything interesting goes viral, by saying on her show, “If I can ride your coattails to 18 million retweets, I’ll give you a year’s supply of Ellen underwear and this 55-inch TCL Roku TV.”

There are now tons of companies interacting with Wilkerson online including Universal Studios, Oath, and Sanya Tourism for example. Check out their tweets below:

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Wilkerson has now become practically a celebrity online becoming verified on Twitter, creating his own website, and having his own huge hashtag #NuggsforCarter.

Two key quotes from PR Week’s article on this really stand out to me to share on this blog post-check out the full article by clicking above:

“Brands should take note,” says Alexandra Kirsch, VP and director of editorial and social media strategy at Finn Partners. She notes Wilkerson turned into a social media star only because Wendy’s responded with a challenge for him. Many other brands would have let his tweet go unanswered, given at the time he only had a few thousand followers. (He now has more than 52,000).

“We invest so heavily in influencers—and, of course, they have their place within a strategy—but not enough value is placed on the average follower, engager, or other such digital passerby,” explains Kirsch. “Brands that have a strong handle on their social strategy will know when to engage, and when not to.”

Who will be the next “non-influencer” viral superstar? Just check Twitter next week and I’m sure you’ll find out…that’s how the Internet works nowadays! Brands, take note.


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