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What to Do When Your Brand Goes Unexpectedly Viral

A magnet depicting social media likes and engagement being drawn towards it

When a company goes unexpectedly viral, it can be both exciting and overwhelming. While the sudden increase in attention can bring numerous benefits, it can also come with a lot of challenges. In some cases, viral content can lead to negative press, backlash, or even harm to the company's reputation. So, there are a few things that a company should do when it goes unexpectedly viral and provide examples of past situations.

Monitoring The Conversation When Your Brand Goes Viral

The first step for a company that has gone unexpectedly viral is to monitor the conversation. Keep track of what people are saying about the company and its product or service. Social media listening tools can be helpful in this regard, as they can help identify the most influential voices in the conversation. Monitor for both positive and negative feedback, as this can help the company understand how people are responding to the viral brand content.

Responding Quickly And Appropriately

If negative comments start to surface, it's important for the company to respond quickly and appropriately. Ignoring or dismissing negative feedback can escalate the situation and harm the company's reputation. Responding to negative feedback in a thoughtful and respectful manner can help the company maintain a positive image and build trust with its customers. It's important to address the issue head-on and offer a solution if possible.

Leveraging The Momentum

A cup of coffee and a note on a napkin that says "keep the momentum going!"

When a company goes viral, it's important to leverage the momentum and keep the conversation going. This can be done by creating more content that's similar in style or tone to the original viral brand content. For example, if a company creates a funny video that goes viral, it can create more videos in the same style to keep the attention of its audience. The key is to maintain the same level of creativity and authenticity that made the original content successful.

Staying True To The Brand

It's important for companies to stay true to their brand when going viral. Companies that try to be something they're not can come across as inauthentic and damage their reputation. It's important for the company to stick to its values and messaging, even when going viral. This can help build trust with customers and maintain a positive image.

Capitalizing On The Opportunity

When a company goes viral, it presents an opportunity to reach a wider audience and potentially increase sales. Companies should capitalize on this opportunity by promoting their products or services in a way that's consistent with the viral content. This can be done through social media posts, email marketing, or advertising.

Examples Of Companies That Have Gone Unexpectedly Viral

During the 2013 Super Bowl, the power went out in the stadium, causing a 34-minute delay. While spectators waited for something to happen, cookie brand Oreo took the initiative and tweeted a picture of an Oreo cookie in the dark with the caption "You can still dunk in the dark." The tweet went viral, and Oreo gained more than 8,000 retweets and 15,000 likes in just one hour.

Wendy's gained notoriety for its witty and sometimes savage responses to Twitter users who tweeted at the company. The fast-food chain's social media team became known for its humorous and sarcastic tweets, which helped the company go viral and gain a massive following.

In 2016, a woman named Candace Payne posted a video on Facebook of herself trying on a Chewbacca mask and laughing hysterically. The video went viral, and Chewbacca Mom became an overnight sensation. Companies like Kohl's and Hasbro capitalized on the trend by featuring Chewbacca Mom in their marketing campaigns.

A photo of Dara Busch, Co-CEO of 5WPR

Dara Busch is Co-CEO of 5WPR.


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