How to Set a World Record With Social Media Monitoring and Snark


Asking for free chicken nuggets on a site with a bird logo seems to be in poor taste.

That didn’t bother @carterjwm, however. Recently, his #NuggsForCarter campaign earned him free Wendy’s chicken nuggets for a year. All he had to do was get his post retweeted 3.42 million times.

If you’re not familiar with the story, welcome to the internet! If you have heard about this, here’s a summary anyway: It’s the story of how social media monitoring and a little snark turned into the biggest thing on the internet.

A Man, a Dream, a Year’s Supply of Chicken Nuggets

Social Media Monitoring

Carter Wilkerson tweeted (offhandedly, we suspect) to Wendy’s “Yo @Wendy’s how many retweets for a year of free chicken nuggets?”

Wendy’s replied (equally as offhandedly, we suspect) “18 million.”

They later upped the ante, tweeting that if Carter broke the record for most retweets, they would donate $100,000 to The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

While Carter didn’t quite get to the 18 million Wendy’s asked for, he did break Ellen DeGeneres’ record for most retweets with 3.42 million.

It was good enough for Wendy’s, who gave Carter the nuggets and donated the $100,000.

How Does This Help My Business?

With a few hundred characters, Wendy’s has tweeted their way into a PR dream. Over 3.42 million people retweeted the exchange, and who knows how many more millions of people are talking about it.

That’s a lot of press coverage for what was probably an offhand remark on Wendy’s part. Even including the $100,000 and the free nuggets, it’s quite an impressive ROI for Wendy’s.

How Did Wendy’s Do It?

It’s simple – they didn’t. Wendy’s didn’t plan for this to happen, they just got lucky. Well, it was luck with a lot of hard work preceding it.

Over the years, Wendy’s has developed a twitter persona that can best be described as snarky. They’re not afraid to tap into their inner smart alec, and this has earned them their propers from the twitterverse.

The way this retweetathon exploded took Wendy’s by surprise just as much as the rest of us, but they set themselves up for success with a well-crafted attitude that was perfect for their audience.

Can I Be Next?

Probably not. In fact, we’re going to go out on a limb and say no way. If a marketing company tells you they can produce a viral post for you, don’t walk away – run.

Nobody has a crystal ball, and what worked once may fall flat if tried again.

Even if you can’t go viral, there are still things that Wendy’s can teach you about how to attract followers and use social media to build your brand.

Know Your Audience

food-2202372_1920.jpgBefore you create any content, it’s important to know your buyer personas. Knowing your audience helps you determine your tone.

Here are a few things to decide before you begin:

  • Are you going to be formal or casual?
  • Are you going to use first or third person?
  • Is your content technical or for laymen?
  • Are you going to use text, images, video, audio, etc…

Knowing your buyer personas and how to best address them is the first step in effective communication. Wendy’s particular style probably wouldn’t work for a company that wanted to discuss technical issues, but it’s perfect for them.

Pay Attention

None of this would have happened if Wendy’s didn’t keep an eye on social media.

In order to take advantage of situations like this, you need to be monitoring your social media channels and responding when appropriate.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to keep your eyes glued to a monitor! Several reputation management tools exist that will alert you when your business is mentioned online, making customer service at least a little bit easier.


In order to communicate with your customers, you need to speak the same language. Knowing who your audience is and how to best speak with them will increase engagement with your brand.

Develop your voice on social media, be authentic, and have a little fun. It worked for Wendy’s, and it can work for you, too.