So you went viral. What next?

So you went viral. What next?

Your franchise brand just had a viral hit, and you’re now in the very enviable position of having a spike in national attention (hello, Popeyes). But how do you capitalize and respond?

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You’ll have to act fast. The last thing you want to do is be caught flat-footed, and have someone else steal your thunder. The good news is that even though you can’t plan for the exact moment, you can plan for the situation with these tips:

1. Don’t be the last to find out! Going viral happens fast and unpredictably. Having a team monitor trends and pay close attention to how people interact with your brand daily is key. This team will also lead the charge in ensuring a quick response once the moment has arrived.

Takeaway: Stay vigilant and have a trusted team ready to strike.

2. After analyzing how people are interacting with your viral moment, it’s important to engage the audience. This can be the first time new consumers are exposed to you, and you don’t want them to feel ignored. Small engagements can go a long way, showing appreciation for the moment and making sure they know you care. These can be as simple as responding to social media posts or video comments.

Takeaway: Be responsive and engage your audience.

3. All publicity is good publicity, right? Almost. While going viral may generate a ton of interest in your brand, ensuring that your responses and follow-up marketing align with your brand identity is crucial. After all, your moment in the spotlight is an opportunity to share your company’s values and principles.

Takeaway: Steer the narrative to reflect your brand identity as closely as possible.

4. Communicate a consistent messaging strategy to your network! Franchisees will be looking to you for direction, so make sure you’re telling them how to leverage this attention at a local level in a way that maintains brand alignment. This brand-wide response can be amplified through paid media as well, adding longevity and increased awareness to the moment.

Takeaway: Leverage the moment with clear franchisee direction and paid marketing amplification.

5. Your viral moment won’t last forever. It’s important to coordinate a plan to follow up. Have a clear call-to-action (CTA) to lead consumers to the next step in their awareness or purchasing journeys. Prioritize the audiences that are most important to you and target them with the right message, products and services while tying back to the original viral moment.

Takeaway: Create a clear CTA to ensure consumer engagement extends beyond the viral moment.

One other thing. Don’t be afraid to capitalize a bit on someone else’s moment. Viral sensations are rare, and they may not happen for your brand. Find clever ways to insert yourself into a conversation or give proper recognition where it’s due. That can go a long way with an audience you may not have in your grasp already.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Patrick Crawford is vice president of strategic marketing at Scorpion Internet Marketing

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