Is going viral worth it?

By: Donald Smith


Over the past couple of months Donald Trump’s campaign has been vigorously active with its twitter campaign. Along with its tweets came its “unique” personality. In some of its tweets it used companies such as Tic Tac and Skittles as examples and both companies responded via Twitter.

“Viral Message,” by 5WPR

Now, with social media the whole world is watching, and more than likely you only get one chance to address a situation. This one chance is crucial because one could use it to gain a large amount of notoriety and gain exposure for the brand for free, which is great from a PR standpoint. People have started to label this occurrence as “breaking the internet.”

The phrase was first coined in 2014 by Kim Kardashian and Paper when the two published Kardashian’s nude photos in the magazine with the hashtag #BreakTheInternet. These photos caused a catastrophic uproar across all social media platforms gaining Paper large increases in followers across all platforms such as Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram. However, this stunt did garner some backlash to both Kardashian and Paper. As seen in this Fox News article, many other celebrities were not fans of her photos and let her know.

Back to Tic Tac and Skittles, both had an opportunity to turn their occurrences into potential PR stunts and “break the internet.” However, neither did and decided to calmly address Trump’s campaign comments as positions they did not endorse. This action was well received and praised by PR professionals.

This brings to question whether or not going viral is a worthwhile tactic for future PR campaigns. According to Public Relations Society of America’s article it is not. This is because there is no way to control how much attention the stunt would receive, therefore making it unreliable. A better option would be to disperse content across multiple platforms so it reaches distinct target audiences and creates a ripple effect that will continue the connection and engagement of the content.

In the end do not try and force viral content. If the opportunity arises only go viral if it is not out of the company’s culture. Otherwise back away and keep up the ripple. As they say, “Even the tiniest ripple may become a tidal wave.”


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