Every week, we’re inundated by articles that discuss either the power of social media or how it’s killing our society slowly. This week, we’re seeing how it powers a business, but is that sustainable?
Billy’s Donuts, in Missouri City, TX (just outside of Houston) has rocketed to social media stardom thanks to a single tweet and a few well-placed celebrity retweets. @HiBillyBy posted on Twitter that his father’s donut shop opened but didn’t have any customers and that his dad was sad. This, with a few well-shot and sympathy-inducing images of his father and the beautiful donuts prompted an unprecedented outpour of support from the Houston community and beyond.
My dad is sad cause no one is coming to his new donut shop ? pic.twitter.com/y5aGB1Acrc
— Billy's Donuts (@BillysDonuts) March 9, 2019
A simple tweet. A few images of the empty shop. A barrage of responses.
Casey Neistat was one of the first major accounts to retweet to his 2 million followers. Next, @Twitter followed suit, not only by responding, but by sending a team to the shop.
Despite your opinion on Twitter’s relevance as a social platform to businesses, that’s good PR on everyone’s front.
— Casey Neistat (@CaseyNeistat) March 10, 2019
— Twitter (@Twitter) March 11, 2019
So, the question remains: is social media virality a sustainable business model? Most often, it is not for many reasons. Whether it’s due to the internet mass’ short attention span or your business falling into the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives problem where you are overwhelmed with attention you weren’t ready to handle, there are many ways for your business to be forgotten.
TripleD creates buzz around restaurants due to Guy Fieri’s clout as an expert in the area of small, local restaurants and having a massive fanbase. He even warns owners to be ready for a high influx of new customers. Many of his restaurant adventures have failed after their fame due to not being able to handle the demand, but there are a few things that successful ones have done to ensure their longevity:
1) Having the infrastructure in place to meet customer demands.
2) Keeping up with product quality (which ties into #1 really).
3) Living on the TripleD list. Number 3 is the goal for a small business that’s gone viral. You want to make sure your business continues to show up in news articles due to their obvious boost to your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
But, how do you make that happen after you’ve gone viral? There’s no sure fire way, but here are things you can do to help:
Respond strategically. It’s thanks to the fans that you have risen to success, so show everyone you are appreciative of their support. You won’t able to respond to everyone, but showing that you’re trying to makes a huge difference. As well, responding to those that have influence is just smart. Taking the time to see who some of your new fans/followers are and interacting with them can create longevity when it comes to your new-found fame.
In the case of Billy’s Donuts, a large number of local news outlets have given small write ups regarding the viral tweet. Speaking with them and inviting them into the shop to actually taste the product will take them past “Hey, look at what they did on Twitter” to “This shop deserves to be sold out!”
Steady flow of content. You’re viral. That means new followers. You want to keep those new followers informed and entertained by your content. But, you don’t want to overwhelm them. It’s ok to discuss and repost PR regarding your new-found fame, but that can’t last forever. If you only utilize that, after too long, people will become bored and start unfollowing you. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t repurpose amazing articles and content later on.
@HiBillyBy seems to be a talented photographer based on his profile. He should be able to provide high quality content for the shop, and therefore maintaining the interest of his new followers.
Put simply, don’t get overwhelmed and put in the extra time to keep up with your social media.