In case it wasn’t clear to you how powerful social media can be, consider this recent viral phenomenon. A teenager named Alex who works at Target became nationally famous on Twitter for no reason other than because a teenager girl snapped a photo of him while he was bagging her purchases, she found him attractive, and a few of the right people on Twitter happened to agree with her.
Soon enough, #alexfromtarget became a top trending topic on the social media site, eventually prompting Target to jump on the bandwagon by tweeting, “We heart Alex, too!”
They would have been foolish not to. A spontaneous social media fandom created a golden opportunity for absolutely free promotion. Local social media companies would be well advised to offer their services to Alex, as well, because the young man could profit enormously from this utterly unsought and unanticipated fame.
The unpredictable nature of things like this makes it difficult but not impossible for companies to work with their local social media handlers to manage the spread. An astute analysis of this story in the Washington Post notes that it demonstrates the tremendous power of the “fangirl faction.” But Alex also demonstrates that you can’t predict where that faction will direct its attention.
Social media companies from Beverly Hills to New York City to, in this case, Texas, should be diligently monitoring networks for opportunities as they arise, because inevitably they will arise all on their own from time to time, and all a company can do is grab as much of the spontaneous attention as they can.