What "Brad's Wife" has Taught us about Social Media Engagement

From March 22 - 27, Cracker Barrel saw a 226% spike in social engagement.

When Cracker Barrel's social media manager walked into work last Wednesday morning, I highly doubt he/she was ready for what would happen over the course of the next 5 days.

Brad (Brad Byrd) is a man from Indiana who took to Cracker Barrel's Facebook page to protest the termination of his wife after 11 years of service to the restaurant. Byrd posted a query on the restaurant’s Facebook page last month asking why his wife was fired, on his birthday, the situation went viral, with the comments on Cracker Barrel’s Facebook and Twitter pages virtually hijacked by people demanding justice for Nanette.

Social engagement spiked by 226% and 90% of their social traffic was about "Brad's Wife".

Check out the Memes and screenshots from the backlash...

Brands also recognized the opportunity to capitalize on Cracker Barrels weird and unfortunate situation. Check out Chick-fil-a's response below. 

Bottomline is that companies need to be prepared for situations like this. They may find themselves on the receiving end of it, or they may choose to do what Chick-fil-a did and join the conversation in a way that aligns with their corporate values/branding.