2017 top 10: PRWeek's most-read social media stories

Eclipse stunts, connections with sitcom actresses, and a soon-to-be-overshadowed story called #LeggingsGate were among the most-read social media stories on PRWeek this year.

1. The top 10 brands that nailed Twitter in 2017
KFC, Wendy’s, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and provocative executives Elon Musk of Tesla and John Legere of T-Mobile were among Twitter’s biggest brand winners in 2017. But don’t take our word for it. That’s according to the folks at Twitter themselves, who picked out their favorite brand activations of the past year.

2. How 17 PR pros reacted to Sean Spicer’s Saturday press conference
The day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration and the day of the Women’s March, new White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer took to the podium to address the media about the crowd at Trump’s swearing in and hoo boy, did things get weird in a hurry. Here’s how PR pros—and eventually Saturday Night Live—reacted.

3. McDonald’s quietly builds team of in-house ‘storytellers’
Storytelling: It’s what’s for (all-day) breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Fast-food chain McDonald’s started cooking up its social media storytelling this spring when it began hiring for a team of "creative, innovative, and disciplined storytellers."

4. Inside United’s social media response to #LeggingsGate
You’d be forgiven if you forgot about #LeggingsGate, the social media crisis that ensnared United Airlines days before a certain other, much more serious problem. United’s Megan McCarthy acknowledged the carrier should have taken a more thoughtful approach.

5. How an out-of-the-way animal park drummed up global publicity with a live-stream
One very pregnant giraffe plus live video resulted in global publicity for an Upstate New York animal park and newfound fame for April the Giraffe. Toys ‘R’ Us made the most of the moment, too.

6. Don’t ignore the little guy, and other lessons from #NuggsForCarter
There are many lessons from the #NuggsForCarter craze. Among them, that chicken nuggets are great in moderation and that high school dreams sometimes do come true. There are several lessons for marketers, as well, including that it pays off to give a little attention to your fans.

7. L.L. Bean finds there is no return policy on a Trump tweet
Remember the very early days of 2017, when even the mightiest executives cowered in fear at the thought of an angry tweet from President Trump? Then there was the curious case of L.L. Bean, which was on the receiving end of a different kind of tweet from the president. What’s a brand to do when even selling super-warm boots—or sneakers—is political?

8. 11 brands go Upside Down for Stranger Things 2 premiere
Brands could not get enough of the precocious kids from Netflix’s Stranger Things and their supernatural adventures. Here’s how 11 brands capitalized on the show’s season two premiere in October. Shame they couldn’t bring Barb back.

9. Royal Caribbean on booking Bonnie Tyler for eclipse: ‘We knew if we didn’t get her, someone else would’
This is probably true. But to prevent that from happening, Royal Caribbean acted quickly more than a year ago to sign the "Total Eclipse of the Heart" singer for the day of the first total solar eclipse in 99 years. The appearance even got the attention of boldface names such as John Legere and Sean Spicer before everyone took to the streets to wander aimlessly and stare at the sky.

10. The inside story: Why Chili’s is allowing The Office’s Pam back in after an 11-year ban
Who among us hasn’t been kicked out of a Scranton fast-casual restaurant? Actress Jenna Fischer had, at least fictionally as Pam Beesly Halpert on the sitcom The Office. More than a decade later, banter ensued between brand and actress and an uneasy detente was reached.

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