It began innocently enough. Wendy’s posted an expected tweet promoting their “fresh, never frozen” philosophy. A bold Twitter user (who has since deactivated their account after the brutal takedown) questioned that philosophy. Wendy’s was having none of it. The clapback heard round the world sparked a brand new marketing strategy that, essentially, had no strategy. Twitter became more than just a place to push product and answer questions; it became a place to fully engage with consumers through personable, organic, and unfiltered content.
While it may not seem like the best idea to market your brand through snark, sarcasm, and savage interactions, this strategy saw a growing surge on Twitter last year. Following in Wendy’s steps, MoonPie took down their competitor with just two words, and in doing so generated one of the most popular brand tweets of all time. Steak-Umm’s began a campaign to get their account verified and created a cult following. Brands have gone rogue on Twitter and created a new side of Twitter marketing.
Just how successful is this strategy? Wendy’s saw an increase of 350,000 followers in less than a month. Steak-Umm’s follower count sat just under 5,000 before their verify campaign. Today, it sits at 17,000. MoonPie sales increased by 17% in 2017. People want a brand that’s personable and real. They want authentic, unfiltered content. Sarcasm, replies, and acknowledging your competition and current events in a satirical way makes people relate with a brand. What started as a shot in the dark has evolved into an effective strategy for companies, showing that counterintuitive doesn’t always equal counterproductive.
The only problem — there’s no guideline. Unlike classic marketing strategies and campaigns, there are no rules to follow or boxes to check off. The strategy is risky, and in theory, shouldn’t work. Being mean to potential consumers shouldn’t be an effective strategy, but that is exactly what is engaging them. When a consumer reaches out to a brand on Twitter, they expect a polite reply solving their problem. They don’t expect to get ‘roasted,’ but when they are, they love it. But even without a guideline, there are still a couple rules to follow when venturing into uncharted territory.
Don’t Be Scared.
We know this strategy is a risk. Every marketing fiber in your body is screaming at you to be nice to consumers. Don’t be scared to have an authentic voice, as long as that voice is authentic to you. Unique, down-to-Earth voices have a very real market on Twitter. Find that voice and use it, even if it’s as sharp as a knife.
Create a distinctive brand personality, and be consistent in that narrative. People follow accounts for unique voices and will unfollow if those voices constantly change. Adopt your Twitter persona and stick to it. One sarcastic response can appear rude and out of character compared to an endless string of snarky replies.
Direct engagement with consumers, in any form, is a powerful marketing tool. By diving into Twitter replies and engaging with consumers on an authentic, personal, and often savage level, brands become self-aware. It’s a risky marketing strategy, but one that’s proven to work. So take the risk and clapback to consumers because, sometimes, to generate kickass content, you have to kick ass.
On Target Digital Marketing is a digital marketing agency that helps brands stand out and rise above the noise. Through great storytelling and rich content creation, On Target turns companies into thought leaders. Founded in 2005 as a search engine marketing (SEO) firm, On Target Digital Marketing has evolved into Orlando’s only agency that specializes in creating remarkable online content.
About the Author:
Grace graduated from Juniata College and works as a Content Lead at On Target. When she’s not overanalyzing comma usage, Grace enjoys going to local shows and hanging out with her cat (who does not necessarily enjoy hanging out with her).