We all know about how Burger King’s Twitter profile was ‘hacked’ on February 18 and the indecent (sometimes atrocious) posts that kept coming: about their so-called merger with McDonalds (McDonalds was swift enough to condemn the hacking and say they had nothing to do with the unfortunate incident); about how they caught an employee injecting a syringe in the butt in the washroom (with a video) – and many more. Profitable or not, this incident put social media managers into a tizzy since the company raised around $900,000+ with the free publicity and trending on Twitter. This incident (or PR strategy) put them right in the spotlight for free!
There are lessons all of us can learn from Burger King in this regard – if you’re desperate for publicity, you can use these tips to get your own account hacked (apparently MTV tried this and sort of failed), or you can beef up your security measures if you’re all for ethical social media management (we really really hope!).
Social Media for Business: The Importance of Secure Passwords
The only non-Burger King tweet that went almost as viral as those from the account was: ‘Burger King needs to realize that Whopper123 isn’t a secure password!’ Twitter and almost every other social media networking site with business pages have reinstated the importance of choosing strategic passwords, and updating them from time to time. Not many of us take note, and sometimes we are prey to hackers online – not only Burger King: there were major hacks reported in the past as well with Oreo, Maker’s Mark, and Jeep being the most largely hit.
The Burger King Fiasco: A Huge Revenue Churner for Social Media Marketing
When you look at social media promotion costs on Twitter, a daily trending topic will cost you anywhere between $100,000 to $200,000, a tweet or a re-tweet from an organic account would cost you anywhere $0.5 to $1.50 per tweet, and the entire attention-grabbing publicity blitzkrieg could amount of several millions in campaigning costs. The press releases are another huge expense, if you want your name splashed across the print media! It is amazing and surprising that Burger King was able to get this done for free and earn sympathy in the long run, since the public normally sympathizes when unethical hacking and intellectual thefts occur.
Burger King: Cashing In?
‘Welcome to our new followers – please stick around.’ – @BurgerKing
When Burger King secured their Twitter account after more than an hour of live feeds from the unsecure version, they acknowledged the thousand-odd new followers they gained and asked them to stick around – completely tongue in cheek!
This puts us in a quandary – when it comes to social media for restaurants, whether Burger King gained or lost any business is another story, they were able to stay in the news and add a 1000+ loyal followers without spending a penny! These followers will now always have a Burger King reminder on their Twitter. That is what we call effective social marketing, ethical or not! We certainly have to thank Burger King for teaching us how to attract attention and make the most out of a potential disastrous incident.
Like the timely Oreo tweet that went viral during the Superbowl, this is just another example of witty social media experts being at the top of their game. These incidents prove that when social media is done right, it can be hugely rewarding with very little financial cost involved!