If you’re an active participant on Twitter, then chances are you were aware of the shenanigans that took place this week on the social media network. Both Burger King and Jeep found themselves trending on Twitter–a great accomplishment for any brand–only, they were trending for an unfortunate reason.
Burger King and Jeep were victims this week to a hacker. The hacker changed Burger King’s Twitter profile to resemble McDonald’s and tweeted they were sold to the rival fast food chain. Similarly, Jeep’s account was switched to resemble Cadillac’s. The hacker then posted photos of drug use and profanity-ladened tweets that, for most, were nonsensical.
It’s a social media manager’s nightmare to be hacked. Unlike you, networks like Twitter and Facebook never go to sleep, making it difficult to maintain a healthy brand monitoring process. This hacker struck during normal working hours, so both accounts were disabled rather quickly.
Getting hacked can make you the butt of a joke–something no brand wants. It can garner a lot of negative attention–but, is there really such a thing as “negative” attention? The adage goes, “there’s no such thing as bad press,” and that kind of rang true in this case. For example, pre-hack, Burger King’s Twitter was a little over 80,000 followers. Post-hack, Burger King’s follower count was 112,000-plus. Despite the hack happening early in the week, Burger King is still sitting above that mark. If Burger King can retain a majority of those follows, they could come out of of the hacking scandal looking fairly well.
Now, I don’t think getting hacked is the way to go to promote brand awareness, but it is notable how it led to Burger King not only trending, but finding a 30,000-plus follower jump. This is something MTV’s and BET’s social teams realized, and they staged fake hacks. Low and behold, they too found themselves trending. After the cat got out of the bag that it was all a hoax, there was a bit of a backlash as some Twitter users expressed disapproval and described that the stunt was lame. Despite that backlash, you still can’t help but consider the hoax a success since it raised brand awareness.
One thing I think the hacking scandals further prove is that Twitter is a place where people want fresh, creative content. While you don’t want to reach this goal by being hacked, you do want to please the crowds. Rolling off a couple tweets a day about sales, contest info, or product information isn’t going to leave a Twitter imprint and significantly help your Twitter follower count rise. Don’t be afraid to let loose a bit. You may not want the profanity the hacker brought out on those accounts, but you do want the unpredictability. It’s always Happy Hour on Twitter, so have some fun.
A great example of a brand doing Twitter right is Denny’s. Yes, Denny’s. On Twitter, they engage in debates like waffles vs. pancakes, talk about their love of bacon, provide photoshop pictures, and much more. They’re not just creative, they’re active. Below, you can find one of my favorite Denny’s tweets.
#ProTip: If you do the Harlem Shake at a Denny's restaurant, you will get kicked out. Consider it a public service.
— Denny's (@DennysDiner) February 20, 2013