Sunday, February 1, 2015

Corporate Social Media Done Right (@totinos)

Every company has a social media pressence these days, and they desperately want you to follow them on Twitter and Facebook. If you are like me you wonder, "why would I want to do this?" It is a fair question. I get enough advertising flooding my senses to not invite more. There are companies that do it well. Pabst Blue Ribbon, for example, does a nice job of interacting with their customers. Webster Bank took one of my angry tweets and turned it in to solving my problem. They are making their social media presence worthwhile. Then, last night, a thing of beauty caught fire on Twitter. The Totino's Super Bowl Tweets.

Done improperly, what would you expect from the Totino's account? "Hey, what's your favorite type of pizza roll?" or "It's Saturday night, you should watch a movie and get a few Party Pizzas!" I don't need to see this on my timeline. I will either want Totino's, or I won't. Those type tweets are uninspired. Instead, here is what the Totino's account did.

Around 6pm Eastern Time, Totino's began posting tweets about how much fun the Super Bowl is. On Saturday. For those of you who do not care (and I am with you) the Super Bowl is on Sunday, always. No teams were mentioned, and the tweets refered to fictitious activity in a game that would be played 24 hours later.

I only knew about this (as I did not follow @totinos) because there was a flood of people tweeting about how Totino's had screwed up. Popular theory was that they had created fake tweets for the Super Bowl, scheduled them to go out during the game, and got the date wrong. People were having a ball laughing at Totino's for this blunder. I saw tweets from people claiming to be marketing and branding experts who found the tweets laughable.

We are all so very smart, aren't we?

Here is the thing though. @totinos has just less than ten-thousand followers. Not a bad number, but hardly stellar. Totino's was gently trolling us. They made about 21 tweets about the ficticious game, most of which were retweeted at least five times, and some as much as 20. Not to mention the numerous times I saw people tweeting or retweeting about how @totinos had dropped the ball (sports term) in mischeduling their tweets. They were getting a lot of replies as well, so people were clearly seeing them. The first "look at how stupid they are" tweet I saw, as of this post, had 202 retweets and 176 favorites on Twitter. What does that mean? Well, @totinos turned their near-ten-tousand Twitter followers into potentially a million views of either their feed or their brand. Also, these did appear to be live or at least supervised tweets, as one of General Mills' (Totino's parent company) marketing people acknowledged a tweet I made in their defense.

If you ask me, it was a real coup. I am not a Totino's hater. I enjoy a cheese Party Pizza from time to time, but have never (if memory serves) had a Pizza Roll. I, along with a handful of others, was in on the joke. Guess what, though? I am going to buy some Pizza Rolls next time I hit the grocery. It was such an effective ploy that even though I saw it for what it was, it still worked on me. That, my friends, is masterful.

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