Last week, Chipotle became the latest big brand to have their Twitter account hacked — or so everyone thought! Chipotle’s Twitter handle, @ChipotleTweets, tweeted a handful of posts within an hour, all of which seemed incredibly random. Since then, Chipotle admitted that they did in fact fake an account hacking to tie with their 20th anniversary marketing campaign.
Although Chipotle successfully received over 4,000 followers after the apparent “hacking” (compared to their typical 250 followers a day) and about 12,000 retweets (versus 75 RTs a day), there are many social skeptics who don’t necessarily agree with this marketing ‘tactic,’ including us.
We get the original thought behind the faked hacking. Yes, it gets new eyes on the brand. Yes, it keeps Chipotle at the top of mind for many Twitter users. Having said this, many of these new followers only found interest in Chipotle because of the hack — not necessarily because they are true fans of the brand. This means that the actual quality of the fan following may not be ideal, as many will not be necessarily interested in the content that Chipotle has to say in the future. Unless the 4,000 followers continue to increase Chipotle’s conversations and fan engagement for the long term, we don’t see the overall benefit.
Lastly, there’s something to say about faking your own Twitter takeover. When Burger King and Jeep had their Twitter accounts hacked, their stories caught fire because it was organic, had never been done before and showed how vulnerable brand social media accounts can be. Unfortunately with previous fake hackings, like MTV, BET and now Chipotle, these cries for attention feel forced and inauthentic.
Our advice? As a large brand within the social space, take the time to find a way to gain attention that feels genuine to your fans. Spend your resources to take the road less traveled in order to gain followers who will engage and be with you until the end.
What do you think of the latest faked ‘hack?’
Here are the original tweets:
— Samantha & Mike