Whether you use social media for business or pleasure, chances are you wouldn’t mind increasing your following. After looking at a couple recent trends, I think I’ve found a #MajorKey to success in gaining a following and creating buzz…. and that’s being rude.
First I’ll explain how this works when it comes to business. When I think of dull-natured companies, Merriam-Webster definitely comes to mind. They sell dictionaries and other reference books.. BORING. But their Twitter game is on fire recently, and they use their products while doing it. Their social media manager, Lauren Naturale, uses words and definitions found in Merriam-Webster dictionaries to roast people who sound asinine (if you don’t know what this means, maybe you should invest in one of these dictionaries we speak of). They don’t shy away from politics either. Right after Trump became president, his team issued a statement saying his inauguration had the biggest crowd in history, but like anyone who has seen the side by side comparison of Trumps vs Obamas’ in 2009 (above), its clear to see this is not the case. After many people flooded Twitter with the side by side comparison, discrediting the statement, Trump’s Campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, issued another statement saying Trump’s team looked at “alternative facts” when it came to crowd size. Naturale capitalized on this tweet from Conway and responded with “A fact is a piece of information presented as having objective reality.” Using a definition found in their dictionary, she roasted Conway, getting the attention of the American people. With over 50,000 retweets, Merriam-Webster is encouraged to keep using sass to grow their Twitter following.
Even though Wendy’s stays away from politics, they are ruthless when it comes to firing back at their haters, even throwing other fast food chains under the bus in the process. Since creating a reputation for responding to people’s tweets in a rude, yet hilarious way, Wendy’s has only gotten more and more people to try and push their buttons. When one girl attempted to take a low blow at Wendy’s by asking for the nearest McDonald’s location, Wendy’s capitalized and just responded with a picture of a garbage can. When one heckeler tweeted “@Wendys, your food is trash,” the restaurant fired back, “No, your opinion is though.” Others simply tweet “@Wendys roast me” to see what Wendy’s can come up with, and they never disappoint. Not only has their Twitter following increased greatly since they started this new Twitter strategy, but they restaurant sales have also increased.
But some people’s businesses aren’t big enough to get hecklers and engagement on social media, and some people just want to grow their own personal Twitter account. Don’t worry, y’all can still play these Twitter games by following one simple rule; stay with the trends. The
best example I have seen ever happens to be fairly recent as well, and that is when the San Diego Chargers moved to Los Angeles. Along with finding a new home for the NFL franchise, they also released a new logo, which sucked. Dull and unoriginal, the logo was made fun of relentlessly by companies and sports teams across the nation. Because the logo looked like a combo of the LA Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Lightning’s logos, Tampa Bay capitalized on the opportunity to crack a joke. They tweeted “For the record, us & the @dodgers are just friends.” The Dodgers promptly responded, “@TBLightning you said you’d call.” While these two organizations joked about how the new logo looked like their logos’ offspring, other and smaller organizations had their turn poking fun at the logo as well. Making fun of the logo, sports teams and small businesses across the nation just added small lighting bolts to their logos. Staying hip with trends, people could contribute to running jokes like these from their personal Twitter accounts as well.
Some celebrities have huge Twitter followings not because of how many awards they’ve won or because they have appeared in the best movies, but because..well, they’re super rude. In my opinion, Chrissy Teigan’s most fame-worthy accomplishment so far is her marriage to singer John Legend, but she still has 3.96 million followers on Twitter. This is largely due to the fact that she tweets witty, rude responses to people multiple times a day. To those haters who get embarrassed and delete their Tweets, Teigen has screenshots readily available to call them out as being cowards. She even takes on controversial political topics, responding to Trump’s tweets and creating a stir. Along side Teigan is J.K Rowling, who has made her hate for Trump very public. Her fans who support Trump were having a hard time dealing with that, and have taken their anger out on Rowling in the form of tweets. Rowling has been far from timid, however, and responds to her haters with straight forward, no BS responses. These celebs have big Twitter followings not necessarily because of their work, but because of their ruthless, brutally honest tweets to those who taunt them.
Merriam-Webster, Wendy’s Chrissy Teigan, JK Rowling have all grown their Twitter following by a substantial amount by being upfront and sometimes outright rude. But why does it work? Forbes published a really good article explaining why it works, focusing on Wendy’s. First, it’s unexpected. No one wants to see boring, predictable commercials or advertisements, or even basic tweets from celebrities. The unexpected excited people. Second, its controversial. While you’re going to gain some haters in the process, you’re also going to get a lot of people on your side. And like they say, no publicity is bad publicity, right? The third is humor. Everyone likes to laugh, and it’s especially funny to laugh at the expense of internet trolls who seem to have nothing better to do than tweet mean things at celebrities. A fourth reason is works is consistency. If these organizations or celebrities were to roast someone one or two times, it might get some buzz but it wouldn’t necessarily grow their following. Their following has grown so much because they are consistently making fun of people, encouraging those to follow them so they don’t miss it. Last is escalation. At first, these tweets weren’t as ruthless because they had to test the waters and see how people reacted. However, as soon as these organizations and celebrities started seeing some success, .their responses got meaner and meaner to keep people interested.
Like my momma always said, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” But after explaining these recent trends to her, I think she might add “UNLESS you want to grow your Twitter following…. then say it for sure.”