3 Issues with Chipotle’s Twitter “Hack”

chipotle twitter lessons

Chipotle’s been making headlines in the social space for the last week or so. First, when their Twitter account was “hacked,” and then again when they stepped forward and admitted that it had only been a publicity stunt. Although the stunt has created a lot of buzz around the brand and the brand itself considers the stunt a success, it has left us with some doubts. Before you go launching a similar social “hack” for your brand, let’s take a look at three big issues this stunt brought to our attention.

Alienating the current follower base.

There are a number of reasons why followers might unfollow a brand’s social accounts. Most of the time, though, it’s due to the content itself. If it’s offensive, useless or difficult to understand, users will be tempted to unfollow. Although Chipotle gained followers during this period, it would be interesting to know the stats behind how many followers they lost, particularly after the news broke that the “hack” was staged. Running an odd experiment that involves indecipherable, useless content like Chiptole’s runs the risk of losing loyal followers and…

Acquiring meaningless new followers.

Chipotle boasted that their incoherent string of tweets resulted in a 4,000 follower increase the day of the hack and thousands of retweets. Yeah, those are impressive stats, but they’re less impressive when the follows come from users who aren’t customers, pay no attention to brand activity, and aren’t likely to be converted to paying customers. The people who got on board for the tweet fiasco probably don’t care and aren’t interested in normal tweets from the brand or Chipotle in general. Not unlike the Amy’s Baking Company situation, people were following because of the bizarre content, not out of support for the brand behind it.

Just ‘getting by’ in terms of social content.

The Chipotle team has been pushing its 20th anniversary Adventurrito treasure hunt…and nothing else (save for the “hack” tweets). This lack of interesting, varied content gives followers the impression that they haven’t created a social strategy and haven’t put additional time or thought into creating or curating interesting content. Although they’re diligent about replying to mentions, the main content they’re sharing doesn’t give the impression that they’re concerned about creating an ongoing conversation with followers. If they had acquired the new followers and then worked to keep them entertained with strange, funny, brand-related content, that would be one thing. So far, though, they’re not. If you haven’t got great content to keep followers engaged, the promotion will be pointless.

What do you think? Do you admire Chipotle’s stunt? Or do you think that it won’t benefit them in the long run? Share your thoughts with us.