The debate: was Burger King right to change its social media footprint?

11 Apr 2014|Added Value

Burger King in Norway chose to get rid of fickle social media fans on their Facebook page by launching the ‘Whopper Sell Out’. On a mission to ‘cut the fat’ and separate the real fans from the fake, the fast food chain gave all of its Facebook followers a choice. Either, LIKE the new Burger King Facebook page or choose to get a free McDonald’s Big Mac and be banned ‘for eternity’ from Burger King’s Facebook. A risky and bold decision which resulted in Burger King losing more than three quarters of its followers. 20,000 fans opted for the Big Mac offer which then left Burger King with only 8,000 diehard fans to prove their brand loyalty. So was this a social media disaster or the makings of a clever social strategy?

We put it to the debate…

NO

the LIKE button is the easiest and quickest way to show appreciation of a brand’s page…

AGENDA. DEBATE. Natalie. IMAGEFacebook’s greatest asset to marketers has always been its audience — more than one billion active users, a figure that definitely carries some weight. The LIKE button is the easiest and quickest way to show appreciation of a brand’s page, whilst allowing content to stream into news feeds. It’s a virtual commendation, a brand owners dream. Deleting this, or turning their back on fans they determine as fake, isn’t going to help with brand loyalty, but the reverse when you consider the impact that negative word of mouth could have on a fall in profits. Not everyone will interact with your brand’s page, but the ‘liker’ or follower knows you’re there. Perhaps they will never virally interact more than this, but they are more likely to come into and buy from your store because of what they are seeing on social media. A page that’s LIKED or followed by the thousands surely encourages more followers and LIKES; it’s like a social proof of reputation. Whilst I don’t agree with purchased LIKES, it’s what brands do with the authentic LIKES and followers that will increase engagement, knowing how to keep them involved while pushing and directing sales. Deleting and banishing them forever is not the answer.

Natalie Graham, Added Value UK

YES

they’ve acted with integrity and now have a stronger and more loyal base…

AGENDA. DEBATE. Lauren. IMAGESurely it’s better to have quality not quantity. Very few people are true fans and finding those who are, amongst the mass, is like finding the needle in the proverbial haystack. So many brands focus on acquisition at any cost, incentivising through coupons & prizes that they end up with thousands of promotional junkies rather than real advocates and adorers. Fan numbers and LIKES are usually a metric that brands measure & track, volume gives you scale and scale gives you credibility – in some people’s eyes. But for me, dwell time and number of pages / tabs viewed, are better measures of a brand’s impact and can indicate whether or not your content is useful and engaging. So yes Burger King was right to get rid of their promiscuous followers even if that left them with a much diminished pool. They’ve acted with integrity and now have a stronger and more loyal base of real followers to build from and reward (at a reduced cost than communicating to all).

Lauren Brewer, Added Value UK

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