Taking risks keeps life interesting. If you never go and talk to the pretty girl / handsome guy at the bar, you might never meet the love of your life. Risk it. And no one knows better about the element of risk that the social media powerhouse and munchy-machine, Taco Bell.
The fast-food giant made a super bold move yesterday in an attempt to grab the attention of their hungry millennial clientele. Taco Bell flipped a switch, seemingly, and wiped out its entire social existence (for the most part). They built an impressive Twitter empire on their wit and uber-engagement. Now, all of it is gone. All 1.4 million Twitter followers and countless tweets, gone. All Facebook posts about daring taco inventions, snarktastic quips. Gone.
But why? Why on Earth would they do this? Why would they leave all of us that check their posts daily for a LOL in the dark (that’s a pun)? It’s a very strategic, risky, and bold move. But if Taco Bell didn’t make bold moves and keep us all guessing 24/7, we wouldn’t love the Mexican fast food chain the way we do.
See, Taco Bell, always on the cusp of bold flavors, new taco experiments, and advertising that gets noticed, has launched an iPhone and Android app to make ordering their food even more straightforward. “Easier how,” you’re asking?
The new app lets users customize their orders, pay with a credit card that is saved within the app, and then uses location services to get the closest Taco Bell to make the order. The customer then comes in, skips the line, and picks up the order. Easy peasy.
It doesn’t sound too different from other major fast food chains’ mobile apps, regarding customizing orders and skipping the line, but the method by which Taco Bell chose to promote the app is what set them apart.
What does this say for the power of social media?
Taco Bell has had article after article published about them regarding their social media presence. The company has been no stranger to being bold and daring both on their menu and social media outlets. The branding across the board is on point and has helped the fast-food chain achieve acclaim and envy from social media managers and professionals the world over. To one day black out the most potent tools the brand uses to attract customers and keep them engaged, not to mention garner the kind of press they have for it, was a stroke of pure genius. (Editor’s note: This is my opinion, individually, but come on. It’s brilliant. I can see the social team working with marketing and the higher-ups, and their agency, in a big boardroom with a whiteboard, maybe with one black dry erase marker. “I got an idea. Hear me out. Let’s pull the plug on our social profiles. We’ll replace all content with one Tweet, post, Tumblr, that says #onlyintheapp! We will not only get press for the fact we blacked out our accounts, but we’ll get double press for the new app.” It might not have gone down like that.)
This is the power of establishing a fantastic social media presence. When it’s gone, people will miss it and talk about it.
Taco Bell, man, they crazy. They were mad, man.