Blog: 0014

Twitter & the Art of the Clapback

Twitter finished out its last quarter in 2018 by losing 5 million active users – causing stock prices to tank, employees to leave for other companies and revenue projections to fall short of expectations; however, the company is making more money than ever before.

While yes, Facebook does have a significantly higher number of users, let’s not forgot, Twitter still remains one of the most active social media sites in the world.

In order to engage with someone, you have to be engaging and – more importantly, relevant – Twitter helps us identify who we should engage with. Because of its format, Twitter allows for real-time, fast paced conversations that can be leveraged to serve a variety of purposes to reach a diverse audience – in other words, it’s an engagement goldmine.

Not only does it attract a unique audience, it makes your desired audience easy to pinpoint since characteristics and interests are easy to discern through profiles, tweets, retweets, hashtags, etc. that Twitter users share.

Despite the apparent decline in users, it is crucial that brands have a presence on Twitter. Twitter’s targeting capabilities allow companies to post to an audience that is most likely to enjoy and engage with their content. In utilizing the platform’s retweet function, an audience can grow exponentially with each retweet and – if executed strategically – one retweet from a celebrity or influencer could increase the reach of a company’s content exponentially.

One of the most iconic Twitter brands within the past few years has been Wendy’s. Known for roasting its competitors on Twitter (Steak ‘n Shake, and more recently McDonald’s) Wendy’s social media snark is the best example of corporate social media capitalizing on pop culture, sassy language, and quick wit, to light up our newsfeeds and spark engagement. You might not be a fan of the chain, but you know the chains fearless humor and sarcasm – its distinct personality. Wendy’s found a way to cut through the noise online, adding more value to their brand awareness and taking the unofficial crown as the masters of Twitter.

Taking a page from Wendy’s’ playbook, last month Dunkin’ tweeted at McDonald’s following their announcement introducing Donut Sticks… which look a lot like the Donut Fries at Dunkin’.

Fast food companies are not the only ones making names for themselves on Twitter. Some active users include Netflix,, Denny’s and many more. Active brands on Twitter who employ a more personable, conversational tone with their following enhance their customers connection to the brand – and it shows. Twitter users are 31% more likely to remember what they see on Twitter as opposed to general online browsing and 54% of users reported that they have taken action after seeing a brand mentioned in Tweets. An engaging, and approachable online brand presence is the humanizing component that allows customers to see these massive corporations as more than just the goods and services they provide or, in some cases international enigmas, and allows us to engage with them as real people.

The immediacy that Twitter provides is a huge benefit to users and producers. With 280 characters per tweet to share, businesses can send out snippets of the most relevant and up-to-date information; all the while increasing brand awareness, response time, and customer satisfaction. It also provides companies the opportunity to troll their competitors after they announce their switch from pancakes to burgers– an interaction that had users eagerly refreshing their Twitter feeds. .

There has been a meteoric rise in the number of major brands throwing jabs at their competitors as an engagement tactic on social media. Where passive aggressive attacks might have captivated audiences in the past, the saturation of companies trolling one another online has become normalized and raised the bar of what is deemed acceptable. Marketing guru Neil Patel has elaborated on this: “The factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition.”

It seems as though we may be entering a new and uncharted territory of marketing where we see more companies choose to slam another brand rather than explain why their product or service is the better option. Today we’re seeing more and more companies take the leap, miscalculating conversational and lighthearted banter to land somewhere between overtly vilifying their competitors and a lawsuit.

Naturally, there comes a point when a company can go too far; ironically enough, we saw this battle take place between two powerhouse companies on the biggest night of the year for advertising; the Super bowl. A legal feud has ‘brewed’ between beer companies MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch following a Bud Light commercial during the Super Bowl. In the ad, Bud Light king receives a shipment of corn syrup and returns it to the correct recipients, Coors Light and Miller Lite, making sure to state that the two use corn syrup while Bud Light does not.

MillerCoors, producer of both of the targeted beers, has sued Anheuser-Busch for purposely misleading customers to believe that the beers contain corn syrup when they do not. Is this just another case of Apple V. Android or DC v. Marvel?

With 330 million monthly active users, trends are created and spread at the same rate fans being won and loss. Granted, companies like Wendy’s didn’t find overnight success; however, with the proper research, strategic planning, avoiding legal battles (@Bud Light) and tactical execution, Twitter can foster the creation of a whole new brand. Once the techniques and strategies are in place, the opportunities for *viral content* are endless!

New to twitter? See how to get started creating your brand on Twitter.

By: Olivia Kane, Intern