#FAILFriday: Quality vs. Quantity

jcpenny twitter

By: Austin Jensen

In this day and age, it seems like every organization is already on social media or needs to be in order to compete.  It is becoming more and more of a true statement that if your competition has a Twitter or Facebook account and you do not, then you are losing the battle. Most organizations have realized that in order to compete they need to be connected, but do some organizations take the thrill of competition too far?

Yes they do, and that is what I am going to show you today.  There are some companies that are so hungry for Facebook fans (or Twitter followers, etc.) that they are willing to do anything to have better numbers than their competition.  Now, you will probably catch me mentioning this a few times this week: the secret to any social media marketing effort is not quantity but quality. It is not always about the number of fans; instead it is about posting or tweeting quality information that gains interaction.  The greater your interaction, the more people are seeing your posts.  Quality posts can grow your fan base by themselves if done correctly.

There are two companies in particular that I would like to look at today.  One is JCPenney and their Super Bowl 2014 fiasco.  The next company is Chipotle, the famous burrito spot.  During the Super Bowl this year, JCPenney was tweeting just like many other organizations in order to stay “top-of-mind” to the millions who were on Twitter that night.  They sent several tweets that looked as though they were sent from someone who has had a few to many adult beverages.  Here are some examples:


JCPenney attempted to cover up this chaos, after receiving a lot of negative feedback, by sending out this tweet:

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 9.44.32 AM

I want to give a piece of advice to JCPenney: next time they want to make a social media impact remember that it is quality rather than quantity.  Companies like JCPenney and Chipotle should have no problem gaining a following on their various social media channels.  Keep it simple and produce quality content that your audience actually wants to see.

Let’s look at Chipotle’s Twitter fail.  Many people say that Chipotle was looking to grow it’s Twitter following when it attempted to make it look like they had been hacked.  You could argue that it worked, as Chipotle saw an increase of 4,000 new Twitter followers on the day they were “hacked.”  This is what some of the tweets looked like:


Yes, this brought in more followers for Chipotle, but were there better ways to go about gaining a following?  They are now mentioned in countless blogs that questioned their company morals. If your organization plans on intentionally hacking your Twitter account to gain followers, then you better have an amazing negative feedback response plan ready to go. Many more people saw this in a negative light.  People do not like to be tricked by companies that they trust.  Chris Arnold, a representative for Chipotle, said they they will never try to pull a stunt like this again.

These are two prime examples of companies that took the quantity approach rather than the quality approach.  The idea behind both was simple: cause a stir in the social media universe that will get people to notice you.  By doing this they hoped that people would buy in to what they were doing and follow them so that they could see the rest of the conversation.  I am not saying that this is not a method for growing your following, I am saying that both companies could have achieved similar results by posting something that added value for their audience.  I do not want to be tricked into following a company through social media.  I would much rather follow a company that gives me a good reason to follow them whether that be through interactive posts, or quality content.

Do you think that these companies used good strategies to gain followers?  They gained followers, but is this a sustainable strategy for either of these companies? As always, let me hear your thoughts below!


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