Money & Business

Wednesday Buzz: Silence as a Marketing Strategy

By / Oct 29, 2014 (iStock Editorial/Thinkstock)

How Taco Bell won the attention of many an online surfer by turning off its website and social feeds. Also: Make it easy—but not too easy—to comment in your online community.

It may be the boldest approach to social media, and media in general, in a long time.

On Tuesday Taco Bell announced its new mobile app, becoming the first major traditional fast-food chain to support online ordering. (Fast-casual chains such as Chipotle and Chop’t long beat the likes of McDonald’s and Burger King to the punch.)

For a certain audience who grew up with chalupas and chili-cheese burritos, the value proposition speaks for itself—but just in case it didn’t, Taco Bell had an impressive trick up its sleeve to persuade people to download the app: It shut off its website and every one of its social media platforms.

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It’s clever. It’s probably a stunt, though; Taco Bell’s Senior Director of Digital Marketing and Platforms Tressie Lieberman suggests that the company “won’t be able to stay away for too long.” Nonetheless, it raises an interesting question: When it comes to marketing a product, when does it pay to be quiet or focus your efforts on a single channel?

Lower the Friction

If commenting is too hard, people won’t want to do it.

That’s one of the arguments RealMatch’s Carole Oldroyd makes on the company’s Recruitment Advisor blog. Authentication is important, but if it’s too confusing, it’s going to discourage people from sharing their thoughts.

“Once a user is logged in, asking for CAPTCHA and other verifications before every comment that a user makes is unnecessarily frustrating, and could deter, not encourage, communication,” she explains.

But even so, she emphasizes that someone needs to play the role of watchdog: “Some sort of a gatekeeper is necessary to keep out the riffraff, which on a blog, takes the form of spam and automated comments.”

Check out some of Oldroyd’s other points here. (ht @Lowellmatthew)

Other Links of Note

Hewlett-Packard’s visionary desktop computer doesn’t have a keyboard at all. Take a look at Sprout, the company’s newest offering.

FYI, bookworms: Check out how the International Reading Association handles its social media strategy over at SocialFish.

Good news for AT&T customers on unlimited data plans: The Federal Trade Commission has heard your pain about the wireless giant’s data throttling policies, which reduced some customers’ data speeds by almost 90 percent, and is suing the company.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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