Social listening must be a key component of the Twitter playbook for brands, according to a study released by the digital platform at the 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

“The Participation Playbook”, produced by Twitter and marketing intelligence firm Contagious, was based on analysis of 1,856 entries – each meeting the criteria of being “Twitter-centric” – made to the Cannes Lions between 2014 and 2018.

And social listening was found to be an essential component of successful Twitter strategies. This discipline, it continued, should draw on consistent rigour and commitment, and not simply represent an ad hoc exercise for brands. (For more, read WARC’s report: Six Twitter marketing tips from the best Cannes Lions case studies.)

One case in point involves competition between Burger King and Wendy’s over spicy chicken nuggets, with Twitter serving as a central battleground.

When Wendy’s withdrew this product from its menus in 2017, Burger King identified a brewing furore on Twitter, and used this as the basis for launching its own variant of the product.

Moreover, Burger King even incorporated the tweets of disgruntled Wendy’s customers into promoted posts on the social network as a tongue-in-cheek way to highlight the unveiling of its own spicy nuggets.

“This not only got Burger King shortlisted for four awards at Cannes last year,” Alex Josephson head/global brand strategy at Twitter, explained during a keynote session at the 2019 Cannes Lions, “it enabled them to sell out of three months’ worth of chicken-nugget inventory in a mere four weeks. And this is the type of opportunity that marketers everywhere need to be awake to.”

Earlier this year, Wendy’s social team responded to a tweet from Chance the Rapper, the music star, that outlined his desire for the brand’s spicy chicken nuggets to make a return.

And the quick-service chain set out a challenge: if the tweet from the rap star received two million “likes” on Twitter, it would bring the product back into its branches.

The target was reached in less than 48 hours, generating considerable buzz and interest for Wendy’s, as well as anticipation for its resurrected nuggets.

“Anywhere that people go to talk, brands should also go to listen – not casually, but with intent,” said Katrina Stirton Dodd, head/trends at Contagious.

“For a lot of brands, this is not really a core skill,” she observed. “So, if you really want to know what people think – away from focus groups, group think or implicit bias – then take out your damn Airpods and listen in to what’s going on.”

Sourced from WARC