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Arby’s Shows Us What To Do & Not To Do on Twitter
By: Aaron Whitaker
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If you check out the Twitter feed for Arby’s at @arbys, you’ll most likely see a good example of how to use Twitter as a company. Most of Arby’s tweets are replies to customers who are eating there and tweet about it. I’ve always felt this was a great way for many businesses to utilize Twitter by replying and conversing with their customers. But if you do a Google search for "Arby's" and "Twitter," you’ll probably soon discover the mistakes that Arby’s has made on Twitter.
A little over a month ago, one of the big news stories was how Rush Limbaugh used some distasteful words to describe a young law student who went before Congress to testify on how expensive birth control pills are. As a result, many people complained to the advertisers to pull their ads from his show. Many of them did immediately following the incident, but Arby’s didn’t pull their advertising until a little over a week ago, over a month later. This isn’t big news considering how many other bigger advertisers pulled their advertising, but it’s how Arby’s dealt with it on Twitter that raised a lot of commotion. Once Arby’s announced on Twitter that they had stopped advertising on Rush’s show, many conservatives replied to Arby’s with some negative tweets, which is expected. But rather than ignoring the tweets or explaining their position further, they blocked the Twitter profiles of the people who had disagreed with them and tweeted negative comments.
Arby’s reaction reminded me of my childhood. When I was young, I would always make faces and pick on my younger sisters and they would get upset. My parents would tell them to ignore me and I would stop. But instead of ignoring me, they continued to get upset and whine to my parents to get me to stop. If they had just ignored me and didn’t react, I would have probably stopped making faces and picking on them. I think the same would have happened if Arby’s ignored or didn’t get so upset at these people sending tweets about them pulling their advertising from Rush’s show. But the fact that they got upset and blocked these people on Twitter just made the people talk even more and become more outraged at Arby’s. It’s been ten days since this whole event began, and I do think that it has become old news and it shouldn’t have too much of an impact on Arby’s sales. But I’m sure it did cause some drop in sales that could have easily been prevented if they hadn’t blocked some of their customers on Twitter.
So if you want to see the right way to use Twitter as a business, then read some of Arby’s tweets. And if you want to see the wrong way to use Twitter as a business, then read the news stories and blogs about Arby’s and Rush. Arby’s isn’t the first business that has made mistakes on Twitter and it probably won’t be the last. Social media is still a new marketing channel for businesses and mistakes will be made, but hopefully we can eventually learn from all of them and run a smarter social media plan in the future.

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About the Author
Aaron Whitaker is a copywriter, blogger, and social media aficionado who likes watching the TV commercials more than the actual shows. He prefers reading the magazine ads over the articles. And you can learn more about him online right here.
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