It's been a bad few days at McDonald's, what with the stock drop, disappointing results for the $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu, and that frightful video of calling the police on a homeless man who had come in when someone bought him a meal. So, when news broke yesterday of the McDonald's plan to make two of its burgers from fresh beef, the company probably wanted a day without calamity.

So much for dreams. Wendy's social media team immediate saw an opportunity to troll its large rival and took it with a vengeance. Here's what rolled out late afternoon yesterday:

Oh, cold. So to speak.

Now, many can summon snark on occasion, and it's not always wise in business competition. The NationalFrozenFoodDay comment was ... fine, but not brilliant in and of itself. Where Wendy's shined was on the resulting thread, periodically responding to comments and furthering the theme.

And, in a way, one of the most important interactions on the thread came further down. Someone claimed to have eaten at a McDonald's that day. Here is the Wendy's response and the reply from the poster:

Wendy's has a formidable social media reputation -- up there with KFC. Wit and speed are important. But it's in the further interaction that Wendy's really shines. A quip isn't enough to sustain social media engagement, although it can go a long way.

People respond to posts in large part because they crave recognition. Everyone loves the feeling of having their existence validated -- of showing enough value and importance to receive a response.

An answer to every single comment is too much, particularly if the responses are generic in nature. Instead, respond to a good sampling and take part in kind. Recognition of the consumer's observation shows appreciation and also gives others hope for receiving their own answer, or having a big name pass on the message to their followers.

This is part of the design of social media and why it is so addictive. People want to see their comments liked, to see them pointed to, and to have others answer. It's an existential stoking of ego.

If you're honest with yourself, you'll see the dynamic first hand. Or watch those you know, even if they appear professional, polished, and well positioned. The same thing will happen.

Being clever is fine. Giving people a little love and letting them know that they count is the real brilliance.

Published on: Mar 7, 2018