Following 11 Twitter Users Total Gives KFC a Viral Marketing Opportunity

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Kentucky Fried Chicken has won the internet this week as people started to notice that the KFC Twitter account followed just 11 people – the five Spice Girls and six guys named Herb – in a subtle nod to their secret recipe.  The social media team at KFC changed their followings over a month ago and waited to see what would happen.  A twitter user, @Edgette22, was the first to tweet about the change after noticing it on October 19:


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That’s right, the tweet received over 700,000 likes and 300,000 retweets in less than a week.    On Sunday, September 17, 2017, the @KFC account stopped following over 35,000 profiles.  KFC gained over 30,000 followers during the week following October 19.  While this 2.5% increase in followers may seem small, consider for a moment that KFC had only gained just under 10,000 followers during the two months prior.  


Stratifyd crawled over 20,000 tweets with mentions to the @KFC account between October 9 and October 27, 2017.  User tweets mentioning KFC total 16,172 after the discovery was made on October 19, compared to a mere 3,444 tweets from the prior week.  Sentiment improved from -0.14  to +1.00 on a scale of -4 to +4.  Top N-grams include mentions such as “best social media use ever” and “KFC wins the internet”.  News articles have declared KFC’s stunt “internet gold”.   



Such a small change in social media strategy may generate additional profit for KFC down the road.  Let’s assume just one percent of the $3.23 billion in revenue KFC generated in 2016 could be attributed to Twitter followers.  That would mean each follower spends roughly $27 at KFC annually, and KFC stands to gain nearly $1,000,000 in potential revenue just from changing who they follow on Twitter.  If KFC’s social media marketing team can continue with the quippy, humorous tactics, then Twitter at large is right: these guys deserve praise and a raise!

Ashley Pate