When was the last time your food tweeted you? In the case of many well-known food brands, an embarrassingly long time ago, as Chris Brogan found out in a post today. He researched food-related Twitter accounts and commented on those that were more suitable for the dumpster along with those that belong squarely front and center on the dinner table. Let's take a closer look at his analysis and also talk about some takeaways for you to, ahem, beef up your own Twitter customer service and make your social media engagement tastier.

  • First, watch that expiration date. There are many Twitter accounts that have been started, even verified as legit by their corporate owners, and then seemingly abandoned. @SwansonChicken and @Entenmanns have both been MIA since July. @NestleTollHouse and @Necco_Wafers both haven't been baking anything since February. If you aren't going to be constantly cooking up your social media, delete the accounts.

  • Empty calories. Some accounts had nothing to say, no engaging content, and borderline annoying. These include @MrsButterworths and @Ragu. Why is a fake maple syrup product tweeting about football? As Brogan says, "your plan isn't so sticky." Put some nutrition in them thar tweets, puh-leeze!

  • Nothing on the menu. "The nice folks at Hormel mistook Twitter for their press release media page," he says. Put something else out besides the usual corporate drivel and make it more personal. This is about your audience and your customers, not your earnings projections. (Hormel has since deleted all of its tweets.)

So what makes for a better eating while tweeting experience? Brogan has some tips and examples of accounts that are worth following. And he must have tapped a nerve; there were plenty of comments on his post, too.

  • Comfort foods. Part of developing a great Twitter presence is having a personality behind it, so that your followers can live your brand and enjoy hearing from you. So take a look at EndustFree and you will actually look forward to dusting your house. Or something.

  • Set out an attractive table. Are you getting tired of the food metaphors yet? Ok, I will stop. But not before we look at @Butterball, which is certainly one of the top customer service champions of all time (try calling them during Thanksgiving time and see how poised those operators are). They do right by Twitter too, and Brogan could hear their voice behind the tweets and found all of it quite appealing.

  • Show you really care about your customers. He says, "Little Debbie [snack cake brand] seems to have one of the most human accounts in the grocery store is not saying it proud enough and loud enough. Little Debbie really tweets like a person and someone who cares."


Outside of the food business, our own reader Edwin Khodabakchian in a comment about a story yesterday mentions the Facebook Porsche page as exemplary. And take a look at this description of what Best Buy is doing with its Twelpforce account to show how even companies with poor in-store customer experience can leverage the Twitterverse to present a completely different side of themselves.

Another exemplary place to look is with EcoMom.com's engagement. When you are shopping for a product, they bring up this sidebar where you can ask a question about the product which gets sent out via Twitter and then a response back. Very effective in community building and a sign of things to come.

Clearly, we all still have a lot to learn on how to be more effective with social media. I, for one, need to follow more of the above advice on my own Twitter and Facebook pages.