Having written about every major wireless carrier over the last 4+ years, I’ve come to realize one thing: Just about everyone hates their current wireless provider and is constantly talking about switching. So it makes sense that these competitors would scour the competition’s social media feeds and try to lure away disgruntled customers. Yet only Verizon, by far the largest carrier in the U.S., seems to be making a go of it.
On Friday, Buzzfeed noticed that someone at the @VerizonSupport Twitter account goofed in a since-deleted Tweet about stealing away YouTube celeb James Yammouni from T-Mobile, referring to him a “High influencer” and calling out his “1.13M followers” in a message that was presumably not intended for public viewing.
This led some to wonder if Verizon was aiming to snipe Twitter users with sizable followings, hoping they would be happy with their new service and pass it on to others.
Then Forbes’ Kashmir Hill noticed that it wasn’t just people with 7-digit Twitter followers that were getting Tweets from VZW in response to Twitter complaints to their current providers.
“The Twitter accounts for Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile only respond to their own unhappy customers,” writes Hill, “but Verizon’s regularly hits up people tweeting about bad service elsewhere. And it doesn’t seem to matter how many followers they have.”
We wanted to test this hypothesis for ourselves.
Since I am neither a Verizon customer nor a much-followed Twitterer, I composed this mild, but accurate, Tweet to @ATT to see what would happen:
AT&T responded within half an hour, and even though my Twitter follower count has yet to crack 200 (only 999,832 followers until I do my often-promised emotionally naked cam show!), VZW tried its social media siren song on me about 30 minutes after that.
If only this worked for other businesses… Tweet McDonald’s about a crappy Big Mac and Wendy’s sends you a Baconator coupon; Tweet United about a hellish flight and JetBlue offers to transfer you over to its frequent flier program; Tweet Sears and then realize it’s no longer 1986.