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Taco Bell Goes Dark on Social Media to Promote New Mobile Ordering App

Nobody does social media management quite like Taco Bell. The restaurant has made headlines by engaging in humorous twitter conversations with celebrities and engaging with ordinary fans on Tumblr. But their most recent stunt is one for the record books.

Almost every content development service and website marketing agency will tell you that content is key. About 92% of marketers consider content creation “very” or “somewhat” effective for search engine optimization, which is becoming increasingly important since over 70% of users shop for new products on the web.

Taco Bell threw that to the wind this week by going dark on every social media outlet. Tweets vanished from the official Twitter page, and the cover and profile pictures were both blank. The only hint of a reason was the hashtag #OnlyInTheApp in the bio box. The company Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr pages went dark as well.

Offline, several press outlets received invitations for a major announcement from the company. After a few hours of suspense, Taco Bell revealed that a new mobile app called FourthMeal will allow customers to order food in advance and pick it up at a drive-thru or counter. The app will allow customers to request every item that’s on the regular menu, and even some that aren’t.

The stunt received national attention in no time flat, proving once again that the fast food giant can manage social networks with the best of them. When the announcement finally arrived, there was already an audience. If the announcement had come as one of Taco Bell’s 40,000 tweets, it’s likely it wouldn’t have gotten much attention at all.

Incidentally, those tweets were hiding at @totallynothere while another blank Twitter account took over, and it’s likely the other accounts are backed up too, so Taco Bell won’t have to design web pages to replace them, if it continues to design web pages at all. Many of the pages are emphasizing that the only place to find Taco Bell online is the app, but it’s unclear whether or not the restaurant will follow through with that.

This doesn’t change the fact that websites that design web pages with blogs and social media sharing get more indexed pages, but it does offer an incentive for marketers to be more experimental.