Do you remember Wendy’s having an online digital presence five years ago?
Yeah, me neither. It was virtually (see what I did there?) non-existent until 2011 when Brandon Rhoten joined as vice president of digital and social media. Under his guidance, Wendy’s partnered with agencies and entered the digital world on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Fast food hasn’t done so well in its marketing efforts, particularly as Americans are becoming more health conscious.
With the rise of social media, visual content is so important. Unlike fine dining where the food is carefully plated to be aesthetically beautiful and pleasing to photograph, fast food is a different realm. It’s easy to see why we take and share photos when dining in high-class establishments. When we think of fast-food, we may think of quickly put together, greasy but nonetheless tasty food. Photogenic and fast food are seldom used in the same sentence.
Wendy’s has been more successful than other fast food establishments online because they know how to leverage content on the various online content platforms.
They respect the medium
Wendy’s is interacting with their consumers on every platform that they use. More importantly, they’re interacting in the right way on the right platform. Native advertising is an important part of the brand’s social media strategy. Every medium has its own set of rules and Wendy’s has got it down in doing exactly what they need to in the specific medium.
They use Twitter for timely themed tweets and quick responses catching on to trending hashtags like #NationalFastFoodDay or holidays like Halloween.
Instagram is for beautifully curated photos. Their color scheme is bright, warm and clean-- not exactly what we would expect from a fast food joint. They pay careful attention in creating artistic photos both in the restaurant and outside that highlight Wendy’s menu items. They even have a Tumblr account where they post relevant gifs and internet memes.
Speak the audience’s language
If you read Wendy’s posts, it’s almost as if you’re talking to a friend.
Wendy’s understands and uses the lingo that their target customers use. CEO Emil Brolick stated that Wendy’s is “mindful of the importance of gaining traction with Millennials” and therefore has been putting more digital marketing efforts into appealing to the Millennial generation. They crafted their online voice to be approachable, fun and slightly sassy. It’s inviting and non-threatening, turning customers into friends.
Even when approaching negative feedback, Wendy’s handles it swiftly and with gusto.
Keep up the conversation
The beauty of social media platforms is that it allows actions online to become more interactive. Followers are not just passive receivers of online content and can respond to the content creating a conversation. Wendy’s uses their visual content to engage their followers and ask them brand-relevant questions. On Facebook, Wendy’s asked their fans “If you could only get one topping on your cheeseburger for the rest of your life, what would it be?” and created a pie-chart out of the actual toppings to show the results.
This was relatively low effort on Wendy’s part but performed well with high social engagement and shares.
Quality is their recipe
The brand currently has 815,000 Twitter followers, more than 7.7 million Facebook likes, 139,000 Instagram followers and growing.
What’s their secret sauce? Wendy’s is not only super engaged on social media but creates quality content for these outlets. The secret to keeping the quality of their social content is they let their customers lead the conversation and determine what they should do next.