Differentiation

Social Media can look like the Wild West at times. Every company is on it and they’re trying to get your attention, hold your attention and in the long run have you purchase a product. That’s also the fast food industry in a nut shell. So what happens when the two worlds meet? It can all start to get lost in the shuffle. It’s the struggle for two of the biggest company’s in the fast food industry Taco Bell & Wendy’s. They compete daily to not only get your money but your attention on social media.

Taco Bell shares a photo after their Cinco de Mayo promotion
Taco Bell shares a photo after their Cinco de Mayo promotion

Both Taco Bell & Wendy’s are engaging their fans on a number of different platforms. While they primarily are connecting with their fans on Facebook & Twitter, they also  maintain profiles on other platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and Vine. They share similar ideas when it comes to how they want to connect to their fans. Brandon Rhoten, VP of Digital & Social Media for Wendy’s says “We’re trying to be your friend and someone you want to pay attention to in this very noisy space.” Taco Bell is doing the same while engaging their fans. “The main difference in strategy now vs. before is that what we are doing today in social media is real-time, and we listen and engage all the time,” according to Taco Bell Head of Social Media Nick Tran.

Wendy's Facebook post
Wendy’s Facebook post

Another tactic that both Taco Bell & Wendy’s are using is partnering with celebrities that are influential in their core demo. Taco Bell for example partnered with YouTuber JoshuaDTV for a few projects including the launch of the Quesalupa as well as the “Breakfast Defectors” campaign. Wendy’s is doing their own campaign with YouTubers Rhett & Link for a new drink campaign that will launch May 19th.

JoshuaDTV opens a crate full of Taco Bell "Breakfast Defector" items
JoshuaDTV opens a crate full of Taco Bell “Breakfast Defector” items

While the strategies are similar, how Taco Bell & Wendy’s achieve results is different. Wendy’s for example has more engagement on Facebook while Taco Bell archives more Twitter mentions.

Facebook activity October 1-29, 2014
Facebook activity October 1-29, 2014. Source: Adweek.com
Twitter activity for October 1-29, 2014. Source: adweek.com
Twitter activity for October 1-29, 2014. Source: adweek.com

Both companies maintain Instagram profiles but Taco Bell is much more active with their in-house created content. Taco Bell also is more effective with their campaigns. According to a report In 2013, Taco Bell ranked as No. 1 on DigitalCoCo’s Restaurant Social Media Index, trumping key competitors such as Wendy’s, McDonalds and Starbucks. Taco Bell is also using using the Vine platform more in their latest Breakfast Defectors campaign. They’re currently one of the better fast food franchises using Vine.

It really all comes down to differentiating yourself from the pack. For Taco Bell the strategy is a 3 level attack says Nick Tran “You can break down the type of content we share into three categories: The first is anything Taco Bell creates internally. The other type of content we share is whatever we co-create. This is when we collaborate with influencers and give them the tools to create their own content. The last is content curation, which is basically us amplifying interesting content from our social community.” By using USG or User Generated Content Taco Bell is turning their customers into a community.

Taco Bell
Taco Bell “Promposal” instagram post

Wendy’s is trying to differentiate themselves simply by being different. Brandon Rhoten says, “Taking something built for another medium, like an ad or a TV spot, and putting it on a social network is blasphemy. It just doesn’t work. People don’t pay attention to it, and they’re not interested in it. If you turn this thing people use to entertain themselves and have conversations with their friends into a purely promotional vehicle, you’re kind of making a mockery of it.” This idea has helped them engage more fans on their Facebook and grow the brand to be competitive in the market.

Wendy's Twitter post
Wendy’s Twitter post

Taco Bell: Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, YouTube

Wendy’s:  Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, YouTube

Take a look at their profiles and let me know what stands out to you!

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