COM0014 – Blog Post #4: How Taco Bell is Owning Social Media (and my appetite).

Photo credit: Audiense

Likely to my detriment, I’ll never say no to nachos, tacos, or any other member of the guac / salsa / enchilada / food family. My poor husband-to-be knows my addiction to tortilla chips all too well, even as we are attempting to live by a household motto of “shedding for the wedding”.  It was with this love of Tex-Mex and this week’s blog assignment in mind that I thought of a perfect case study of a company getting B2C social media communications right: Taco Bell.

While I would not consider myself a “fan” or even occasional consumer of Taco Bell products, their social media campaigns have caught my eye. They’ve got a funny Twitter account, and an even more creative Snapchat profile with occasional custom filters and comedic short videos. Perhaps most notably was their recent Breakfast Defectors campaign, which resulted in huge traffic to their microsite and made some not so veiled shots at rival company McDonald’s at the same time.

Taco Bell’s ads stand out – as do their social media practices. Here’s some of what Taco Bell seems to be getting right:

  • Their communications are genuine. The company made an effort to try and communicate as a consumer – not always as a business. Obviously, the company will have to accept responsibility and authority if there are any issues with their product, but for most of their social communications, they project as a consumer would. For example – pictures of Taco Bell’s food is now shot from the consumer perspective, rather than staging like most competitor products.
  • They understand that social media communications is a direct relationship with consumers. As a chief marketer at Taco Bell confirms, the company no longer needs to invest in focus groups to know what 20 people think of their product, when 20 million or more are accessible online.
  • Taco Bell has invested in young employees who are digitally-savvy, and encouraged their creativity. The company has taken the approach of hiring those who are in the very market they want to attract, which results in better-informed decision-making when attracting that audience and in determining how to communicate with them.
  • The company is focusing on it’s fans and not necessarily influencers. While Taco Bell smartly has relationships with YouTube stars who support the brand to their followers, they are not latching onto big-name social media stars who can’t convey the spirit and idea behind their product. They even retweet fans with small followings, which keeps things genuine.
  • Perhaps most importantly, Taco Bell has found a way to mirror this personalized approach throughout its supply chain. For example, you can now make an order at Taco Bell through an app, not wait in line, and have your name called when your order is ready. This marrying of technology with traditional service delivery is another way Taco Bell is standing out from its competition.

By all measures discussed in the course content, it looks like Taco Bell is hitting all the right notes online. Now if only they can come up with a Crunchy Taco Supreme that is under 300 calories …


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