Big Restaurant Brands that Have the Most Distinctive Social Media Voices

By Kerri Adams, Editor-at-Large

Social media platforms provide more than just entertainment to users, they are an outlet for them to engage with others and also voice their opinions.

From a brand perspective, when Facebook propelled the social media realm in 2007, it quickly became another platform for brands to share promotions. But today, it’s a whole different animal.

Not only are there so many web-based technologies including, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Snapchat, and Facebook, but brand’s need to develop and maintain a digital voice that appeals to their customer-base.

It’s not easy to juggle multiple channels and keep up with an especially active audience on social media, but some brands have figured out the secret sauce in their social media strategy.

Let’s take a look at the big brands with the most unique and engaging social voice.

Taco Bell, the First to Leverage Snapchat

The quick-serve chain takes social media very seriously. The social media employees at the brand’s headquarters even refer to their office space as “The Center for Social Excellence.”

The brand’s content and social voice is created primarily by a staff of millennials. Who better to communicate with their target demographic than millennials themselves?

The channels that the brand uses the most to engage their customers recently are Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.

The brands social voice is humorous, playful and edgy with tweets like “Cooking Rule: If at first you don't succeed, get Taco Bell.” But, this taco mogul does so much more than post clever tag lines and one liners. The brand continuously rewards their fans by messaging them back or retweeting their photos.

Last year, the brand was responsible for the addition of the Taco emoji on the Emoji keyboard Unicode 8.0 in 2015. Their campaign started in 2014 with a petition to get it added. To celebrate this win for taco enthusiasts everywhere, Taco Bell launched another campaign that took social by storm.

With the #TacoEmojiEngine campaign, customers were encouraged to tweet the taco emoji with any other emoji and then the brand would create an image or gif combining the emoji. It is still popular amongst their audience; many will tweet multiple emoji combinations then the brand spits out these images quick on social.

The brand used to be super active on Vine, but since Vine looks like it may be the platform of the past, the fast food mogul has been focusing on Snapchat. This is where Taco Bell showcases its humorous voice with short films.

On Cinco De Mayo the brand was responsible for a Taco filter on Snapchat, where selfies were turned into taco faces. Evidently, Taco aficionados loved this and shares these taco selfies with Taco Bell. The brand then posted their taco fan’s selfies all over Twitter. The brand cross references their different platforms. For example, the brand will offer a teaser on Twitter and tell its audience to venture to Snapchat to get the full story.

Beside creating compelling content that appeals to the millennial generation, the brand crowdsources a lot of its social material. This encourages customers to share their Taco Bell themed photos and such.

Taco Bell continues to be ahead of curve when it comes to social and it is always in the top ten on the Foodable Top 25 national brands. This ranking is based on consumer sentiment on social media and the data just shows that Taco Bell is a social king.

Domino's Pizza gets Cheesy with Emojis

Another brand that harnessed the power of the emoji is Domino's.

Last year, the brand launched a social campaign on Twitter where users could tweet the pizza emoji and the brand would start their pizza order.

Although it wasn’t necessarily a quicker process for the customer than ordering online, it was clever on Domino's part for a few reasons. Each pizza tweet was a shout-out to the brand that they could share and encourage others to do same. Also, the user had to be following the brand and the brand had to be following the customer to continue the ordering process. So the brand interacted with a customer, while gaining a follower and showcasing the exchange for the rest of their audience.

So, why does the pizza chain’s social voice work? Domino's is humorous and hip with Tweets like “Dat cheesy bread thooooo.”

“Domino’s social media voice is an open book – we share and talk about everything from cultural commentary to pizza love. And we don’t take ourselves too seriously!” said Jenny Fouracre, Domino’s spokesperson.

The brand gravitates to the platforms their customer-base is the most active on. These include Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Domino's UK just jumped on the Snapchat bandwagon this earlier this year.

“We want to be where our customers are and our customers use a variety of social media channels – and so do we! Lately we’ve been having a lot of fun with Instagram. We did an Instagram game around our DXP vehicle that was a unique use of the platform and a fun way to engage with our consumers as well,” said Fouracre.

The pizza brand’s objective is to be authentic and real on social. “Our customers really identify with our brand voice and social persona. One of our top priorities is to share content that is transparent, relatable and share worthy. Our social team is always on the lookout for user generated content to highlight and we have received a great response from our fans by showing real-life, unedited shots of our products that they have shared with us,” said Fouracre.

Chipotle, a Social Voice to Match its Innovative Content Marketing

Make like a burrito and roll with it.

A video posted by Chipotle (@chipotlemexicangrill) on

This fast casual brand has had a tough time ever since the first reports of the E. coli infections from Chipotle hit the media.

These social platforms were where the brand quickly addressed the PR situations. The brand used these as vehicles to react to the media frenzy. They issued a public statement and answered questions about the issue remarkably fast on social.  

Even though Chipotle took these problems seriously, their social voice remained positive and entertaining during this chains’ bumpy time.

Like most successful brands, Chipotle has a comical and playfully silly voice with Tweets like “Put your hands in the air if you’s a burrito slayer” and “Reality show idea: Pimp My Burrito.”

Chipotle’s most active channels are Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube where the chain shares silly one liners, food shots, films and promotes their freebie days.

The brand’s content is much more artistic and sophisticated than other brands. With creative short gifs showcasing their colorful and fresh ingredients.   

Not to mention, their innovative content marketing is award-winning. Scarecrow, the 2013 animated film by the brand promoting their mission for change in the fast food industry with Responsibly Raised® meat was an instant YouTube success. The brand then took the concept and created the Scarecrow Game.  

Another way the brand’s social voice is distinctive is that they have a different way of responding to customers when they engage them. The Chipotle social team member signs their name after responding and their responses are entertaining. This humanizes the brand.

Ultimately, Taco Bell, Domino's and Chipotle do two things effectively. One, they entertain with compelling and creative content. And two, they unfailingly engage their customers making them feel validated and appreciated.