Jessica Tran
Apr 18, 2018 · 9 min read

When it comes to choosing a place to eat, the possibilities are endless as the limit simply does not exist. A personal favourite guilty pleasure of mine is, Taco Bell, an American food chain contributing excessively to my calorie count all while satisfying my cravings since 1950. Not only does Taco Bell offer a featured selection from double decker tacos, chili cheese burritos, and steak quesadillas, they prove themselves as pioneers in the realm of online social media marketing.

Taco Bell has turned out to be popularly noticeable across every social media platform, establishing a distinct social media presence that its competition merely cannot keep up with. However, Taco Bell puts a twist on the content they create making it personal, original, and fun, which makes users like myself want to keep up with. So move aside Kardashian Family, it’s all about Keeping Up with Taco Bell from this point forward.

When it comes to creating a strong position with their brand awareness and engagement from their social media activities against its larger competitors like McDonald’s and Wendy’s, in which both these companies have more collective followers, Taco Bell has figured out how to be ahead of the game. After all, “It’s not about how big you are, but how big you play,” and Taco Bell definitely proves this through embracing their brand’s social media personality under simple, yet by all means clever efforts. It’s not about the number of followers, but more about the level of interactions.

Taco Bell has been reigning on Twitter for years with countless combinations of humour, sass, and creativity embedded in their tweets and comebacks to their Twitter audience. Here are some fan favourite moments from Taco Bell’s twitter account:

It goes without saying, whoever runs Taco Bell’s Twitter Account deserves a promotion.

I’m on social media a lot, it’s what I do to pass time. But that isn’t the only thing I’m passing. If I liked your post on Instagram, that doesn’t necessarily mean I like it, the truth is I probably spent 0.1 seconds looking at it and will never think about it again. That’s the thing with Instagram, you go on this “double-tap” frenzy without taking in what you are actually liking and you find yourself repeating this pattern as you scroll through your timeline. Other times I skip people’s posts because I simply couldn’t care less.

Somehow Taco Bell’s social media posts are one of few accounts that I will actually stop and look at. Taco Bell does an excellent job at identifying and focusing on their target market. The company targets a youth-based demographic and has figured out how to interest them through the emphasis of clever and comical content all while having fun doing it. They are not like companies who force loads of information and instructions on us. Let’s face it, when was the last time you actual read a manual? The answer is never, because practical no longer appeals to us. The fast food company understands the power of their audience. They understand that users hold the power to spread information and therefore they create genuine relationships with us through aligning their content to appeal to our emotions. In doing so, they are building their brand value and online culture. From their witty and humorous posts, I consider my relationship with Taco Bell as if it were a friendship. As weird as it sounds it’s almost as if Taco Bell is me and I am Taco Bell. The relatability is unparalleled and I feel a special connection with them.

With all great friendships you want to look after your friends and make sure that they are okay. You want to check in on them and see how they are doing. Taco Bell does this through social media audits.

Let’s take a look at their social media assessment as of February 2017:

Taco Bell is also present on Snapchat. They brilliantly use Snapchat for authentic publicity and customer engagement.

In a world where social media pressures us to create an augmented reality and curated self, Snapchat allows us to be authentic, a lack in the media realm that customers appreciate and could use more of. The content is supposed to be fun and uplifting and almost effortless and the platform empowers the creative process. Taco Bell’s innovative snap chat stories takes a cheerful approach towards praising the taco. The comical pictures and effects that were made for their stories went viral, and effortlessly spread among web by means of word of mouth marketing.

For example, Taco Bell’s sponsored Cinco de Mayo Snapchat filter was viewed a soaring 224 million times. It’s the leading campaign throughout the app’s history. It was almost too easy of a move for Taco Bell’s campaign team. If you surveyed 100 millennials on the street and asked them what were their two greatest weaknesses were, 99% would answer — Tacos and Snapchat. Snapchat is a millennial’s favourite platform, it is the more popular social network than Instagram for teens. With my 294,967 snapchat score, I am very much a living statistic. When I see something I like the natural thing to do is to share it with my friends.

As we have learnt in class, content is everything. I mean it when I say it is everything. It can make or break a company and it’s safe to say that Taco Bell has their content strategy pinned down. They are exceptional with their social media campaign and their use of visual marketing by creating original content.

Remember when emojis were first introduced, and you couldn’t wait to try them out with your friends. However, your excitement and happiness was short lived when you realized that there was no taco emoji. I mean how can one create hamburger and pizza emoji but not consider a taco one? Sometimes it’s just too hard to talk about the past as it’s still a taunting memory. So Taco Bell took matters into their own hands by launching “The Taco Emoji Needs To Happen”. Large and in charge, I love it!

To my surprise I’m not the only taco fanatic out there. The campaign was a huge success with more than 25,000 signatures collected in less than three months. In October 2015, the Unicode Consortium gave the thumbs up and Apple launched the taco emoji in iOS 9.1. Talk about the power of social media.

Taco Bell is a must have at any given celebration. But what happens when it’s Taco Bell in need of a celebration? Well, to celebrate their victory, Taco Bell created the #TacoEmojiEngine where users could tweet @TacoBell the taco emoji and any other combination and get a result of one of 600 distinctive taco inspired photographs, gifs or sounds. The goal of the campaign was essentially to thank avid taco fans across the globe for their help with the birth of the taco emoji, and to bring the community together. It warms my heart that even though they are a multinational company, they still take the time to appreciate their customers. A remarkable act on their behalf. So when Taco Bell supports me, needless to say I support them!

Take a look at the #TacoEmojiEngine campaign:

Compared to McDonald’s and Wendy’s, Taco Bell is smaller, however, they are smaller but mightier. They prove that you don’t need the fancier degree or title to be seen as successful. But rather it is the simple things in life that will get you far, like making someone laugh. Taco Bell has established a favourable and memorable online persona and voice. A voice that I tune into and not ignore because they appeal to my sense of humor and that I can relate to. They are the “cool” friend we all want to be. Like any true winner, they never settle, they are constantly seeking new ways to improve and be better with their social media presence. Taco Bell is like finding some who you don’t have to explain things to, they just understand, and it’s a comfortable feeling.

In the day and age where everything is competition, I truly hope that Taco Bell remains true to their brand and that they continue to honour their customer loyalty and not turn to professional and corporate advertising. That would really suck. Taco Bell does an amazing job at facilitating conversations between its consumers, employees, and brand and amplifying their visual marketing to which is relatable and relevant. Besides, in order to stay relevant, you would have to be relevant in the first place, something Taco Bell doesn’t have to worry about. I think everyone can take a few pointers from Taco Bell. It shouldn’t have to be all about the big corporate titles and big pay cheques, at the end of it all you should remind yourself how you got there in the first place, by your customers. Treat them like you’re still trying to win them, and that is how you will never lose them.

If I could describe my relationship with Taco Bell with a quote it would be, “to the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world.” Taco Bell values their relationships with their consumers, they feed us, they make us laugh, they understand our needs, and they will do whatever it takes to make sure we are 100% satisfied. It’s almost as if it were a marriage. So till death do us apart, I love you forever and always Taco Bell.


RTA902 (Social Media)

Insights from a class of disruptors, innovators, artists and makers.

Jessica Tran

Written by

RTA902 (Social Media)

Insights from a class of disruptors, innovators, artists and makers.

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