VIDEO: How Wendy’s Leverages Social and Native to Target Millennials

Within just four years, Wendy’s International has turned from a brand that relied on traditional marketing strategies into a formidable digital player in the highly competitive fast-food industry. Its secret weapon? Social and native advertising.

The fast-food brand didn’t rethink its approach to marketing until Brandon Rhoten joined the chain in 2011. As the company’s vice president of digital and social media, Rhoten has set up the digital practice and built partnerships with agencies and big social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Rhoten and his team have executed a series of successful digital campaigns. Among them is “Pretzel Love Song.” In July of last year, Wendy’s initiated the #pretzellovesongs campaign to promote the return of its pretzel bun. For the campaign, the company took tweets and Facebook comments generated by its consumers and turned them into a music video.

Like “Pretzel Love Song,” most of Wendy’s digital activities target 18- to 34-year-olds (Millennials). “We have a large variety of product, so we target based on product more than anything else. But primarily we target 18- to 34-year-old individuals online,” Rhoten said during his panel discussion at the MMA Forum this week.

To enhance its digital strategy, Wendy’s has a big presence on Twitter and Facebook. As of now, the brand has approximately 724,000 Twitter followers and more than 5.1 million Facebook likes, and the numbers are growing.

As there are 6,500 locations worldwide and 5,700 in the U.S., each Wendy’s restaurant has set up its regional Facebook account for search purposes, but Rhoten and his team have centralized control over Wendy’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts in order to maintain brand continuity.

So how does Wendy’s leverage social and native to engage with Millennials? What metrics does it look at in terms of return on investment (ROI)? And what are the right Twitter and Facebook strategies for multi-location businesses like Wendy’s?

You can find answers to those questions and more in our video interview with Rhoten below.

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