Wendy’s has always been on-point with its marketing strategies. From the beginning, its square patties in circular buns gave the impression of a wholesome, meatier burger. This was coupled with early slogans like ‘Quality is Our Recipe.’
Dave Thomas positioned Wendy’s as a restaurant for simple ‘old-fashioned’ burgers when he founded it in 1969 in Ohio. Today, Wendy’s has 7,166 outlets in 6,711 locations globally.
Wendy’s food has hordes of ardent loyalists. However, the brand is equally famous for its notorious brand wars, memes, and tongue-in-cheek marketing strategies.
With a net worth of USD 4.01 billion and millions of fans and followers, Wendy’s knows how to keep people well-fed and entertained.
So, let’s do a deep dive into Wendy’s social media strategy and how the brand stays trending and connected with consumers.
Table of Contents
- Analysis of Wendy’s social media accounts
- The main features of Wendy’s marketing strategy
- A deep dive into Wendy’s social media strategy
- Use social media trends and market research to build high engagements
- Frequently Asked Questions
Wendy’s has a strong online following across most social media platforms, thanks to its sassy, all-hands-on-deck approach. By tracking social media trends, the brand is smart and quick to get ahead of viral memes and trending topics.
Because Wendy’s is so well-versed in online social patterns, it can cater to Gen Z folks. This is crucial as experts estimate these digital natives to have a buying power of USD 143 billion in the US alone.
It is no wonder Wendy’s social media strategy focuses on younger audiences. And it clearly works, going by the millions of online followers.
Here’s a glance at the total followers on Wendy’s main social media accounts:
- Instagram: 1.1 million
- Facebook: 8.4 million
- YouTube: 136K
- Twitter: 3.8 million
- LinkedIn: 170K (‘The Wendy’s Company)
- TikTok: 1.7 million
- Reddit: 18K
- Discord: 36K
This success did not happen overnight. Wendy’s marketing strategy has always adapted to current happenings and public sentiment, going all out in everything it does. And once it brought this trademark flavor of savagery to Twitter and other platforms, there was no turning back.
Let’s take a closer look at Wendy’s social media strategy to see how the brand maintains a top spot in online engagement.
The main features of Wendy’s marketing strategy
Scroll through Wendy’s Instagram account and you’ll see the sheer amount of entertaining and funny memes. This can be seen on its TikTok or Twitter accounts as well.
And the funny content Wendy posts revolves around the brand, thus giving audiences something positive to associate with the brand. Plus, Wendy’s completely immerses itself in pop culture and active engagement with users.
Wendy’s employs all the tried-and-tested online marketing strategies, for example:
- Posting content in diverse formats
- Sharing regular product updates
- Sticking to consistent branding
- Actively posting new content across all accounts
- Advocating for social causes
But going beyond these, the brand also uses innovative new ways to connect with audiences and churn out truly fascinating content and campaigns.
Here’s how Wendy’s social media strategy uses these and other savvy features.
1. Leveraging entertaining online banter
If you’ve spent time on Twitter, you likely have seen people replying to tweets with the words ‘Sir, this is a Wendy’s’ or an image with this catchphrase.
This meme began in a 2008 episode of the American sitcom ‘The Office’. It quickly seeped into everyday usage, thanks to Wendy’s strong presence across popular culture and media.
And Wendy’s didn’t miss out on making the most of this. Search for the meme on Twitter, and you’ll see how many likes, shares, and retweets Wendy’s gained from using this. You can now find variations of this meme across most social media platforms.
Wendy’s content strategy is one of the biggest reasons behind its online success. All its social media accounts have snippets of engaging and hilarious conversations and comebacks.
Twitter, in particular, is primed for this kind of engagement, which is why Wendy’s is so active on the platform.
2. Building on stereotypes and user interactions
Few things attract users like hands-on interaction with brands. Wendy’s marketing strategy builds on user interaction, hitching its wagon to existing posts, tweets, comments, reels, and stories.
The brand also latches onto existing stereotypes and popular opinion on various matters.
Take this Facebook post with all caps and weird spellings and punctuation, not to mention a blurry image. Public opinion has all but relegated Facebook as the social platform for an older generation.
But Wendy’s uses this fond stereotype to parody a post that would be made by a ‘boomer,’ and then continues interacting with user comments in the same assumed character.
Initially, this also prompted many discussions online and on other platforms, for example, Reddit.
Wendy’s marketing strategy here is a two-in-one feature: funny stereotype-panning content targeted at Gen Z and millennials coupled with actively engaging with commenters.
This encourages more people to comment and interact with Wendy’s social media posts.
3. Making the most of trending topics and pop culture
Knowing what’s viral and trending can help any brand speak to the audience’s core interests at any point in time. Wendy’s excels at this.
Take the example of the viral frenzy around the Stanley Quencher tumblers. Wendy’s wasted no time in posting a meme cleverly drawing in audiences based on Stanley’s virality.
This recent tweet by Wendy features the instantly recognizable Stanley Quencher tumbler shape, comically photoshopped with the trending Josh Cellars wine cover. It also features the Wendy’s logo and the iconic Wendy’s Frostie curl.
Add to it the description text and other elements, you can see how well-crafted this post is.
Wendy’s content strategy here dipped into multiple trending topics and cultural references: the craze over possessing a Stanley Quencher, the hilarity of a fancy wine with ‘JOSH’ on the label, and the Withered Wojak meme.
And it led to a humorous interaction between the two brands.
And this resulted in a lot of user engagement and interaction. Josh Cellars Wine’s retweet also added to the online buzz.
Wendy’s marketing strategy is hardly conservative; an approach quite a few other brands take, too. But Wendy’s outperforms everyone when it comes to really pushing the boundaries.
Few fast food brands would think of dabbling in social platforms primarily meant for gaming and role-playing. Wendy’s has a Twitch account, an official Discord server, and is also present on Meta Horizon.
With thousands of active members on platforms like Discord and Reddit, Wendy’s appeals to a more edgier audience online. It also results in users forming online social communities fueled by the brand, increasing its reach.
What’s more, Wendy’s created a tabletop RPG called ‘Feast of Legends,’ which it promoted on YouTube with an intriguing and dramatic video trailer.
At a time when the world was just coming out of the COVID pandemic, Wendy’s found a way to launch an initiative encouraging audiences to share a meal over a friendly game.
Feast of Legends has its own Discord and Reddit channels and also appeared at the NY comic-con, bringing in newer audiences for Wendy’s.
5. Drawing from food wars and criticisms
Ragging a little on competitors is a game Wendy’s has aced. Before 2017, the brand faced much more intense online competition from McDonald’s and Burger King.
But then Wendy’s social media strategy turned the seemingly negative comments and online dialogue to its advantage.
The above example is a recent tweet by the brand gently making fun of McDonald’s. But as the situation warrants, Wendy’s marketing strategy has been known to be quite catty in these brand wars.
Content like this keeps online audiences coming back for more. After all, nothing is as entertaining as humorous drama.
From the active interactions and regular posting, it is evident Wendy’s social media marketing is a well-oiled machine. There is a clear voice in Wendy’s social media accounts, and the brand uses humor very effectively.
Here is how this translated into user engagement.
1. Wendy’s on Instagram
With over 1.1 million followers, the brand has a solid Instagram account. However, Wendy’s content marketing strategy is very meme-based. With 22 posts in the last 3 months, it is not surprising they are not as active here as compared to Twitter.
Note that carousels are Wendy’s least frequent type of post. But with 13,754 engagements, the carousel post did very well with audiences.
2. Wendy’s on Twitter
Wendy’s Twitter account is delightful for anyone interested in fast food and pop culture.
The brand put up 391 tweets in just the last 3 months, posting multiple times on many days. Catering to a following base of 3.8 million is no small feat, but Wendy’s many hilarious posts and replies prove the brand is adept at this.
Most of the tweets have engagements in the range of 2,000 to 7,000. But Wendy’s funny quoted tweet featuring K-pop band Red Velvet has 51,214 engagements.
The media channel Pop Base posted the band members’ photos. But one of the singers, Wendy, is missing from the post.
True to Wendy’s social media strategy of picking on trending topics, the brand rushed to tweet ‘WHERE IS WENDY’ on this, skyrocketing the likes, comments, and views.
3. Wendy’s on Facebook
Wendy’s content marketing strategy on Facebook mostly targets Gen Z and millennials who might find the ‘boomer’ humor funny and any older individuals who appreciate this humor.
With 8.4 million followers, the brand has only 30 new posts in the last 3 months. But the posts still generate decent engagement.
Memes and other funny image-based posts are Wendy’s most frequent post types on Facebook. And this works as Wendy’s photo content sees the most engagement.
4. Wendy’s on YouTube
YouTube is not a very active space for Wendy’s. The brand has just 29 videos in total on its official channel. However, Wendy’s marketing strategy for YouTube is effective as the videos have a total of 2.43 million views.
While Wendy’s might not post very frequently, each time it uploads a new video, there are a lot of views and activity around it. The recent video promoting Wendy’s Pretzel Baconator has the most views at 15,978 and counting.
Also, in just the past few weeks, Wendy’s gained 1,000 new followers on YouTube.
Wendy’s has got the formula right for viral online marketing. They constantly post new content, create fresh topical memes, and participate in new trends.
Having an almost aggressively cheerful persona and unique voice has made Wendy’s popular with audiences, particularly younger individuals.
After some analysis, we believe the key ingredients of Wendy’s social media strategy are:
- Making the most of current topics, viral trends, and pop culture to create fresh, interesting content daily
- Using humor, sarcasm, and relatable lingo to entertain audiences, particularly those who are digital natives
- Capitalizing on brand wars and criticism to draw in those who enjoy dramatic face-offs between brands, including competitors’ followers
But becoming a success on social media is no easy feat.
Using the right social media tracking tools gives you relevant data on your target audience. You need to know what works for them and what has currently caught the fancy of online users.
Market research can help you use trends and hashtags effectively to create funny but non-offensive content. You can use this to catapult your brand into the limelight.
Sign up with Keyhole for a free trial today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Wendy's leverages social media to connect with customers by actively engaging with them through comments, direct messages, and responding to their tweets. They also share user-generated content, run contests, and engage in conversations to create a sense of community.
Wendy's mainly focuses on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for their social media strategy. These platforms allow them to reach a wide audience and actively interact with their customers.
To build brand loyalty through social media, Wendy's uses techniques like employing a witty and engaging voice, sharing behind-the-scenes content, responding to customer feedback and questions in a timely manner, and creating innovative campaigns that resonate with their target audience. They also collaborate with influencers and partner with relevant brands to expand their reach and connect with new audiences.