If you’re on social media, your brand needs to have a voice. However, the trick to having the right tone for different channels can be hard to master. So who does it the best? From showing off their square burgers to calling out their competitors, Wendy’s content, measured by own scale of sassiness, acts as the secret sauce across social media platforms. While your brand may not be able to be as bold as Wendy’s, we can all learn from their sassy strategy.
What gives? How Wendy’s built a sassy social strategy
Wendy’s iconic Twitter presence took off when 17-year-old Carter Wilkerson asked how many retweets he needed for a year’s supply of nuggets and the Ohio-based chain responded, “18 million.” This off-handed, casual reply was part of Wendy’s core values as a witty chain that takes food seriously, but not themselves.
The tweet that secured Wendy’s iconic Twitter presence shows how Wendy’s isn’t afraid of interacting with their fans.
Part of establishing this distinct voice is Wendy’s scale of sassiness. By establishing their voice as quick-witted and bold, Wendy’s is able to set their brand up for recognition and foreground their commitment to genuine conversation. Though every tweet might not be destined for viral greatness, Wendy’s engagement certainly leads to more interaction.
“At Wendy’s, we encourage talking with our followers just like we talk with our friends – we aim to make it a fun conversation on the consumers’ terms,” said Meredith Ulmer, Wendy’s social media manager. “With real-time social engagements, we’re able to bring our brand voice to life more than ever before.”
Revitalizing your social media strategy can be as simple as taking a page out of Wendy’s playbook. By foregrounding the importance of one-on-one interaction, you have the chance to consistently speak with your brand’s voice, which makes your company recognizable and relatable across channels.
Why does brand voice matter?
Social media isn’t just for catching up with your friends from high school anymore. Around 86% of people follow a brand on social media, which means they’re looking to interact with the voice of company — not just an automatic reply. For Wendy’s, an important part of their social strategy is emphasizing the realness of their communication.
“In an age where consumers value connections and authentic storytelling from companies, seeming ‘real' is very important,” said Ulmer. “We think we have a different story to tell and social gives us that chance. Wendy’s is an approachable brand that cares about our guests – at the end of the day, our goal is to have people’s back, whether that’s serving them the best cheeseburger or answering pop culture questions.”
Remembering that your audience expects you to be a storyteller for your brand means that you don’t have to rely on pre-packaged replies. When you create something new, you can craft a message specifically with your company’s interests in mind. That way, when you reach your audience, you’re saying something interesting
To sass or not to sass: knowing your place
So having a voice and engaging with your audience is important, but how do you know when to go full-blown sassy and when lay low? For Wendy’s having a scale of sass helps, and so does trusting their social media team.
“Wendy’s brand voice ranges along the scale of sass: lively, bold, full of spirit and sometimes cheeky,” said Ulmer. “We keep a consistent brand across Wendy’s platforms, which endorses our distinct differences, but we utilize the same voice/persona to engage in different ways.”
Having a scale, or implementing a similar range of tone options can be helpful when crafting a distinct brand voice. Additionally, it’s a good idea to keep in mind that, as a platform, quick-thinking Twitter differs greatly from the more long-form Facebook, or image-based Instagram. By keeping in mind the different expectations across platforms, you can ensure that your brand’s unique scale is timely and appropriate. Another tactic? Trust the people crafting your posts.
“Wendy’s social media team is responsible with the creative license they’ve been given,” said Ulmer. “The team understands what makes Wendy’s different and translates it in a way that’s appropriate for social channels. Through a ton of collaboration as well as trial and error, we’ve built a strong team that really trusts each other.”
While you’re fine-tuning your message, consider how far you can stretch your social wings and who you have in place that can help you. Making your brand seem engaging and friendly comes from the ingenuity and talent of the right people behind the screen.
The final roast
Developing your brand’s voice isn’t all about roasting your opponents or sending robotic replies – in fact, it’s a healthy balance between keeping your engagement interactive while responding to your audience’s expectations. Though it seems easier said than done, by foregrounding one-on-one engagement, being a brand storyteller, and knowing your place, you too can master your voice like Wendy’s.
When asked if Wendy’s had a special roast just for PRSA, Ulmer replied, “Wendy’s is all about making friends and engaging in jest. We’re an advocate for our customers and stand up for what is right – just like calling attention to our competitors’ frozen beef patties. We don’t roast just to roast. We know that a huge PR organization is smart enough to not call us out on beef. :).”