Taco Bell had a goal to compete with other big name fast food chains – and to do that, they had to convince a younger demographic to purchase their products. Their marketing team knew that to build loyalty among millennials, they had to do more than just sell cheap tacos. They needed to engage, connect, and speak to their audience in an authentic way on the platforms they use most.

Their results have been impressive. Apart from growing their social follower counts, Taco Bell has figured out the secret to driving brand loyalty: engagement. The brand successfully lobbied for a taco emoji, frequently gets media coverage for viral posts, and garnered over 500 million retweets supporting their new mobile app… in just one day.

So what can small businesses learn from the brand’s success? Even if your target audience isn’t made up of tech-savvy teens, there are lessons every business can take from Taco Bell’s social strategy:

🌮 Keep It Real:

When it comes to social media, people crave authenticity. Taco Bell has a consistent social identity that is in line with their target audience; their tone on their social platforms is informal, humourous, sarcastic, and full of emojis. They keep their content personal, original, and fun – and their audience loves it.  Brands and businesses that speak to their audiences in ways that resonate with them will ultimately drive deeper connections. Start by taking note of how your audience speaks on their social channels and then find ways to relate to them. And don’t be afraid to show a little personality!

🌮 Get In While It’s Hot:

It can be hard to come up with your own viral hashtags; why not leverage one that’s already gaining traction? Taco Bell jumped in on existing trending hashtags like #10ThingsIGetAlot (their answer: “Do you sell bells?”) and earned tons of attention. Their answer was in line with the spirit of the hashtag and further established the brand’s personality in a funny, self-deprecating way.  Not every viral hashtag will work for you, but when you see one that will – don’t hesitate to join in the conversation.

🌮 Think Outside the Box:

One thing Taco Bell is known for is having a presence across every single social media channel – including those outside the big three (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter).  The brand used a six-second Vine to introduce their new Cool Ranch Dorito taco, created a wildly popular taco-face Snapchat filter, and engage regularly on Reddit and Tumblr.  By creating content tailored to each specific channel, Taco Bell was able to stand out from their competition and grab attention (and sometimes headlines). Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all serve important purposes when it comes to getting your name out there; but smaller channels, like LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Reddit can help you connect with audiences that may be receptive to your messaging. Think quality over quantity.


With so many brands and companies competing for attention, it can be hard to stand out. But when you are authentic, engaging, and willing to try new things, you’re setting yourself apart from the competition.

If you’d like to talk to a professional social media manager about upgrading your social media marketing, contact us by email, intake form, or phone: 732-462-0972