Sahail Ashraf posted on 17 February 2023
KFC is one of those brands that really knows how to work social media marketing. But these three examples show how the brand knows how to connect with the audience.
While KFC is obviously a huge brand, it still knows how to connect with the audience. These three examples, across different social media platforms, show how it has mastered being with the customer.
To understand how KFC has really worked hard on social media, we need to look at some of the older stuff. To be more specific, we need to look at a campaign from way back in 2015. That’s right, they were blowing up Instagram back then.
That year saw the release of a campaign on Instagram that told the world the brand had a sense of humour. Not only was it committed to making people laugh, it was doing it with intelligence.
The campaign was produced by a Romanian ad agency and KFC made the focus the growing ‘rich kid’ phenomena on Instagram. This has kind of gotten out of hand now, because Influencers are using all sorts of trickery to show people they are ‘rich’. Back then, KFC seemed to notice that the rich kids were basically just insulting the rest of us.
Romanian KFC fans were invited onto Instagram to mock the rich kids concept. Rather than have tigers walking around lavish mansions (something the rich kids were very good at doing), the Romanian Instagram crowd posted photos of cats running round perfectly normal homes.
The infinity pools that made the rich kid life so attractive were replaced with inflatable pools in the new Instagram campaign.
It was a short-lived campaign, but showed that KFC knew how to use UGC (user generated content) long before other brands did, and that it had a killer sense of humour that would continue to differentiate it from competitors.
To understand the creative genius behind this campaign, you need to have eaten some of KFC’s fries.
A recent campaign spun off the idea that the fries the company was creating just weren’t up to scratch. This was no joke, because people were routinely telling workers at the restaurants and the brand through social media that the fries were awful.
Compared to competitor fries, in other words, these were no good.
So what did KFC do?
It took out full page ads in newspapers and had TV spots, as well as billboards. However, the real work happened on Twitter and the rest of the social media platforms. Here, KFC constantly talked about how bad the old fries were (it was getting ready to reveal new fries to the market) and encouraged people on social media to agree and talk about the bad aspects of the old recipe.
For most brands this would be disastrous. Not KFC, which saw itself becoming the number one news item on major outlets like the BBC. A brand was calling its own products rubbish, and that made for hot news.
The result was a ton of attention, and a massive amount of engagement on social media.
But the real golden stuff happened when it ran out of chicken.
In 2018 KFC ran into a distribution problem, in that it couldn’t distribute the chicken to the customers.
It had started up a new supply chain agreement with a carrier that found problems in delivering. This meant that most of the KFC restaurants in the UK had to close temporarily.
This caused nothing short of outrage. At one point, it became common for customers to contact the police about the problem. That’s brand loyalty right there.
However, KFC chose to make the best of a bad situation (like they did with the fries) and went to town on social media with some very clever responses to the chicken shortage.
KFC went to work on Twitter, allowing customers to find their nearest open store. However, it did this with puns and some of that great sense of humor. It could have run away for a couple of weeks and simply issued an apology, but instead it treated the whole thing as a light-hearted joke. It wasn’t a joke, of course, to the fans. But by taking things a little less seriously, KFC simply made everyone feel better.
At the same time, KFC took out ads in the major newspapers in the UK. The ad was hilarous, with KFC presented as ‘FCK’. While this may have made some more conservative readers choke on their cornflakes, the more social media savvy customers simply shared it to their channels.
This resulted in more publicity, and a feeling that KFC felt really bad about the situation. The audience could instantly identify with them.
Perhaps this best demonstrates how KFC can really manage social media expertly. It engaged and joined in with the conversation, updating its audience while at the same time showing empathy.
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