Can you name a big brand that does social media right? I’m not talking about who shares the most beautiful pictures. I'm talking in terms of performance.

I struggle to pinpoint ones that have real followings with real engagement AND don't feel cold, corporate, and unapproachable. So I decided to roll up my sleeves and find some myself.

Inspired by Val Geisler's email onboarding teardowns, I will be doing a few social media teardowns just for fun. This means, I will be dissecting social media feeds and breaking down the following:

  • Things the brand(s) do right
  • Trouble areas
  • Potential to do better


I’m analyzing based on what I can see. But also, I’m using some analytics tools – like Share My Insights – that allow me to view some stats on competitors.

Some of you have voted via my instagram stories for which brand(s) I’ll review first. The winner for this first teardown is Wendys VS Burger King. I’m just gonna get right to it.

Twitter Breakdown: Wendys VS Burger King

Both have the basics like profile picture, cover image, a description, and the same handle across all social platforms down.‍

Wendy's comes in strong with a spicy and captivating about description. In just one sentence you not only know what they do but feel they are not your regular cold, boring, and unapproachable corporate social media presence. In terms of fixing up their Twitter bio, I think it’s already done well.

But where Wendy went right, Burger King went wrong. ‍

(cue dramatic music lol)

BK wasted not just the characters in their bio but also the precious attention of their potential new followers. It's redundant. “The official tweets of Burger King USA”. Yeah, so? We already know by the profile handle, picture, and verification mark it’s Burger King.‍

Instead, they should at the very least discuss what they do and their current special on free shipping during COVID.

Even better if they can nail crafting some copy like Wendy’s. Wendy’s nails not just explaining what they offer but compares the quality of their tweets to the quality of their burgers making you wonder “how good are your Tweets?” And from there, the person is more likely to scroll and see just what they mean.

There's one basic element Burger King did right in this section. Having a link. Wendys does not have a link. Wendys has links in some tweets but are missing the opportunity to have it conveniently in their profile like BK.

Technically, Burger King isn't really doing anything wrong. But if you haven't followed Wendy's multiple viral tweets you might not know they ARE the leader in setting the tone for all other competitors. Burger King gets points for trying BUT they are unoriginal as they just follow the lead without creating their own signature flavor online.

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Wendys has a history of being amazingly responsive, witty, and savage with their comments. So much so that people go out of their way to try and get a signature Wendys response. Sometimes even by asking completely "off-topic" questions such as requesting relationship advice.‍

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Broken down to its most simple essence, the core of social media is to make yourself a social brand people love to interact with without expecting anything in return. This aids brand awareness and can contribute to more sales.‍

Anybody can share information. But not everybody will make it into an experience others look forward to revisiting.‍

Burger King IS trying.

I truly do applaud them for making this effort. But Wendys is miles ahead as the lead. At some point, all of us mimic the leaders. It's often a key part in learning to dominate something new and find our signature way of doing something.‍

Perhaps at some point BK will have found their way from trial and error.

Instagram Breakdown: Wendys VS Burger King

Instagram Feeds.png

Imagine if everyone’s house looked exactly the same. You walk inside and they have the same shit everyone else does. What do you comment on? Nothing because you see it all the time therefore it sparks nothing.

It’s just…there

But then you walk inside the new neighbor’s home and it’s entirely different. There’s an accent wall, art collected from traveling the world, furniture they’ve made themselves or restored, and areas they have completely renovated to make the home their own.

The thing is, it’s rare to see brands that make their social media home their own.

In fact, Wendy’s is quite exemplary. So much so, I’m not sure how many big brand social media teardowns after this will actually run social media  better than them.

Burger King has nearly twice as much followers as Wendys yet they usually have 3X less engagement on content (like the post above).

Remember your past girlfriends and/or boyfriends? Every person has different “love languages” of sorts. Some prefer verbal affirmation while others are more into acts of service or physical touch. So while love may have been present in prior relationships, each romantic experience is unique.‍

Think of each platform as someone you’re romantically involved with. They may all be people but they have different needs. Your content needs to adapt to the platform in order to build a stronger relationship with it’s users.

And even if you have millions of followers, your message speaks to one person at a time to build a deeper connection with your audience.

Wendy’s gets this 100%. Let’s look at their feed again side-by-side with Burger Kings…‍

Whose content feels more likely to be shared to your stories or sent to your best friend’s DMs?

Professional photography IS great. And it is okay to sell on social media. But it’s a delicate balance of knowing when to jab (give value) and when to hook (pitch), like Gary Vaynerchuck says‍

Burger King’s feed may be more cohesive and beautiful but it underperforms. Only new followers see your feed as a whole. But usually, people will see a single post of yours on the explore page, under a tag they follow, shared by a friend, etc.

This means you need to design each post to work well all on it’s own rather than fixate on a gorgeous grid. Unless you’re an artist, content is not art. Great content is the product of deeply rooted empathy and the marriage of great marketing and design to create something valuable for the end viewer.‍

Let me repeat that because it’s so fucking underrated…‍

Great content is the product of deeply rooted empathy and the marriage of great marketing and design to create something valuable for the end viewer.

I hope you don’t read this with an angry tone. I mean it’s my “angry but with love” tone. I try to not get upset when people and brands are impatient but I swear…most don’t do the work. They’re so impatient and self-absorbed that after just 12 posts they start bullying social media algorithms.

The algorithm IS your target audience. Speak to your intended audience, be social, be nice, be consistent, be analytical. With time you will train the algorithm to understand what you do and who you’re for so it can better categorize you and distribute your content.

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::drops mic & ends rant::


Now let’s do the bio sections.
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Both Wendy's and Burger King could use improvement in this section. But as far as what they do right, they have the basics set up such as:

  • Clear profile picture
  • Name in bold bio text
  • Link in bio


However – coincidentally – both brands made the same mistakes (just slightly differently).


The Name Field
People can look you up using your username on Instagram's search function. But an often missed opportunity is adding a keyword to your name field. This is the bold text above the bio description.‍

My guess is they wanted to keep a clean look and didn't mind the missed chance to perform better in terms of discovery.‍

Wendys might've tried by adding a burger emoji 🍔 but I'm not sure if people search using emojis. And if so, how significant is this number in comparison to a plain text search?


The Bio Copy

The bio tells us nothing about the brand or why we should follow. You could argue "everybody knows who they are though..."

But how many people know them and care?

Wendys emojis could easily be rewritten by whoever wrote their amazing Twitter bio. Their brand is rich with personality and could leverage their sense of humor to marry the what and why of who they are and why one should follow.

On the other hand, Burger King is telling us how they are managing COVID-19 and telling us to click the link to read how prepared they are. Anyone else tired of getting emails and all other kinds of marketing messaging telling us "what we're doing about COVID-19"? I am. Sure we care, but do we care THAT much it should be the bio even now?

No.

Burger King did a much better job here of writing interesting copy that speaks to what people desire at the time of writing this
Burger King did a much better job here of writing interesting copy that speaks to what people desire at the time of writing this

‍What they could've mentioned in their bio to be relevant to what's happening at the time of writing this is this: Order with FREE Delivery. This is pulled from their home page of their website which does a great job of making it convenient to order AND shows they care about protecting customers from COVID-19.‍

If they paired one clever sentence talking about how they have the best burgers + free delivery it would be 500X better.‍

People often go to social media for escapism. Let's be real. Especially right now where we are stuck at home we kind of just want to forget there's a virus out there for a bit.

The Highlights?

There are no highlights on either account. Highlights are a collection of your best stories. Think of it like the navigation bar of your website but for Instagram.

Highlights tell people what your bio couldn't fit and what to expect. Both brands could highlight things such as special promotions, user-generated content, or anything else that helps support their goals and make them interesting to potential followers.

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The Verdict

Brand’s that don’t take themselves too seriously and act so “big” are more approachable and engaging due to feeling more human. Don’t lose your soul.

This is a total guess but I thin Wendy’s current social media team appears to be in-house. TheirI don’t currently believe agencies can capture the essence of your brand as well as employee’s who live and breathe it daily.

Burger King may win awards for social campaigns here and there but Wendy’s kills it organically on a daily basis.