Digital & Social Media

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What Happened: Taco Bell joined Snapchat and became one of its early adopters in April 2013. At the time, the platform was not yet the go-to medium for brands it is today, but Taco Bell made the decision to take a risk. Taco Bell’s early Snapchat approach was careful and calculated, like when it announced the return of the “Beefy Crunch Burrito” through a single photo. It has since evolved and adapted its approach as the platform does the same, now producing everything from short-form video stories to Buzzfeed-style quizzes and games that keep its millennial audience engaged. Today, Taco Bell is generally accepted to be one of the brands that uses the social media platform most effectively.

What This Means for Brands: A closer look at Taco Bell’s Snapchat strategy reveals several key points that other brands would be wise to consider. The first is that it sometimes it pays to take a risk and discover how consumers use new platforms, rather than sit back and let other brands get in on the ground floor. Obviously, Taco Bell didn’t make the decision to use Snapchat without first doing research, but they did so without knowing that it would evolve into the communication network it has over the past few years. The second key point that has led to Taco Bell’s Snapchat success is a thorough understanding of both their brand and its audience. Taco Bell knew they wanted to target millennials, and also knew that roughly two-thirds of Snapchat users are between 18-34. In order to effectively reach this audience, Taco Bell hired an in-house team of two twenty-somethings with a thorough understanding of the brand and their peers to post engaging stories on the platform three times a week. Lastly, a huge contributing factor to Taco Bell’s Snapchat success is an emphasis on storytelling through new and engaging content. Taco Bell uses every facet of Snapchat’s communication platform (i.e. pictures, videos and even direct messaging) to reach their audience, so as to not become stale or one-dimensional on the platform.