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5 Findings from Wendy’s Epic Week on Twitter

Last week, my boss sent over this article about Wendy’s Twitter exchange with Thuggy-D and asked me to analyze how has it impacted the brand on that platform.screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-11-12-49-am

I collected the data for the brand’s Twitter handle, and started looking at the tweets that Wendy’s sent out in the last week. The next time I looked at the clock, I had spent over an hour just reading through their mentions and responses, wondering just how hilarious a Twitter feed can get. Also, why was I never told that Wendy’s could help with geometry homework?

Well, I finally got to looking at the data for Wendy’s during this time period. Here is what I found.

1.2 @replies from Wendy’s Contributed to Almost 25% of Total Engagement


The peak for engagement on January 3rd, driven by the tweet below, resulted in 99% more engagement than the daily average in the report period.

The second-most engaging tweet in the data period was their final response to the epic Twitter battle with Thuggy-D.

Wendy’s could have chosen to ignore the slew of messages that ridiculed them, but the brand chose to defuse the stand-off with clever humor.

We asked Amy Brown, Wendy’s Social Media Manager, what she keeps top-of-mind when communicating with Wendy’s vast Twitter audience. She said:

“Interacting with our audience can be tricky, especially when fielding a high volume of requests and when trying to balance our engagement strategy with our customer care presence. For us, it’s important to remember who we are and what we’re trying to communicate — what’s our brand’s voice and purpose? The Wendy’s voice is a ‘challenger with charm,’ for example, which means that even when we’re shooting back a sassy comment, it’s with a smile and a wink. Having a strong sense of who our brand is and what we should sound like ensures that we’ll come across consistent in our communications, whether we’re handling a restaurant-specific complaint or gently roasting some of our followers.”

Amy Brown (@arb)
Amy Brown (@arb)

2.Retweets, Replies, and Likes on Wendy’s Tweets Accounted for 98% of Total Engagement, with @mentions Accounting for 2%


The conversational yet sassy tone Wendy’s adopts on Twitter helps it gain engagement, even if the tweets are beyond the normal code of conduct as we know it on social media. Social as a medium for communication with brands allows for conversations to go in different directions, however, within reasonable limits.

For Wendy’s, humor on Twitter surpasses most limits. The most engaging tweet for the period (shown above) was a response to a sarcastic question from a Twitter user asking Wendy’s for a McDonald’s restaurant (a competitor). The response (a picture of a garbage can) was so absurd and hilarious, it demanded to be talked about (this is why it was the most engaging tweet).

3. Super Prompt, Funny, and Random Responses to Followers

95% of Tweets that Wendy’s sent out in the data period were @replies to followers’ questions and requests. These questions and requests were not customer service complaints, which accounted only for 5% of interactions. These were responses to random customer questions. For example, the third-most engaging Tweet in the data period was their reply to a follower who asked Wendy’s to “roast” him (given the fire tweet they sent to Thuggy-D). Here is Wendy’s response to that person.

This post resulted in a peak in engagement on January 3rd for the brand and was the second-most retweeted post for the day.screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-10-13-53-am

Research has shown that consumers expect brands to respond to them on social media, be it to their reviews or complaints of general conversations. Getting back to customers in a prompt and quick manner drives engagement and portrays brands as more approachable and human.

4. Generous Use of Emojis

Emojis have become a legitimate social marketing tool. They help make social content look more lively, engaging, and human. Wendy’s uses a range of emojis (43 different types in this data period) in Tweets, at times including over five emojis in a single tweet, and even participating in emoji wars.

5. Using Tact to Avoid a Twitter Meltdown

While Wendy’s was on the top of their game last week, setting an example about how humor can win on Twitter, they potentially had a major #fail with a Pepe the Frog Tweet (Pepe the Frog has somehow become a white supremacist mascot), which has since been deleted. They were able to avoid Twitter’s focus on it by quickly accepting their mistake and pleading ignorance. Sometimes owning up to your actions goes a long way.

Humor can be an effective marketing tactic if executed well. Wendy’s executes it well. And, according to a research by Ipsos, 43% of global “sharers” on social media sites seek to share funny things. Incorporating some fun into your social content might not be a bad idea at all.

Want to learn about other tactics you can use to make your social media content awesome? Download the guide below!

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Tripti Shrivastava

I'm a Social Media Analyst at Simply Measured. I love food, music, movies, and long walks. Let's talk about social media data!

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