Here at The Wire, we are obviously pretty big fans of tacos, especially of the Dorito-dust covered variety. So when we set out to find our favorite social media team, it was no surprise who that winner would be: @TacoBell.
In a phone interview with Director of Social Media, Tressie Lieberman, she gave The Wire some insight into what it's like running this massively popular social media accounts for one of the biggest brands in the country.
The Wire: We love your Twitter account. Who is behind the awesome tweets?
Lieberman: Our team is a lot smaller than you'd think. We have three social community managers representing all our channels. They are on the channels all the time, they love it. They adore getting the opportunity to engage with all our fans. They're passionate about what they do. They are really empowered to represent the brand.
Do other employees contribute to the tweets?
Innovation comes from anywhere. When it comes to the content you see from our Twitter page, it really is the people that touch every part of this building [Taco Bell headquarters.] We get suggestions for content from our legal team, food team, operations, human resources, designers. People come to us all the time with ideas. We actually have a newsroom set up within our building, every morning we meet and see what's happening in our news and with our consumers.
Can you tell us about the tone you take on Twitter? It's a really entertaining account.
We are pretty excited about the engagement on Twitter. The key thing for us is working on a platform to "beefen" [no pun intended] our relationship with our friends. We think of our followers as our friends. We take that seriously. Even though we have a light hearted approach, we want to be that friend that thinks Taco Bell gets them and understands them. We know who we are and we are constantly seeking to engage.
Can you tell us about the people you follow on Twitter? (Taco Bell only follows 13 people.)
We are about connecting with our friends. All the people we follow on social media, who we consider our best friends, are relationships we created on the Internet. We started tweeting back to our biggest friends and developing that relationship over time.
Chrissy Teigen LOVES Taco Bell. Can you tell us a little about your relationship with her?
She started tweeting about us and we replied, it built from there. We invited [Chrissy] to 'FriendsGiving' at Taco Bell to experience a custom menu. The Taco Bell Ring, that was to show we are in a relationship with her, to show we love and appreciate everything she does for the brand.
What about other celebrities?
Dillon Francis. He always creates great content around the brand. We are featuring him in our first ever comic about Taco Bell. It's really about having a great time with them and working with people who have a genuine passion for Taco Bell.
What about your presence on other social media platforms, beyond Twitter, what are your tactics?
One of the things we do on our team is be extremely curious. We are always out testing new apps. We start exploring them as consumers, see how our friends would want to engage with us on specific platforms; where we will not disrupt their experience, but add to it.
Recently, about a year ago, we joined Snapchat. In March, we started our Tumblr. We are aggressively growing our audience on YouTube. We find that's another place people want to connect. We want to be on platforms where people want us to be.
People are highly engaged on Instagram, Vine, and Google+.
You were one of the first brands to use Snapchat. Can you tell us about that decision?
It was about letting the core group of people who love Taco Bell know what we were up to. On Snapchat, they have to add us. Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco was introduced through our Snapchat film. What we did was take our social channels and innovated them. When we went to launch [Spicy Chicken], we did it via Snapchat, but we filmed it with professionals.
A huge part of what we do is listen to our audience. 21 million conversations happened last year around Taco Bell. We like to give our audience social currency. We like to let them know when a new product us coming, and they start to advocate on our behalf and spread the word.
What's your next goal with social media? Is there a certain number of followers or fans you'd like to reach?
For us, we really want to create and inspire "Live Mas" experiences. We want to create a deeper relationship with our customer; it's not the number of fans, it's the relationship. We always want to be innovating. Just as our customers are trying new platforms, we are alongside them.
You're making great use of all these technologies. What about developing your own platform or app?
We are in test right now with a mobile ordering app! We are always looking to see where the world is going, so we are ready when our audience is ready. With mobile ordering, we know people are excited to personalize and customize their products, and explore the menu. They would pay through the mobile app as well. You can build your order, pay for it, then just go in and pick it up.
What else is coming up for your social media team?
Next week is an Internet scavenger hunt! The fans that engage will get custom prizes that are in collaboration with The Hundred and Pac Sun. It'll be a cool way to show our innovation within existing platforms.
Okay, time for the serious questions. Tell us about the cafeteria at your office.
I eat Taco Bell all the time at work. We have an amazing team of chefs. We go to the test kitchen and get to test the products. Another great perk of working here — we have a full Taco Bell kitchen in our cafeteria. It's pretty awesome.
What's your favorite Taco Bell product?
It changes, but my current favorite is the Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch and the Fiery Doritos Locos Taco. The Spicy Chicken is interesting, this particular flavor is on the inside of the shell, instead of the shell itself. It's in the sauce as well.
Thank you, Taco Bell. You are the best.