I was scrolling through my Twitter feed this week and I saw a retweet from a tweet originally posted by Denny’s, and I was surprised by something. I found it funny. Denny’s? Funny? Really? But after searching the rest of their feed, I realized that this was not an isolated event. Not everything was laugh out loud funny, but for a breakfast food chain restaurant, it was notable. It’ll make you think that the account had been hijacked by a group of 16 year olds. But if you look at their other social media accounts, you’ll realize that this is a coordinated effort across all their platforms.
A large part of it can be attributed to the leadership of a man names Erwin Penland, who took over as the Senior VP of Digital Strategy, and his team of 5 or 6 employees. In fact, since that point, they have increased fan growth by 150%, with around 1800 average engagements per post. That comes out to around 900 million social impressions and 15 million engagements in the last two years. Denny’s has a unique strategy that, however bizarre, has become incredibly successful for them. Just take a look at this tweet:
This is a real tweet sent out by Denny’s, a company that has been around for decades, on Pi day (March 14th). I think we can all agree that this is an unusual tweet to be sent out by such an established brand, but it seems to be working for them, so let’s look at why.
Reasons For Denny’s Success
- They are different
- Their social media presence gives them a unique voice that is very welcoming and somewhat relatable.
- The team actually has this in mind when they post – they want this voice to mimic the type of person someone might want to sit down with and have a conversation with at a Denny’s.
- It’s funny
- Funny wins out over a lot of other types of material. Denny’s usually manage to keep their content related to the restaurant itself, but regardless they are just trying to generate funny material – and people like that.
- They are current
- They post about topical subjects (usually internet trends) that people can grab on to. It also keeps them popular with a young user base.
This social media team is all about building the brand and nothing else, besides perhaps making people hungry. They want to give their brand a distinct personality that will resonate with a young user base. The result is content that seem to be a perfect mix of planning and spontaneity. Denny’s focus on funny content permeates through their whole team, who are selected not only from backgrounds in social media, but also film, writing or other creative fields. This team knows their audience well, and it pays off.
Denny’s engage with their customers on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, but also on YouTube. Their YouTube page airs episodes of a series called The Grand Slams, which regularly generate over 100,000 views each.
Just like we’ve seen with various other companies, Denny’s are not in the business of advertising. Rather, they are trying to just generate interesting and engaging content. Their posts rarely show the Denny’s logo, nor does it appear at the end of their YouTube video. By all accounts, they are not a deal centric social media team. When it comes to marketing, Denny’s understand the importance of ‘not one size fits all’, and they have found a voice that best suits them. Everything Denny’s do is directed towards enhancing the brand as a whole, and this is something that they are incredibly successful at.
I will leave you all with some other posts from the account that will hopefully give you an insight into the unique kinds of things they post, as well as maybe a few chuckles:
and my personal favourite….