What Taco Bell Can Teach You About Being a Better Social Media Marketer

Most companies feel the urge to be active across every major social network, it’s an anxiety perpetuated by other businesses, the media and users themselves. Yes, it is important to have a presence on the social networks where your target audience is present and most active, but that’s very different than being everywhere across the social media ecosystem.

The biggest mistake businesses make is failing to realize each platform has its own audience, features, and user preferences, but unfortunately businesses often broadcast the same message across all their channels in effort to be active everywhere and seem like they are ahead of the curve.

It doesn’t do your business any good to share the same link, text, and image on Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram. There’s nothing wrong with recycling content, but there is a problem with being lazy and not customizing your content to the user’s experience and expectations on a social network.

Recycle, But Don’t Be Lazy

For example, JanSport posted this tweet on Twitter and this post on Facebook on the same day with the same exact photo, text, and link. The content shared didn’t really provide any value to their audience, especially because it was shared with both their Twitter and Facebook followers with the exact same message.

The tweet was technically unique since it did include the hashtag #JanSport, but again this adds very little value to someone on Twitter who already knows the tweet is from JanSport. When the same exact content is shared across your different social accounts, it defeats the purpose of a customer following you on Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere since they can get the same exact messaging across any of your channels.


The point of using each social network to begin with is to offer a unique experience for your fans that is engaging no matter what channel they are active on. In order to correct this problem, JanSport could have used this same photo but recycled it more effectively by posting each update on different days with different messaging.

Simply altering the text to match the platform it was shared on would have gone a long way towards making each post a unique piece of valuable content on both Twitter and Facebook. When posting to Twitter, you’re limited to 140 characters so the text used in that tweet could have been a question, a call-to-action, a tip about their products or something interesting to share about the photo.

The character limit on Facebook is 63,206 per post; so there was much more room to add a stronger context to the photo with a brief explanation and a question engaging their audience in the conversation. When posting content to different social media channels it’s important to pay attention to the various limitations and unique features that each offers in order to reach your audience with the type of content they’re actually interested in seeing.

The Taco Bell Approach


To see how to effectively launch a multi-channel social campaign and avoid this common mistake, start taking notes from Taco Bell. In celebration of the company’s upcoming birthday, they released a video of various influencers on social media sharing 25 interesting facts about Taco Bell. To do this correctly, they published the video on YouTube and then shared a link to the full video and a shorter trailer on each social network over a few different days with different versions of text accompanying the post.


Taco Bell shared this video on Pheed, this tweet on Twitter, and shared the shorter trailer on Instagram due to the restrictions in video length of that social network. The company was smart to build a trailer for use on Instagram and other channels with video length limitations to further drive traffic to the full video. Creating a trailer in addition to the full video is exactly the type of strategy to make use of your content on multiple platforms catered to their unique intricacies. They successfully used the technique of recycling the same content across each of their social networks by creating unique messaging around the content each time it was shared over the week..


Action Steps for Refocusing Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

In order to solve this problem, businesses must take four things into consideration when it comes to their ongoing social media strategy:

1. Learn the unique feature sets of each social network you’re active on to better present the content you wish to share on that platform. For instance, GIF’s resonate on Tumblr, short blurbs of text do well on Twitter, Pinterest is for curating visual content, and Instagram is a visually focused channel for offering behind the scenes insights.

2. Save time and become more efficient with your social publishing schedule by using a variety of social media tools like SumAll, Mention, Zapier, Feedly and others to better optimize your content and activity on these networks.

3. With the help of social tools and a stronger understanding of what works on each channel, it’ll be easier to build quality social posts for your business. Quality always prevails over quantity, therefore a less is more approach to your social media will start your organization off to a good start.

4. Lastly, listen to the feedback of your audience to better understand what types of content are doing well on which social networks. You should think of social media not just as a source to broadcast your content, but also as social listening tools. Your social media strategy will always evolve and need actionable input to stay on track for long-term success.

Have you seen other business making this mistake across social media? Has your business had issues coming up with enough unique content to fuel your various social channels? Share your insights below!

Updated November 21, 2017.

10 thoughts on “What Taco Bell Can Teach You About Being a Better Social Media Marketer

  • What I can learn from Taco Bell is they have a budget for a team of social media managers. When you’re a SMB and wear 40 hats each day it’s really hard to be everything to everyone. It would be nice if the tools that are out there would better allow uniqueness than clone message stamping but they all echo the same abilities with very little innovation between them.

    All we can do is keep slugging it out against those with means. Doesn’t mean we don’t care. Just means we’re trying to do what we can in the little slices of availability we have to deal with it all.

    • I understand where your coming from Andy as a fellow small business owner myself. However, there approach is possible to some degree by focusing on the quality of your messaging (not stressing about have many messages across all social networks at once) and using the right tools to help automate some of the pain points (like Sumall for measurement and Buffer app for scheduling your content). Tools like these can help streamline the process and speed up the likelihood that you’ll be able to achieve the results you’re looking for with a minimal time commitment. I hope that helps.

      • Sure, I do grok the finer points. Our issues illustrate a need in the market for tools more refined than Hootsuite or Buffer. It’s not about rebroadcasting it’s about queueing easily and demographically for each social platform. Tuning, shaping, and letting similar, tangential posts propagate in a better way.

        I see the problem most days for myself, or my clients, but there are just not enough easy process driven responses for being a good community cultivator beyond a handful of outlets. The time sink is just too great. Always watchful for new and helpful tools and ways that we can all use them. 😀

        • I agree Andy, keep in touch if you find any tool that helps best deal with all the nuances of being a social media manager since no one tool does at this point or at least in my opinion. You can always find me on Twitter as well: @BrianHonigman

    • One of my hats working for a small family business is to take the reigns of our social media and online development. I agree with Andy in the sense that large corporations can dedicate full time staff to get across all social media platforms to deliver their messages. Trying to have a different voice on each unique social media platform may be an effective model for big business but for small business it is simply impractical and enormously time consuming.

      We certainly feel that having a great website and up to date social media on the bigger providers noteably Facebook, Twitter and Google are important tools in the modern age. Social media isn’t really a service that we use to net a heap of new business, instead our vision is to begin building a database of interesting information that we can then communicate forward to our clients/potential clients to educate and inform. Its a way of having an ongoing conversation with people who want to see who we are and what we are up to are without having to pick up the phone.

      That being said to ensure that your clients/customers know that we are doing all of this great work we need to COMMUNICATE that we have these social media services for their use. Phone calls, meetings, email notifications, referrals and good old fashioned word of mouth are still king when it comes to small business. I feel that is far to presumptuous to think that your business marketing starts and ends with the posts that you put up on the internet, a trend which sadly seems to be all too familiar these days.

  • Thanks for this, Brian. We too do a bit of recycling with our original content, but we try to tailor items for Twitter and Facebook audiences and even for specific Twitter accounts that we manage. Have you ever considered featuring some public school Twitter accounts? Their audiences, at least the student part, keeps all of us older content providers and coordinators on our toes. It’s a coveted demographic for the sales people, but some public school districts seem to have a feel for this group while others fall flat. Wake County, NC (@WCPSS) is impressive and prolific. Of course, @JCPSKY has a few tricks too.

    • Thanks for reading Justin! Yes, a little recycling of social content can make all the difference from a scaling perspective. I’ll be sure to think about including some public school accounts in future pieces. Cheers!

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