Chick-fil-A's mission on social is to serve joy to its customers with engaging content that brings the brand's unique experience to life in the social space. And while the iconic "Eat Mor Chikin" cows are synonymous with Chick-fil-A, anyone who's been in one of Chick-fil-A's restaurants knows that the cows are only part of the story.
So Moxie and Chick-fil-A set out to find a way to share a more all-encompassing brand narrative on social — one that showcased the emotional connection it makes with its guests every day. We quickly identified Instagram as the perfect platform. With its beautiful, illustrative images, Instagram is an ideal place to personify Chick-fil-A's brand personality. Here, we could create authentic, visually engaging, highly shareable content that captures the inimitable spirit of Chick-fil-A.
As an organic channel, Instagram tells meaningful stories through images that bring the tastes and experiences of Chick-fil-A directly to its fans' daily feeds. It's everything they love about Chick-fil-A, served up with unique charm. By leveraging paid media, we are able to tell these stories to a targeted audience, helping to drive brand awareness and preference. Each piece of content is (1) created specifically for the Instagram platform and (2) intentionally designed to portray a photo a fan could take, a moment a fan could experience or an exclusive peek behind the scenes of their favorite brand. The Chick-fil-A Instagram channel brings to life the Chick-fil-A brand and puts an experience right at our fans' fingertips.
We craft content on Instagram that brings to life the feeling guests get when they go to Chick-fil-A. Our artful photography showcases real-life moments through the lens of our most raving fans. From mouth-watering, crave-able classics to the quality ingredients and unique preparation techniques that differentiate our products to lighter menu options, we have the opportunity to tell a new story about Chick-fil-A in an entirely visual way. We use regrams from our 357K followers to showcase the beautiful imagery our fans organically create on behalf of the brand. Though our Instagram content's core purpose is to foster brand love, we also look to entice fans to come into our restaurants for meals, celebrations and catering.
When Chick-fil-A introduces menu items, Instagram is a platform where we are able to educate in a relatable way. This spring, New Frosted Lemonade debuted on Chick-fil-A's menu as a frozen beverage perfectly suited for the warmer weather and lighter taste preferences. The product is closer to a lemonade Creamsicle than a slushy, but our fans didn't understand what it was and, as a result, weren't immediately embracing this new product. In fact, they loved or hated the new treat so much that they started creating alliances on social media. To alleviate the confusion, we decided to tell the story behind the product. We chose Instagram as our primary channel because it allowed us to move from telling people about the product to showing them what it was all about. We used artful imagery to show a deconstructed product — the way Chick-fil-A's New Frosted Lemonade is handcrafted in its restaurants — and shared ideas on how to enjoy this new treat. The Instagram campaign not only alleviated confusion for fans, but it also created a common outlet for people to share their own experiences with the product. Throughout the campaign, we saw a 13% average engagement rate.
We also leverage Instagram to amplify brand events like Cow Appreciation Day – a day devoted to thanking Chick-fil-A's fans by sharing their affinity for the "Eat Mor Chikin" cows. Customers who dress in cow costumes are rewarded with free food. Instagram is a means for costume inspiration, as well as a platform for our fans to follow and share the celebrations happening across the nation. It's also a place for fans to share pics of themselves, their families and friends — all donning "cowstumes" of varying complexity — eating chicken sandwiches on this special day. Being a part of Cow Appreciation Day has become a form of social currency for fans, with Instagram being the fastest growing way they share their experience. More than 32,000 fans used the hashtag #CowAppreciationDay during the weeks leading up to — and on the day of — the event in 2015. Cow Appreciation Day content netted more than 176K photo likes (97K Organic Likes and 79K Likes on content with Paid Support).
Our objective on Instagram was to drive post engagements at a rate that exceeded the growth in post reach (engagement rate) — all while growing our overall follower base.
Chick-fil-A's Instagram channel grew 170% (by 208.9K net new followers), increasing the opportunity for organic post reach, which grew 44% in 2015. Despite the dramatic growth in audience size and reach, average likes and comments per post more than doubled, driving an overall engagement rate on Instagram of 14.07% in 2015. On average each organic post reached 80,810 users and garnered 11,047 likes and 257 comments.
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