Culver’s, famous for its Butter Burgers and frozen custard, is heavily franchised—only nine of its 427 stores are company-owned. But to keep messaging consistent and response time short, Culver’s centralizes its social media efforts, monitoring Twitter and Facebook from its home base 24/7. Tweets and posts fall on the agile fingers of the internal marketing team with help from an outside agency.
“Our main online focus is engagement with customers,” says Emily Patterson, marketing manager. “The goal is to respond to our fans ASAP. It’s an extension of our mission statement—to have ‘every customer who leaves Culver’s leave happy.’ Social media gives us an opportunity to communicate and engage outside our restaurants so they remain happy.”
On Facebook, posts reflect a balance of Culver’s events, company news and customer feedback.
“Facebook tends to be more of a listening tool—we use it to answer questions and respond to concerns,” Patterson explains, “while Twitter is more about having fun.”
Tweets cover everything from contests, to specials of the day, trivia and holiday promotions. With both platforms, transparency is the number one priority, Patterson adds.
Franchisees are generally happy with the centralized approach. “They can still send us local promotions and community or store news and we’ll post or tweet about it,” Patterson notes. “It takes the responsibility off busy store managers.”
Culver’s placed Number 51 on Restaurant Business’ exclusive ranking of restaurant operators by social media activity.