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Social Media Analysis of KFC


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            This analysis
provides an understanding into the social media presence for the second largest
restaurant chain, KFC. The outline of the restaurant KFC has been described in
this analysis to help understand its position in the food industry. The status
of the company on some of the most popular social media networking sites have
been discoursed to evaluate the existence of the company in social media. KFC
and its competitors have been compared and analyzed explaining how different
restaurants in the food industry utilize social media to interact with their customers.
Based on this assessment, a SWOT analysis has been outlined to notate the
opportunities, strengths, weaknesses and threats KFC faces regarding its social
media presence. Furthermore, the complete analysis highpoints an ethical issue
that may arise due to the KFC’s activities via social media. Lastly, a
conclusion is drawn and scope for deeper research is measured based on the

of Social Media for the Food and Beverage Industry

            CEO’s and other highly ranking executives of the
numerous food and beverage companies are realizing that social, digital and
mobile technologies are hugely impacted by the growth, development and success
of their businesses and have made a remarkable transition over the past five
years. According to Harvard Business Review, a recent analysis by their firm,
Weber Shandwick, found that 80% of the chief executive officers of the
world’s largest 50 companies were
engaged online and on social media. The results, published in “Socializing Your
CEO: From Marginal to Mainstream,” showed that CEO
sociability has more than doubled since they began tracking the social
activities of chief executives in 2010, when only 36% of CEOs were social
(Gaines-Ross, 2015). Therefore, the industry’s top brands such as McDonald’s,
KFC, and Starbuck’s are taking advantage of social media to mold local
communities, discover new product ideas and gather customer feedback.

            Social media is an effective communication tool and allows
KFC to interact with their customers by providing up to date information daily
through their social media websites. Customers like to feel connected to the
restaurants that they love, so social media helps with open communication on
the latest current events and offerings. If there is a new flavor or addition
to the menu, they will know firsthand by the pictures and posts that are posted
on the sites. Social media sites are popular this day and time, so consumers
are more likely to correspond to the latest news rather than going directly to
the website itself. Customers can post on sites, review the restaurant and vote
for the best item on the menu.

            Social media has created competition between the food and
beverage industry. This newest strategy has allowed change for businesses in
how they operate by increasing a vast growth in their business development. A
company that does not utilize the new social marketing trends can risk losing
their customer’s interest in their products. Since social media platforms are
widely used for positive word-of- mouth marketing, companies that use this tool
carefully help increase their chances of having efficient and non-confusing
campaigns and contests.  According to the
journal Maximize Social Media, “word
of mouth” from a marketing perspective is defined as: the passing of
information, hopefully beneficial to our brand, from one to another via oral
communication.  The potential influential power that word of mouth has
when it spreads is what marketers have always wanted to tap, so much so that
giving people something to talk about has become one of the foundations of
marketing and advertising (Schaffer, 2012).


of KFC

            With the mission
of selling food in a fast and friendly environment, KFC started the restaurant
by selling chicken from the roadside and is now the second largest fast food
chain, with McDonald’s leading first. With over 20,500 outlets in more than 125
countries, KFC is now the world’s most popular chicken restaurant chain,
specializing in the original recipe along with Extra Crispy chicken, home-style sides and buttermilk biscuits. KFC
opens around three restaurants a week leading KFC with a current market value
of over $75 billion in revenue.

Status on Social Media

            A 2015 study by Brand Base, a marketing agency, revealed
KFC to be one of the most socially engaging restaurants. The study also
confirms that KFC is successful in all social media ventures, especially
Facebook and Twitter. The use of social media as part of the restaurant’s
marketing strategy has significantly increased the brand awareness and
competition over the last few years. KFC has been actively and aggressively
using the various social media platforms to promote their menu offerings,
promotions, contests, new product launches and most importantly focusing on the
freshness and juiciness of their chicken compared to its competitors since 2011
(Prabhakar, 2013).

            KFC is recognized on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,
Pinterest, and YouTube to name a few. Kentucky Fried Chicken collaborated and
created an aggressive social media approach by differentiating its company from
its competitors like: Popeye’s, Zaxby’s, Church’s Chicken and Chick-fil-A by
using social channels to answer its fans’ questions and provide real-time
customer service promptly. KFC’s content on its social media platforms
elaborate on individual customers experience with the restaurant and its menu
and offerings. Digital tools have helped KFC increase customer communication
and interaction and enhance their experiences to make things better. The
statistics that solidify KFC’s effective online presence are as follows:

49 Million Likes

            The official page
for KFC was created in 2009 starting with a tiny community of followers that
eventually grew to become the largest social media site for KFC. The social
media site was created with the intention of educating customers about new items
on the menu, scholarship opportunities, and other fun events that were being
offered by KFC. This idea was to help create open customer service feedback and
reviews, allowing for better service, menu offerings and brand identity. This
website has more than 49 million likes and receives many likes, comments and
reviews daily helping bridge the gap between KFC and its competitors. 

1.3 Million Followers

            KFC’s agenda for having a Twitter page is to engage with
people, provide feedback for enhancements, address issues of unhappy customers,
and inform customers about new menu offerings, events, scholarship
opportunities, and contests. Since 2008, Twitter has allowed KFC to stay
connected with its customers on a more personal level. KFC utilizes the main
Twitter page and has one “official” twitter account with only 11 followers. USA
Today quotes, “We know KFC can do chicken right,
but they’re pretty good at Twitter, too. The fried chicken restaurant follows 11 accounts on Twitter,
and it’s an interesting bunch. Five accounts belong to each of The Spice
Girls: Geri Horner, Melanie Brown, Emma Bunton, Melanie C and Victoria
Beckham.The other six are accounts of users with the first name Herb, including
Green Bay Packers player Herb Waters and musician Herb Alpert. In case you
haven’t figured this out yet, that’s 11 “Herbs and Spices,” in honor
of KFC’s secret fried chicken
recipe” (Molina, 2017). KFC focuses mainly on the fun
aspects of Twitter, but responds and solves conflicts. Many customers often wondered
why they only followed 11 people, so that became the “talk of the town” for a
while until all of that was resolved.

Instagram: 1.2 Million

            KFC surprisingly has an active presence on Instagram as
well. The company uploads contests, new menu offerings, and pictures of the new
food being changed or added to the menu. Videos are also allowed to be uploaded
via Instagram so KFC takes full advantage and helps promotes their newest tv
commercials to the site also. Outlets around the world including international
locations utilize this service and is posted in all various languages and
cultures. Customers can tag their content related to KFC using the KFC hashtag
and share for the rest of KFC’s followers.

YouTube: 406 Thousand

            KFC utilizes this social media site by uploading their
latest commercials and other fun content. This site created in 2011, is
utilized around the world and videos can also be uploaded in different
languages defending the culture behind KFC. There are videos outlining the
complete history behind KFC and how it was started by Colonel Sanders, as well
as fun challenges by customers and KFC’s menu. For example, one video notates a
small child trying the different spices on chicken with her eyes closed and
then having to guess which spice corresponded with the chicken. People of all ages
can partake in KFC’s social media presence- it can be a lot of fun! The unique
feature of YouTube is that any subscriber can embed a video of their own
opinion of the restaurant, which can also be a disadvantage for the company.
Some videos also show where customers have complained about their food and
wanted to post it for everyone to hear and see. KFC is adamant about responding
quickly and helping make things right. At the end of the day, it is all about
customer service for this brand. After all, the customers are what keep the
restaurant running!

Pinterest: 10,000

            Created in 2013, Similar to KFC’s approach to using
Instagram, the company’s approach using Pinterest is simple. Both sites are
based on visual appearance, so their idea is to post pictures of yummy foods
that look appealing, fresh and delicious; make your mouth water sort of
appealing. Again, customers can snap a picture of their own food that they have
ordered around the world and upload to the site by using a hashtag. Other customers
can like the picture, or comment on the picture. Most times this creates a
“must have” desire for other customers, so the marketing tool has been
successful. Customers also have the choice to “re-pin” these pictures under a
certain board that they have created under their own personal account. For
example, a person might re-pin a picture of the fresh biscuits uploaded under
their “favorite foods” board to keep for themselves or to share for others to

on Social Media

            Even though KFC is
popular on most social media sites, and most of its followers seem to be happy
customers, there is always the downside of negative controversy with anything.
The latest controversy in 2016 involved an Australian KFC restaurant chain. “Warning:
Something hot and spicy is coming soon…..” was tweeted and many customers were
outraged by this “sexual” remark, which was not even closely resembling
anything sexual. The reaction was immediate, with the definitely-NSFW post
racking up more than 1300 retweets in an hour. This created accusations of
sexism, with one person saying the chain had “set women back 50 years”.

Some also suggested that KFC Australia would be on the hunt for a new
social media manager soon. In a statement to, KFC said: “This was a
genuine tweet to launch KFC’s new Hot & Spicy chicken products next week.
It was not intended to offend anyone and we’ve removed the image” (USA Today,
2016). Obviously, the tweet was not intended to protrude an obscene scene
towards their customers, it was intended to promote their new “hot and spicy”
chicken that was new to the menu.

Comparison of KFC and Its Competitors
in Terms of Their Social Media Presence

            Chick-fil-a and Zaxby’s are the immediate competitors
of KFC in the food and beverage industry. Both Zaxby’s and Chick-fil-a have incorporated
many social media sites to stay connected with their customers. Even though
both competitors engage in the same social media sites as their marketing tools
also, they have lower fan following and subscribers (see table 1). Each restaurant
has their own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to the restaurant and
social media sites and all receive different attention matters. The gap between
Zaxby’s and Chick-fil-a notates a potential danger alert, but is an advantage
to KFC. Both competitors are clearly missing points in relation to their social
media marketing according to the data retrieved in this analysis. A study by
Franchise Chatter (2014) suggests that although Chick-fil-a has built a strong presence
on Twitter, it has failed to create a people-oriented image on Facebook because
the company is allowing their customers to provide up to date information on their
events and offerings instead of updating the news themselves. This leads to Instagram
having more followers than Facebook because customers are uploading pictures of
their food and shakes and hash tagging Chick-fil-a to give them credit.

A comparison of KFC and Its Competitors
in Terms of Their Social Media Presence in 2017

Table 1


Social Networking Platforms





48,488,489 million

7,987,239 million likes

1,355,930 million likes


1,247,963 million

883,410 thousand followers

93,668 thousand


405, 203 thousand subscribers

37,685 thousand subscribers

1,711 thousand subscribers


1,201,004 million

863,012 thousand

52,717 thousand


16,388 thousand followers

7,450 thousand followers

1,701 thousand followers


Analysis of KFC’s Social Media Presence

            As the world’s
second largest fast food restaurant, KFC has built a leading presence on social
media worldwide. It is imperative to evaluate, however, the effectiveness of
the brand’s presence on social media must be assessed (see table 2).

SWOT Analysis of KFC’s Social Media Presence




Is active on popular leading social media sites such
as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram
Has the capability to gather large number of likes,
comments and shares from followers, users and customers
Has a large fan base that is engaged due to the
history of the brand
Can modify and change designs to any social media
sites- keeping the trend current with its competitors

Has documented controversies on social media
(especially Twitter) because of certain posts and comments. Example: the “Hot
and spicy” chicken release statement on Twitter.
Has no control over how many followers, fans or
subscribers they have. They can only maximize their marketing strategy by how
well their menu offerings are and how well they keep fun and engaging
activities alive for their customers



Low competition from other competitors
Increasing number of social media fans and users
New developments and innovations: Example: The new
11 spices and herbs chicken that relates to “the spice girls” who are a widely
known music group

Users can dictate what they like, dislike, comment,
review and share on social media sites
Competitors can view, monitor and engage in social
media sites to keep their marketing strategies up to date with its fellow
Aggressive contests by competitors
Future social media changes and structures


Social Media-Related Ethical Issue That KFC May Face

            Ethics are imperative when managing a business because
decisions made determine a company’s image and reputation. Moreover, a business
is to remain ethically correct especially since they are widely presented on
social media sites. If KFC fails to follow ethical guidelines and code of
conduct, it can a create negative impact for their customers and eventually the
company as a whole. One unethical issue that KFC may face as mentioned earlier
is being careful with how they post comments on social media sites. A customer
can take one post the wrong way and immediately claim it is not compliant to
ethics code of conduct. Regardless of how innocent the post proves to be, all
businesses alike must take into consideration how posts can negatively impact
their customers.


            KFC has included technology based strategies to help
market and promote the growth of their business. As KFC continues to grow and
expand worldwide, social media will continue to adopt and offer the latest
trends. KFC’s marketing strategies continue to expand the growth of their
followers, fans and subscribers. This creates a plan that is effective for continuous
growth to keep ahead of its competitors. KFC has saved money on their marketing
budget by utilizing social media websites and relying on their customers to
give them high ratings.

            The comparison with its immediate opponents Chic-fil-a
and Zaxby’s shows that KFC is highly popular on social media and proves that
their customers are engaged in their offerings and contests. The brand has
created a digital dialogue with its fans and customers allowing them to provide
adequate feedback for growth. KFC is great for providing speedy resolutions to
any dilemmas, so customers trust in KFC and their promises and commitments.
This method will continue down a path of growth and development for the food
and beverage industry. Despite any future litigations and controversies, KFC is
ahead of their competitors. In order for KFC to eventually become the number
one restaurant worldwide, they must continue to keep current with the latest
social media trends and double check their ethically driven comments and posts


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