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How Hardee’s® used Social Listening to garner new customers

Why social listening matters: a real-life example

It's 7 p.m. on Sept. 13, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee. An interesting text message from a co-worker draws Brent Waible’s attention to a notification he received earlier — it’s a spike alert from Emplifi notifying Waible that something is happening on Twitter. Many people are interacting, and the topic is Hardee’s®. A prominent CEO of a pillow manufacturing company, is having their smartphone confiscated in the parking lot of a Hardee’s® restaurant.

Brent Waible works as a Senior Media Manager at CKE Restaurants Inc., a privately held company that runs and operates Carl’s Jr.® and Hardee’s®, two well-known regional brands known for innovative menu items such as 100% Black Angus Thickburgers® and Made from Scratch™ Biscuits. For the past two years, he has taken on the role of overseeing the brand’s owned social channels.

The pillowy biscuits Tweet

With Emplifi having the social listening solution turned on and properly configured, the team was provided with real-time insights and gave them enough time to act quickly.

"We were notified afterhours via spike alert, which drew our attention to the conversation and allowed us to come up with the approach to lean into the conversation…we got some internal alignment on it and decided to act in the morning...we were then able to capitalize on that," Waible said.

The team posted a first tweet saying: "Now that you know we exist, you should really try our pillowy biscuits" — a reference to what the person involved in the aforementioned incident is known for to the public.

"It turned out to be a win-win on all ends; so definitely a good opportunity and it didn't come across as politically charged," he added.

As a result of the team’s timing and reaction to the spike alert set up in the Emplifi suite, Hardee’s® grew its followers base of 8K and recorded 8+ million impressions as well as almost 18K retweets.

From Twitter to their restaurants

Riding the momentum, the group then collaborated with the loyalty team and came up with a subsequent tweet to generate conversion and turn that digital spike and engagement into action in the physical world. In other words, welcoming people to Hardee’s® restaurants to have a real taste of those aforementioned pillowy biscuits. Here’s what the tweet said:

This resulted in an increase in Hardee’s® app downloads, as well as increased traffic to the restaurants.

"I think it was a successful play for all of us, showing that we’re listening to consumers and plugged in, and that's where we insert Emplifi." Waible said.

The takeaway

In short, it’s not common for Hardee’s® to lean into political or polarizing conversations on social media. However, by listening to their audience on social, the company found an opportunity to leverage a topic of conversation and convert this into an increase in both social following and restaurant meal sales.

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