Nando’s, the chicken restaurant, was founded in Rosettenville, South Africa in 1987 by Robert Brozin and his friend Fernando Duarte. With 1051 restaurants worldwide and 315 in the UK, Nando’s has created a finger-licking product that the world has fallen in love with.
Nando’s was first introduced to the UK in 1992 and since then, the people of Britain have never looked back. As Nando’s founder Brozin stated it was ‘love at first bite’ – with Piri-Piri sauce being something other brands struggle to compete with, leaving tongues tingling after you have finished your meal.
So what does a game changing product need? A game changing social media strategy.
Nando’s have created this with millions of people following their every move on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, Google+ and their blog. They use a variety of images, videos and text in their posts which creates interesting and humorous content for their social media communities. They occasionally tailor specific updates to certain platforms, yet often crosspost. It seems that the world of social media can’t get enough of Nando’s – their followings (as of January 2015) include:
- Facebook: 3,273,566
- UK Twitter (@NandosUK): 1,490,000
- Australia Twitter (@NandosAUS): 9,649
- Ireland Twitter (@NandosIRE): 11,600
- Vine: 96,300
- Instagram: 79,100
Research from eDigital found that Nando’s have “more followers on both Facebook and Twitter than any other food and beverage brand” and, in an interview with The Drum, Head of Digital, Jonathan Hopkins, explained:
We’re a fast-moving brand and aren’t afraid of getting stuck in. It’s important for us to experience the same things as our fans – it helps us get closer to them, understand what’s important in their lives and what they’d like from us as a brand. The social communities which we belong to enable us to do just that – so if something new comes along, it’s an opportunity for us to explore.
In the last 6 months, Nando’s UK Twitter followers have been continuously increasing – showing current success and even more potential for the future of the Nando’s social strategy.
Facebook and Twitter:
A major advantage of using social media for Nando’s is the interaction with their customers. Not only do they follow and favourite, Nando’s directly contact people who have made an effort to upload photos by engaging in humour and conversation and have even encouraged the public to tweet Nando’s with their table numbers and location so that Nando’s can give social media shout outs. That’s right – you can become Nando’s famous!
Nando’s have successfully created an online community in which people can interact with the brand and each other with interaction tailored mostly to Twitter. They are quick to respond to tweets that will provide instant humour and attention:
So who's in a Nando's restaurant right now? Tweet us your table number & restaurant so we can show you some #NandosLove!
— Nando's (@NandosUK) September 25, 2014
— Nando's (@NandosUK) October 3, 2014
Nando’s also know exactly who their target audience is. They frequently post photos and small captions specifically trying to communicate with younger audiences, from teenagers at school to sports teams and young adults at university. They also retweet pictures of people at the restaurants which really personalises the brand and makes people feel special and connected. Although Nando’s is a food brand, they manage to make it human and relatable:
— Nando's (@NandosUK) October 16, 2014
Celebrity endorsement through social media is another skill Nando’s have managed to perfect. Younger audiences look up to these celebrities as role models and want to know that they can connect with them through similar interests and Nando’s is one of those interests. Nando’s UK joined YouTube in 2009 and they have over 3000 subscribers and 1 million views altogether. They have created a small series of videos – #NandosGrills – which feature celebrities such as Ed Sheeran, The Vamps, Neon Jungle, JME, Keith Lemon, Rizzle Kicks and Loick Essien:
In addition, the ‘Nando’s Grill Cam’ is a simple, yet genius video of chicken being grilled which makes people hungry. The video also provides links to the website to grab a quick take away! This is an example of product endorsement in a new, exciting and visually stimulating way:
They even took videos at ‘Bestival’ which included people attending the event which people could then follow online.
Ed Sheeran even took to YouTube to endorse Nando’s by creating a song with Example entitled ‘The Nandos Skank’ which got a huge 5,052,981 views!
You can watch more Nandos YouTube videos here.
Vine and Instagram:
Vine really take advantage of the human side of their brand on Vine by showcasing Nando’s employees and customers that visit the restaurants. They also ‘revine’ customer’s videos to reach new audiences and to show that they care about what their audience thinks of the brand.
These videos sometimes feature competitions and games in order to get the people who watch them excited and actively involved. For example, at the end of 2014 Nando’s created a series of ‘Vine Charades’ in which followers had the chance to win an £100 gift card.
However, there has yet to be a Vine for Nando’s UK in 2015.
On Instagram, Nando’s focus on aesthetically pleasing photos of their food. They also use the videos created for Vine and cross post onto Instagram. By using hashtags they take full advantage of a large audience as more people can see their posts and engage in conversation.
Humour and Competitions:
Nando’s are comedic heroes. People familiarise with jokes and humour which creates popularity amongst social media posts, they certainly give both Lee Evans and Michael McIntyre a run for their money!
FACT: We often get guys on dates who order Plain but ask us to put Extra Hot flags in their chicken.#justsaying
— Nando's (@NandosUK) December 4, 2014
Halloumi… is it cheese you're looking for? pic.twitter.com/IVJKSVi44y
— Nando's (@NandosUK) January 12, 2015
Nando’s also create fun competitions which always encourages followers to get involved with the brand. These have included ‘Finger Selfie’ campaigns allowing customers to get creative and post the results on social media.
— Nando's (@NandosUK) April 24, 2014
They even came up with a competition that challenged people to eat at every restaurant around the world to win a Nando’s Black Card, in which you get free Nandos for life. A man took this so seriously on Facebook that he spent £1000 trying to win a Black Card for the competition (The Independent) and posted proof of his pictures on Nando’s Challenge dedicated social media pages. Little did he know that the competition actually ended 2 years prior.
Blog and Google+:
The Nando’s blog is useful for keeping up to date with new restaurant locations, new food products, giveaways and competitions. It makes fans feel a part of the Nando’s brand as it keeps them updated with what’s happening locally so they can be involved in all processes and stages!
Similar to Facebook and Twitter, Nando’s Google+ page with over 154,000 followers and 1.7 million views, is full of competitions, pictures and videos. They cross post content from their Facebook and Twitter accounts however, it is clear that Google+ is not being used as often – but Nando’s should put more effort into their Google+ presence.
As exemplified by Nando’s, when you mix social media with creativity and humour you get a recipe for success. It seems interacting with your customers, knowing who your customers are and understanding what your customers want is just as important as making a great product to consume.
Other brands need to re-evaluate their strategy and take a page out of the Nando’s book. They are personalising and humanising their brand by connecting to real people and real places with continuous witty and informative posts. Celebrities help push the brand but it is the actual videos and consumer engagement through competitions and hashtags that really get followers excited and involved. Both Facebook and Twitter encourage this interaction, however, they need to think about pushing their YouTube and Google+ platforms and post more frequently, as they currently seem to pay more attention to their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages.
The proof is also in the figures: in 2013 Nando’s, who also own Gourmet Burger Kitchen, posted pre-tax profits of £33.4 million for the 12 months ending in February, increasing from £14.7 million the previous year and turnover increased to £485.2 million, from £419.6 million, according to The Standard. Nando’s Group Holdings, which runs the chain in the UK and Ireland, generated a turnover of £535m in the year 2014 (Telegraph) which is a further increase from those found in 2013. Rest assured, if this social media strategy continues, Nando’s are going to have plenty more hungry faces!