Smashburger: A Social Media Case Study

25 Mar 2010 | written by Janet Thaeler for the Small Business Tips, Social Networking section(s)

Smashburger: A Social Media Case Study
Image by April Atwater

Hungry to try social media but don’t know where to start? This hip & modern brand is a franchise but focuses on giving their  customers an experience. Hint: It’s not like McDonald’s where everything is almost the exact same.

The basis of social media is having something to talk about. Something people would actually care to know. Smashburger has done this so well that at times people write or act as if it’s their very own company (how’s that for feeling a part of a business – a good problem to have!).

I interviewed the founder of Smashburger Tom Ryan about how they find fans and build their brand on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. The idea for the article came to me after I interviewed someone who was invited to their opening in Utah.

I like that they employ local PR firms in every city and give them a lot of freedom to create and implement the plans. They also train them in person so the firm knows their social media policies and company culture.

Read on to learn about “eat & tweets” and how Smashburger has built social media into their brand.



  • vanessa |   Mar 25th, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    I am not sure that they hire local PR firms in each city….maybe I am wrong but the women I met with heading up their local UT campaign were from St. Paul…I thought…

  • Dan Garfield |   Mar 26th, 2010 at 7:12 am

    From the article “Each store works with a local PR firm who goes to headquarters in Denver to train and learn SmashBurger’s social media policy.”

    They have a national team and then they get each franchise to run their own local campaigns.

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