In 1986, Five Guys opened its first location in Arlington, Virginia as a family-run restaurant named after, you guessed it, five brothers. Five Guys now have more than 1,200 franchises across the US, Canada, England, and Scotland.


Followers from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram


Locations around the world


Mentions from a single social media campaign

What they did

The Five Guys online strategy—led by Online Marketing Specialist Kenneth Westling—relies primarily on social media for the bulk of their promotional activities, as well as customer service and public relations.

By connecting directly with customers instead of talking at them, the marketing team keeps the unique Five Guys voice as fresh, exciting, and authentic to new audiences as the already-engaged customer base in the US.

By monitoring a variety of different hashtags it gives us the opportunity to react quickly to negative experiences, but also the opportunity to reach out to those individuals who are either trying us out for the first time, or simply telling us they enjoy our food. These are things we love to hear, and love having the opportunity to engage with these customers on a more personal level.

Photo of Kenneth Westling
Kenneth Westling Online Marketing Specialist Five Guys

How they did it

We asked Kenneth to share his experiences with creating—and maintaining—a fun and consistent brand voice while expanding on a global scale. He pointed out three components of the Five Guys social media strategy that have directly contributed to the company’s 
marketing success:

  • Making customer service the primary use for social media
  • Giving Five Guys’ employees the chance to get involved in the company’s social media efforts—at home and abroad
  • Focusing on engagement metrics and tailoring content based on what works for each social network audience

Make customer service social

The streams layout in the Hootsuite dashboard show social posts related to brand and services keywords, making it easy for the Five Guys team to flag and share any inbound comments or questions with the right corporate team member. Kenneth cites the “who responded to last message” feature on the Hootsuite mobile app (Mobile Assignments) as particularly useful when managing the workload.


Kenneth liaises daily with the Five Guys’ customer service manager to exchange client feedback and get a sense of the overall feeling towards the brand. This information gives him a deeper understanding of the Five Guys’ audience, so he can create content that directly addresses feedback and nurtures customer relationships, boosting sentiment.

Encourage employee participation on social media

Five Guys franchise locations are offered dedicated Facebook accounts to communicate locally about the brand, new flavors or products, and events that resonate with their community.

By empowering franchisees to communicate and collaborate on an international scale, individual branches can uncover customer feedback themselves, respond directly, and make changes that improve the customer experience.

Find out what your customers really think

Hootsuite’s geo-targeting functionality has allowed Five Guys to monitor specific conversation topics as they happen, in specific areas of interest.

By first setting up a good listening strategy, and then breaking it down by location, the Five Guys team gains a deeper understanding of what is working across their global markets, as well as sentiment around individual campaigns or initiatives.

When we opened our first UK location, we used Hootsuite to monitor people’s discussions about us within a certain mile radius of London. We were then able to reach out directly to them to let them know that we were coming. We utilized the geo-located search function to target our UK customer base.

Photo of Kenneth Westling
Kenneth Westling Online Marketing Specialist Five Guys

The results

Creating engaging and authentic content

  • Five Guys’ well-established Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram networks have more than 1 million followers.
  • The #SayCheeseSweeps saw more than 1,000 total mentions on Twitter and Instagram.
  • Five Guys encourage a constant stream of user-generated content—from social contests or feedback gained through customer service.
  • Franchisees are empowered to communicate and collaborate on an international scale.

Just a glance at Five Guys’ well-established Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram networks shows a company that puts the focus on its customers, sharing photos, quotes, and reviews from their clients.

A look at some of Five Guys’ successful social media campaigns

#SayCheeseSweeps is one of their recent successes, with more than 1,000 total mentions on Twitter and Instagram. Customers hashtagged photos of themselves with Five Guys cheeseburgers for a chance to win prizes, and these photos were shared across the Five Guys networks. Audience participation was even greater than expected, so the team recreated the campaign with milkshakes, using the hashtag #ShareYourShake. All promotional posts were scheduled and tracked in the Hootsuite dashboard.

Five Guys is constantly trying to find ways to recognize, reward, and motivate their store-level employees. So the founding family and a team of executives started out on the “Pursuit of Perfection Tour,” paying surprise visits to excellent stores.

They used a series of hashtags to track the tour at every step of the way, giving hints and clues to keep store employees engaged—and give customers a sneak peek behind the scenes.

Kenneth tracks campaign engagement numbers using Hootsuite Analytics. Engagement is the company’s driving metric, so Kenneth creates internal reports through Hootsuite Analytics on likes, shares, reach, best engagement times, and days of high engagement. This kind of quantitative data is invaluable for showing the return on investment in social initiatives, and helps inform future campaign planning.

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