How Dunkin’ Donuts Uses Social Media

SocialTimes recently caught up with Kevin Vine, interactive marketing manager at Dunkin’ Brands, to discuss Dunkin’ Donuts’ social media strategy, which platforms it uses, its most successful social media campaigns and more.

Question: In what year did Dunkin’ Donuts start using social media, and what platform did it start out on?

Answer: Dunkin’ Donuts started using social media with the creation of its Facebook brand page and Twitter account in late 2008.

Q: What is Dunkin’ Donuts’ overall social media strategy and more specific objectives?

A: We always like to say that we don’t own our social media channels, our fans do. As a result, our social media strategy is aimed at growing and maintaining a highly engaged global community of Dunkin’ Donuts fans. We work to consistently provide meaningful content and promote a two-way dialogue between the brand and our passionate fans. We’re a fun brand, and our guests who rely on us for coffee and donuts expect a little fun from us by making Dunkin’ Donuts part of their daily lives, either through status updates with pictures or questions or with fun challenges and sweepstakes tied to our marketing calendar initiatives.

Locally, building brand awareness and engaging guests in new markets, both domestic and international, has also been a key objective of our social media channels. We enlist regional and international partners to hyper-localize social media efforts and connect with local communities within our larger follower base who run on Dunkin’ and want to know about what is happening at Dunkin’ Donuts in their hometowns.

Q: How many DD and/or agency folks are dedicated to working on social media for DD?

A: The Dunkin’ Donuts social media team consists of nearly a dozen people working out of “The DD Mothership,” the social media team’s nickname for Dunkin’ Donuts’ headquarters in Canton, Massachusetts. We also bring in public relations agencies for support in local markets and brainstorming for sweepstakes and promotions on our Facebook pages and Twitter handles.

Q: Which social media platforms do Dunkin’ Donuts use?

A: Currently, Dunkin’ Donuts has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Q: What is the most recent social media platform Dunkin’ Donuts has launched on, and how does it use it?

A: Dunkin’ Donuts recently launched Pinterest and Instagram pages this spring. On Pinterest and Instagram, we’re creating and sharing content based on how Dunkin’ Donuts fans are already engaging with the brand on these channels as our way of celebrating what makes them special and keeps them running. We also want to surprise and delight them with unique Dunkin’ Donuts content through special images and boards dedicated to what’s going on in our office, or by sharing special, one-of-a-kind donuts at our restaurants around the world.

Q: What other platforms are DD looking at?

A: We’re always evaluating new social media platforms where we can engage with our fans and celebrate how they’re running on Dunkin’. We have recently ventured into various mobile and location-based promotions, and they will continue to be an important part of our social media efforts in the future. We understand our busy guests are always on the go and are therefore becoming increasingly more dependent on their smartphones to keep them running. It is important that our team continuously develop mobile programs to allow our guests to connect with the brand even more. These programs, like our Foursquare application, are very exciting as they not only drive traffic to our restaurants, but they also encourage our guests to engage with the brand while actually inside a Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant.

In the past, we’ve conducted multiple highly engaging mobile and location-based social media programs via outlets such as Facebook, Foursquare and Scvngr. We plan to continue to surprise our fans with exciting new programs moving forward.

Q: Which social media platform does Dunkin’ Donuts draw the most engagement from?
A: As a result of our fan-centric approach to social media, Dunkin’ Donuts has a very strong following on our various platforms (6.6-plus million likes on Facebook, 150K-plus followers on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+); however, there isn’t one platform that gives us the “most” engagement. Each social media platform is unique in its own way and the type of engagement varies from Facebook to Twitter and so on.

Q: What social analytics tools does DD use?

A: Buddy Media and Radian6 are among the various social analytics and monitoring tools we use. We also use Co-Tweet and a number of other platforms to pool our data, monitor trends and respond to conversations accordingly.

Q: How does DD measure ROI when it comes to social media?

A: With more than 6.6 million fans on Facebook and 150,000 followers on Twitter, Facebook and Twitter are extremely important and engaged audiences of “DD fans” for us to communicate with. While Dunkin’ Donuts does have measurement strategies for all of the social media sites we engage on, we focus on fan engagement. Ask any member of the Dunkin’ Donuts social media team, and they’ll say that we don’t own our social media sites, our fans do. As a result, everything you see us do, even if it’s just answering a question, is dedicated to providing our fans and followers with a great experience, thanking them for their loyalty and celebrating the many ways they run on Dunkin’. We strongly believe that every one of our followers is important and do our best to make them feel special when we can.

Q: What has been Dunkin’ Donuts’ most successful social media campaign? Why?

A: It’s hard to determine which campaigns have been the most successful. Almost any campaign we have done has achieved great results, and every campaign offers the opportunity to learn what works well and what can be tweaked for the future.

Some of the campaigns that have been among our most successful and engaging include:

On National Donut Day (June 1), we launched our new digital billboard in Times Square. The most exciting part about our new billboard is that it will allow us to showcase the brand’s most passionate guests by tapping directly into our prominent social media fan base which consists of over 6.6 million Facebook fans. Through this engaging application, our fans’ images will be broadcast on our billboard above the Crossroads of the World so that the millions of people who travel through Times Square each day will be able to see who Dunkin’ Donuts’ greatest fans are.

Dunkin’ Donuts also launched the “What Are You Drinkin’?” Facebook campaign earlier this year, which allowed fans to visit the “What Are You Drinkin’?” Facebook application each day to share what, why, where or when they were drinkin’ at Dunkin’. The answers submitted by fans were written in Dunkin’ Donuts’ iconic font and became sharable content as fans could post their responses to their Facebook walls. Additionally, Dunkin’ Donuts selected one participating fan each day to win a $100 Dunkin’ Donuts Card and a customized DD mug with the fan’s “What Are You Drinkin’?” response inscribed on it. Each entry was in the running for a grand prize: their picture featured on Dunkin’ Donuts’ new digital billboard in Times Square, a weekend in New York City with three friends, and free Dunkin’ Donuts coffee for a year.

In particular we’ve seen a lot of success on Twitter with fun sweepstakes and promotions that engage fans on an ongoing basis. For example, the past few holiday seasons we have hosted a HoliDDay Sweater Contest on Twitter, where we asked followers of @DunkinDonuts to submit photos of themselves wearing their favorite and most festive holiday garb for the chance to win a $50 Dunkin’ Donuts Card during the holiday season. For Mother’s Day, in honor of the Mom’s Heart Donut, Dunkin’ Donuts asked followers of @DunkinDonuts to tweet why they “heart” their mom for the chance to win prizes for themselves and for their mothers including two Keurig Brewers, two Dunkin’ Donuts K-Cup Packs and one “This Mom Runs On Dunkin'” Tumbler. On Black Friday, Dunkin’ Donuts saw its largest daily increase of followers for the year during the “Dunkin’ Donuts Puts the ‘K’ in Black Friday” Twitter contest. The morning of Black Friday, followers of @DunkinDonuts could submit how Dunkin’ Donuts keeps them running on Black Friday for the chance to win a Keurig Brewer and Dunkin’ Donuts K-Cup packs.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

A: In a competitive marketplace we’ve certainly been able to distinguish ourselves with a high level of social engagement. Through fun sweepstakes and promotions and by engaging with fans and followers we plan to continue to distinguish Dunkin’ Donuts’ social media channels and connect with fans of the brand in new and interesting ways.

Tim Sohn is editor of the mediabistro Morning Social Media Newsfeed. You can reach him at, on Twitter @editortim, or through his website,