Follow Friday: Boloco

How heated can a burrito debate get? We chat with Boloco's director of marketing, Alexandra Dunk, to find out.

Follow Friday, At a Glance
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Throughout the past decade, burrito joints have popped up faster than Boston can count them, and enthusiasts have shown their approval by waiting in lines that wrap around the stores during rush hour to satisfy their guacamole cravings. There’s no place, however, quite like our very own Boloco, where burrito fanatics can get a taste of globally inspired ingredients like teriyaki chicken or Thai-style peanut sauce.

Boloco burritos are a special breed, and they deserve a special brand, so it’s no surprise that the innovative burrito chain should have an equally adventurous social media team backing it. To learn what it’s like to manage the Boloco accounts, we talked to Alexandra Dunk, director of marketing, about Snapchatting new recipes, dating Boloco, and just how heated burrito debates can get.

Between all the different accounts, how do you manage the social media for Boloco?

We have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Youtube. We actually have two Twitter accounts, @boloco and @bolocobuzz. You’ll definitely see some different types of conversations and content happening on those—@Boloco is where we tend to push out our own new content and let people know about promotions and food. @Bolocobuzz is where you’ll really see more conversations with our guests. That’s where we respond to all feedback.

We do really involve our team in managing social media. In terms of actually interacting with our guests, that’s something that we encourage all of our team members to participate in. It’s really important to us that guest feedback gets to the right person at the right time. If a guest tweets about an experience they had a certain restaurant or maybe they have a question about a menu item, we want to get that feedback to the right person, so I would actually ask our director of culinary to step in and respond to a tweet about a menu item, for example.

Where does your content come from? 

It’s very much a creative and spontaneous process. It’s a lot of fun. We’re a small team, so it’s very collaborative, which is awesome. We had the idea when we were bringing back the Memphis BBQ as a limited-time offer that we really wanted to play up the Elvis theme, so we bought an Elvis costume. The only one left in stock was an extra large, and there was only one person we thought of who could fit, one of our area directors. He was kind enough to humor us and pose for the photographs. Around the photographs, we decided to create a campaign, so we rewrote Elvis song lyrics and famous quotes about burritos, and then we hashtagged them things we think Elvis said. That was just a very spontaneous, one-thing-led-to-another process.

We also had a video series earlier this year which I really enjoyed. It was a three-part series of short videos about relationships with Boloco, because we hear from our guests so often that it is a relationship—maybe it’s new, maybe it’s old. There are all these different stages of relationships, but people often say Boloco is my boyfriend, or I’m committed to Boloco, things along those lines. We decided to do the three-part video series and they’re meeting Boloco, dating Boloco, and committed to Boloco.

Describe the voice and tone of Boloco’s social media in three words.

I really want to stretch it to a few more than three words. The words I would use are we’re human, we’re 100 percent honest, and we’re appealingly off-center. I know that’s more than three but we’re just not very good at counting over here.

I saw that you’ve recently added Snapchat. That’s very new for companies to be using. How are you using Snapchat to promote your brand?

We’re excited to add that and integrate that part as part of our social media strategy. We’re intending on doing some things on our Snapchat that you’re not going to see on our other social media, such as possibly running special promotions and deals that only our Snapchat users would be able to see. I use Snapchat and also Instagram a little bit differently. I really like to see pictures of things that we’re taste-testing at our headquarters, or maybe we’re out on a road trip and we’re headed to a really cool event that we’re doing.

One day we decided to wrap a burrito in bacon. These weird things happen and I think Instagram and Snapchat lend themselves really well to that kind of content in particular. People flip out over that content. We posted a cheeseburger burrito that we’re taste-testing right now—people were just going nuts over it on Instagram.

can you guess what we're taste testing? here's a hint: grilling season isn't that far away… 😉

A photo posted by Boloco (@bolocogram) on

What’s the weirdest, most surprising or outspoken feedback you’ve gotten from someone who follows you?

When I first started working for Boloco, I had to pick a sign-off for Twitter, so we all have our own little sign-off that we use when we’re tweeting from @bolocobuzz to let the guests know who they’re speaking with. My last name is Dunk, so I chose slam dunk. We have this absolutely amazing guest who saw the sign-off and thought it was super funny and actually created a meme for me of Michael Jordan slam dunking a burrito. I saw it and thought, “Our guests are so unbelievably creative.” We thought it was so cool that we tweeted it from @Boloco as well.

2014-03-21 Michael Jordan Meme

I’m always amazed that people get so heated about burritos. I check our social media accounts generally before I go to bed and when I wake up as well to make sure that all is right in the world, and I’m always amazed that in those five or six hours that I’m asleep, there can be absolutely insane, super-heated conversations comparing us to Chipotle, Qdoba, Anna’s—any other burrito restaurant out there. It’s 3 a.m., 4 a.m., and they’re tweeting, and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, guys, it’s 3 a.m.—you need to go to bed!” I’m also frequently amazed and pleasantly surprised by how much people truly love burritos.

We also have run contests via social media. Last summer, we didn’t know what to name our new kale smoothie. We had a contest, we asked for name suggestions, and once we had a bunch, we held voting online. It’s actually a guest who came up with the name Tropikale. Our guests are creative and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t go to them.

Of all the different channels, which one is the must-follow and why?

Twitter. We have a faithful, engaged, and ever-growing list of followers, and I think it’s where people tend to go to first to get information about Boloco. Whether you’re new or a returning guests, I think it’s what people tend to gravitate toward and I think it’s what we tend to share most. If we’re putting together a flyer, or a coupon, or print advertisers, we would include our website and we would include our Twitter handle first. It’s where you can go to get a little taste of what we’re all about and hear what we have coming up in store.

What is your personal favorite thing you have put out onto social media?

Right now, we’re doing a series of videos, and I love them because they profile our team members. Boloco is a team and it’s so important to always have our team front and center. They’re such amazing people, and we’re interviewing them about what they would put in their own Boloco bowl. It’s a series called My Bowl, and we’re putting them out just about every Monday. The videos profile our food and all of the options and that’s what we are all about. It profiles our team members, who are fantastic. It brings together two things that are definitely soft spots for me.


Responses have been edited and condensed.