Shake Shack: Shaking The Instagram Influencer Marketing Sphere

How this 15 yr-old brand captures the hearts of Millennials and Gen Zs

Shake Shack’s milkshake brings all millennials and Gen Zs to the yard and here’s why…

Background Info

Shake Shack started in 2004 as a stand selling hamburgers, hotdogs, fries and its namesake milkshakes and since then, have grown rapidly. Shake Shack has grown to be the largest part of the USHG’s portfolio. Its average store revenue of US$4 million is more than twice that of McDonald’s average store revenue within the United States and in January 2015, Shake Shack’s initial price of $21 rose to $47, a 123% increase in share price on their first day of trading.

Today, it owns and operates 249 locally and 16 countries internationally, including the USA, Japan, Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong and a newly opened one in Mexico City.

Age Demographics for @shakeshack, provided by Popular Chips

51.84% of their followers are aged 18-35, indicating that most of their target audience are actually Gen Z and Millennials, which is a big sum if you ask me.

To become this big within such a short period of time, the marketing team at Shake Shack has done an amazing job and today, we will see how much effort they took to make Shake Shack the ‘it’ place for young adults aged 18-35.

Social Media Aesthetics

@shakeshack analysis, provided by Popular Chips

Shake Shack boasts a total of 615k followers on Instagram and a steady audience growth of 2.17% in the last 30 days. Additionally, Shake Shack derives engagement rates of .95%, which is higher than many other brands’average (.5%).

Additionally, @shakeshack has an aesthetically pleasing platform, with a curated and organised Instagram story highlight:

Courtesy of @shakeshack

As well as many foodtographic pictures like:


View this post on Instagram

The ultimate @GameOfThrones watch party is yours for the taking… As we gear up for the season finale, we’re givin’ two lucky winners a $250 Shack gift card + exclusive Shack x GoT t-shirts! (Just imagine how many Dragonglass Shakes that’ll get ya. 🙌) To enter, follow @ShakeShack, comment on this post telling us what you would do #ForTheThrone + tag your watch party crew. 👇 Winners will be randomly selected on 5/7! The fine print: No purchase necessary to enter or win. Limit one (1) submission per person. Limit five (5) t-shirts per winner. Must be 18 years old or older to enter. Winners will be announced on May 7, 2019. This Sweepstakes is no way sponsored, endorsed, affiliated or associated with Instagram. See Official Rules for more details (linked in bio). #shakeshack #gameofthrones #contest

A post shared by SHAKE SHACK (@shakeshack) on

I don’t know about you, but these burgers are hitting right at my stomach and I believe millennials and GenZs, who spend most of their time on social media, would be even more allured by these HD photos that almost seem too real and so delectable. Combined with the aesthetically pleasing profile that makes anyone want to know more about the account, it is no wonder that many people look at Shake Shack to feed their longing for a good burger or milkshake.

To show you how alluring these pictures are:

@shakeshack’s top post within the last 3 months, provided by Popular Chips

@shakeshack’s top posts, including the 2 above, are all aesthetically pleasing foodtography, indicating the appreciation the followers have for these mouth watering photos.

Market Segmentation

Shake Shack expanded globally back in 2013 when they opened locations in Russia, Kuwait and London. Today they serve in 16 countries outside of the USA, with their newest addition in Mexico, that opened its doors on June 28, 2019. How is Shake Shack able to open in so many international markets so successfully? Well, their secret is via Market Segmentation.

The marketing team at Shake Shack segments their markets very meticulously in order to make the foods palatable to the locals. While Shake Shack serves their original (and perhaps the products that MADE Shake Shack) ‘’Shroom Burger’,  ‘Shack Attack’ and ‘Shack Stack’, they also create country-exclusive menus that are inspired by the local culinary experience. 

Some examples include the ‘Pandan Shake’ in @shakeshacksg (Singapore):

and ‘Uji Matcha Shake’ and ‘Kyoto Cookie Krete’ in @shakeshackjpn (Japan):

View this post on Instagram

4月1日に(月) #シェイクシャック京都四条烏丸 店がOPENします。それを記念して、3月28日(木)19:00-21:00にVIPパーティーを開催。@ShakeShackjpn フォロワーの方々の中で、参加を希望する10組(20名)の方を特別にご招待いたします。 . 参加したいシャックファンは、この投稿にコメント&一緒に来場されるお友達をタグ付けしてください。当選結果は3月25日に当選者にのみご招待のDMをお送りさせていただきます。皆さまのご応募をお待ちしております! . ※会場はシェイクシャック京都四条烏丸店になりますので、開催日時に来場可能な方のみご応募ください。 . #shakeshackjpn #シェイクシャック #京都 #抹茶 #party

A post shared by Shake Shack Japan (@shakeshackjpn) on

They’ve also released country exclusive ‘souvenir’ like the Singapore Merlion badge:

This is an ingenious idea that led many to try Shake Shack even outside their home country because of these demographic-exclusive menus and a great way to assimilate into the local culture. To show you the success of localising:

@shakeshacksg’s top post within the last 3 months, provided by Popular Chips

The post about the Merlion badge in Singapore became the top performing post with 1,481 likes and 1,159 comments of @shakeshacksg, showing great appreciation by the locals.

Engagement on Social Media

Shake Shack may not have the hugest amount of followers in comparison to McDonalds (3.5million) and Taco Bell (1.3million), who are veterans and long runners of the fast food and beverage industry. That said, Shake Shack reels in higher engagement rates than the other brands and this is because they try to engage their customers whenever possible. It participates in a variety of causes including ‘Stand For Something Good’ movement where Shake Shack supplied students the materials needed for the #MarchForOurLives movement:

As well as collaborating with @nohungrykid to give free shake vouchers to customers who donate $2 to the foundation:

Courtesy of @shakeshack

They also recently encouraged their consumers to post and tag @shakeshack during Coachella for a chance to be featured on their account:

Courtesy of @shakeshack

This generates buzz as people mention @shakeshack thereby creating brand awareness which leads to higher chances of customer conversion. As many social media users are Millennials and Gen Zs, they will hear of Shake Shack and will become curious to try Shake Shack, especially if they share the same sentiments as the brand.


Millennials and Gen Z focuses on corporate social responsibility and ethical sourcing and thus, Shake Shack puts a huge tick on that list by being transparent. From their Frozen Custards to their Burgers, Shake Shack always makes it a point to ensure that their products are ethically sourced and are as clean as possible and they make it a point to tell their audience.

Courtesy of @shakeshack

They cleverly put this information in their highlight album titled ‘SFSG’, giving the full coverage on how their products are sourced and shows stories of the cows being grass-fed. This allows customers to always be able to view the proof (unlike 24-hour-long stories) and is not filtered out by the many posts (@shakeshack posts at least once a day).

It’s amazing how much Shake Shack does to ensure that their customers are given premium grade food. Their tireless efforts to ensure that all their marketing is on point and their cult-like following of millennials an Gen Zs are definitely results of their hard work.

To find out more about how fast foods increase engagement in influencer marketing, click here!

If you’d like to get an influencer analysis, click here~

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