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Restaurant brands, what drives your audience to dine – and to share their experiences on social media? The NetBase Social Media Industry Report 2017: Restaurant Brands is full of insights you can apply – but all brands can use the same approach to craft new strategies from social data.

To create the report, we used NetBase social media listening tools and looked at volume of conversation, awareness (as a measure of earned impressions), reach (a measure of owned impressions), Net Sentiment and Brand Passion. Our analysis studied 100 specific representative brands in the Quick Service (QS), Fast Casual (FC), and Casual Dining (CD) categories from September 1, 2016 to September 1, 2017.

Here are a few highlights:

Consumer recommendations are everything

Though brand recognition is what every brand craves, the draw for consumers now is the opinion of other consumers. Your marketing can’t compete with peer reviews and social commentary – but it doesn’t have to.

Use favorable reviews to reinforce your messaging, and charge influencers with spreading the love.

Quick Service brands rule the top 10

The top ten brands by social rank were all Quick Service, with only one Casual Dining (Olive Garden) and one Fast Casual (Panera) brand in the mix.

These brands account for more than 50% of the total conversation volume, and 84% of the reach for brands researched for this year’s report. But it’s worth noting that volume doesn’t always equal love, as we see looking at Sentiment by volume for the top 10.

Top 10 Restaurant Brands ranked by passion intensity and net sentiment visualized with conversation volume.

For example, McDonalds was the most-discussed brand, but it ranked as #8 socially, not #1.

Taco Bell is getting a lot of things right

Taco Bell’s passionate customer base put them at the top for overall brand performance – and the Mexican chain’s content has a lot to do with that. But that’s not the only way Taco Bell is winning on social media.

They’re also killing it with food influencer programs, smart partnerships – like Microsoft and Xbox One – and new products targeted at unlikely audiences. You wouldn’t expect ketogenic and low-carb enthusiasts to frequent Taco Bell – or any QS restaurant, really – but that’s the beauty of it.

Taco Bell used social listening to find a segment of diners to serve in a new way. And it’s working.

Insights you may be missing

Every report reveals potential blind spots for brands – things you might not realize are important if you’re not using social analytics as your compass.

The channels you engage on matter, and our analysis shows Twitter and Tumblr are the two most active channels for restaurant brands – though Tumblr is often not the first channel brands think to use. Adding it to the mix could be a game changer for brands not using it.

Things like hospitality, cleanliness and accuracy remain areas of opportunity for many brands – but these are topics consumers don’t always reach out about directly. Instead, they’re discussed among friends. Be sure you’re tuned into the conversations that happen beyond direct brand mentions, so you’re not missing this important feedback.

Following social analytics to brand success

If you’re not sure how to take what social reveals and apply it, the report has a number of success stories to emulate. There are also caveats to observe so you don’t have to learn the hard way what other brands have had to. Read the full report to learn:

  • Which brand’s new logo and attitude is a smash hit with consumers?
  • Which brand’s customer service extended as far as hurricane rescue?
  • Which brand is considering dropping their #1 keyword from their name?

And there is so much more to learn by looking at the social insights of these 100 restaurant brands. Whatever your category, there are takeaways you can use.

So download the NetBase Social Media Industry Report 2017: Restaurant Brands. And get cooking on your social strategy!

Want insights about your brand? Reach out for a customized demo of our social media listening tool.

Image from Forsaken Fotos

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