4September, '13

Top 3 Restaurants Doing It Right On Social Media


How are these social food kings making ripples on the web?

Restaurants on Social Media
As millennials flock to social media more than once a day, all brands who target younger people are benefiting immensely from social interactions. In the case of the fast food industry, some of the top brands including Starbucks, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King and Subway are the kings of social media marketing. In this blog post we’ll share with you what the top three of these restaurants are doing right that has put them in this prestigious place.
First of all, a few words of advice that all of these great brands follow. Scott Mulkey, vice president of Foodservice Strategy and Marketing at Coca-Cola explains what social media offers to brands. “Social media is growing and we’ve got to know that we’re not controlling it. At best, we are participating,” he said.
Now, let’s move on and see how these five restaurants participate in consumer conversations online:


1. Starbucks:

Starbuck’s mission is “to inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.” And that is exactly how they plan their social media strategy – one fan at a time. Starbuck’s strategy is to keep their current customers happy instead of throwing the net around for new ones. These loyal customers, in turn, become evangelists bringing in more friends to the coffee chain.
Starbucks focuses on making the experience shareable for its fans on social media with campaigns such as signature drinks, personalised coffee cups and “Buy 1 Get 1” promotions. It also makes sure that whatever it posts is visible through all their social channels. So one photo not only gets posted to Facebook, but also gets tweeted, pinned, Instagrammed and added to their Google+ ensemble.
“The way I see it
Isn’t necessarily
The way you see it
Or the way it is
Or ought to be
What’s more important
Is that we’re all
Looking for it
And a way to see it”
These words by Desi Di Nardo on a coffee cup made one of the many quotes of Starbuck’s “The Way I See It” campaign. Although, the campaign was later taken down due to political controversies on some of the quotes, it proved as a huge engagement booster for Starbuck’s customers and showed everyone that customers meant more than profits to the coffee giant.


2. McDonald’s:

McDonald’s had its fair share of embarrassment on Twitter when its hashtag campaign #mcdstories rebounded on them when tweeples started posting the most horrible experiences they had had at the restaurant. However, McDonald’s marketing strategy has ensured that it has a huge loyal following with 29 million fans on Facebook, 1.5 million followers on Twitter and more than twenty thousand friends on Google+.
Rick Wion, the director of social media for McDonald’s USA, explains that they use separate strategies for each channel. Facebook is to entertain and engage, Twitter is for conversations and its Twitter team is constantly rotated so that people from nearly every department get to interact with customers.
“We take certain aspects of the company and roll it into customer service. On Twitter, everyone is involved,” he said.
McDonald’s not only tells the brand’s story but also posts contests and other calls-to-action to keep their fans engaged. Managing customer’s complaints is another priority as if these customers are ignored, they’ll just head to another alternative.
Of Instagram and Pinterest, so far Instagram has been more successful for McDonald’s but its social media team is constantly exploring new ways of connecting with its fans including Klout Perks.


3. Taco Bell:

Taco Bell is famous for its speed and timing in the social media marketing industry. With 10 million Facebook fans and more than seventy thousand Twitter followers, it has shown over the years that it knows how personal social marketing has to be.
They took customer “engagement” to a new level when they sent out engagement rings with handwritten notes to their most ardent social fans. This was a gesture that resulted in a lot of hype as these fans posted photos of their gifts and their friends, and friends of friends reshared it. It led customers to associating positive sentiments with the brand, knowing that they really care about their customers and value their opinions.

Randy Stanley, division VP for Parasole, explains that it is important to listen to the customer’s conversations to understand what they truly want. He added that his own company checks daily reports on what has been said about each restaurant within the past 24 hours. “The more you read, the more you can try to figure out what your guests are trying to say. Our customers told us they didn’t like the limited menu at one of our concepts,” Stanley said. “So we tweaked it and offered a create-your-own offering and after that, we nearly doubled our sales.”

For restaurants on social media, focusing on the customers is the way to go. Keeping your conversations light and human is another way of earning friendly points with your fans as these witty tweets from brands (that were favourited and retweeted many times) prove. When it comes to answering negative feedback from your customers, restaurants can learn from these clever brands who know how to handle the situation. If you have favourite social restaurants, let us know in the comments below!