New Study: Fast Food Brands Falling Short on Social Media

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New Study: Fast Food Brands Falling Short on Social Media


You’ve got a twenty in your pocket, you’re downtown and you’re hungry. Who are you going to choose to spend it with and how can social media help make that decision?

Visceral Business and Synthesio recently conducted a study of 85 of the UK’s leading food service brands, revealing that many brands are not engaging with their consumers and suppliers via social media, potentially impacting brand loyalty and repeat purchases.

The Social Food Brand Study 2013, which covers 6,000 outlets in the High Street, looked at activity across a wide spectrum of social and digital media, including the use of Facebook and Twitter as well as forum, blogs, video and photo sharing activity and social media friendly websites.

Social Food brands

Here’s what we came up with:

  • Only 10 food service brands account for 96% of all social media food conversations  Burger King (32.8%), KFC (19.7%), Starbucks (15.5%), Pizza Hut (7.7%), McDonalds (7.4%), Subway (6.1%), Greggs (2.8%), Nando’s (1.5%), Ben & Jerry’s (1.5%) and Dominos (1.2%)

  • Food service brands’ websites are not optimized for social media – 40% do not have websites optimized for social and mobile engagement; 19% are not connected to consumers via social media at all

  • Social media links on food service brand websites have increased by 72% this year – However, adoption still lags behind FMCG, entertainment and housing industries

  • Food service brands need to diversify their platforms – Facebook is the most commonly used social media platform, however only 4%  of brands use smaller platforms such as Flickr and Foursquare

  • Only 60% of food service brands surveyed use LinkedIn – Foodservice brands are missing opportunities to better engage with franchisees and B2B supplier networks

Social Food

According to Catriona Oldershaw, Managing Director UK of Synthesio, “77% of people discussing these social food brands on the web are talking about the experience of eating, but many brands aren’t engaged in that conversation.”

Food brands seem to be spending most of their time and efforts online pushing out one-way promotional information and setting up social ways to carry out transactions, rather than building long-lasting relationships with their customers and communities through two-way engagement and real time customer service.

Founder of Visceral Business, Anne McCrossan, added: “The level of engagement by food brands contrasts sharply with other sectors. Charities, for example, have extended their support by developing engaging content via multiple platforms, such as Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. Of the food brands that are using social media, Starbucks has made the biggest commitment to social media and is the most ready to engage in conversation with users.”

Check out the full report here: The 2013 Social Food Study

For more info on The 2013 Social Food Study – check out these articles from publications who have joined us in sharing our findings: realbusiness and Retail Times.

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