Why Wendy's and Pizza Hut are having more success on social media than McDonald's

Bryan Segal

Almost every brand includes social media as part of their marketing kit. Industries, and even brands within the same industry, often use social media differently but they all have one goal in mind: to build brand loyalty, keep their customer base engaged, and drive their business forward.

Let’s use one industry as an example: the quick service restaurant (QSR) sector. This industry has seen a dramatic shift in consumer preferences. Today’s consumer is more health conscious and has a wide variety options to choose from. For example, McDonald’s recently announced that it is adding premium sirloin burgers to its US menu for a limited time as an attempt to revive sales.

Last month at Engagement Labs we used our eValue tool to understand the QSR industry’s social strategies by monitoring over 30 brands on Facebook and Twitter. We measured engagement (the level of interaction content receives), responsiveness (measures how much, how fast and how well a brand responds to actual conversations amongst its users) and impact (the reach content receives) to determine the top performers. Our data found that Wendy’s was the top performer on Facebook and Pizza Hut was the top performer on Twitter.

So, where does this leave McDonald’s?

By sheer numbers, McDonald’s should be on top. Our analysis reported that it has over 56 million likes on Facebook, while Wendy’s and Burger King have less than 8 million. McDonald’s only has 1 per cent active users on its page meaning of its 56 million followers, only 1 per cent have actively engaged with its content. This was a factor in their overall low eValue scores.

Is this due to poor content or due to failure to adapt to the changing consumer?

To examine that question, we then broke the measurements down and looked at the engagement scores to see if consumers are interacting with the content that the brands posts. It turns out that Wendy’s and Burger King were the top scorers for engagement. Wendy’s and Burger King routinely post highly engaging content that is humorous, timely and focuses on their new products. For example, Wendy’s puts emphasis on the freshness of ingredients and Burger King highlights the return of cult favorite foods.

Just posting content on social platforms or having millions of Facebook likes does not always indicate social media success. Brands need to establish a social media strategy that identifies the type and tone of content that will resonate best with their audience, effectively promote new product offerings, and develop an engaged conversation with their current and prospective customers. By focusing on these key factors, brands can begin to build an incredibly engaged and loyal fan base on social media.

We look forward to seeing what this new menu option does for McDonald’s and its eValue scores in the future.

Bryan Segal is CEO of Engagement Labs

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