Recent changes to the way social-media platform Klout calculates its score to measure online influence have benefited brands that stay committed to the social profiles they build and that integrate all ways they communicate with customers online.
That was good news for Arby’s, which says it holistically approaches its Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare profiles, linking content, comments and check-ins to one another. In the 2011 fourth quarter rankings of the Restaurant Social Media Index, Arby’s ranked No. 1 among restaurant brands for the largest growth in Klout scores. The Restaurant Social Media Index, or RSMI, is created by a partnership with Nation’s Restaurant News and social media analytics and digital brand consultant DigitalCoCo.
A Klout score, which is measured from 1 to 100, measures a brand’s influence based on its ability to drive action. The score is measured by looking at the number of people a brand influences, how much influence a brand holds, and how influential a brand’s network is. Klout is a recognized third-party social media analysis tool.
Arby’s, the quick-service chain most known for its roast beef sandwiches, grew its Klout score 15 points to 73, which gave it the No. 3 overall ranking behind Starbucks Coffee and Wendy’s, who tied for first place with Klout scores of 78. Arby’s Klout score growth far outpaced the next-place finishers KFC, Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza and Bruegger’s Enterprises Inc., which all grew their Klout scores eight points in the fourth quarter.
“In our marketing program, where digital is so important, we’re trying to get Arby’s in the conversation,” Bob Kraut, Arby’s senior vice president of marketing and advertising, said. “When Arby’s gets talked about in social media, those people create a habit of interacting with us, which ultimately leads to trial and repeat business for us.”
The Atlanta-based brand’s big marketing push in the fourth quarter, encompassing TV advertising and social media, was for its Ultimate Angus Philly sandwich, Kraut said. Its website hosted a “Philly Zone,” where customers could find Arby’s restaurants on a store locator and see all comments about the cheese steak sandwich people made on Twitter while eating at each individual location.
A similar tab on Arby’s Facebook page let people track comments and tweets related to the sandwich from locations in their area. The Facebook page linked to Arby’s Twitter handle and Foursquare’s check-in function for Arby’s locations nearby.
Arby’s integrated approach to social media reflects the brand’s strategy to “go where the relationships are,” and to turn their customers into online advocates, Kraut said.
“People want to hear from their peers who are on social-media sites, and they view the information shared by their friends as more credible,” he said. “So when they notice the quality of our messaging and our level of engagement, they appreciate it by retweeting us and sharing, which is exactly what we intended.”
Arby’s tries to stay credible with users on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare by keeping up its activity across all platforms and staying consistent, he said, refreshing content daily and responding to customer questions and complaints quickly.
“We put a lot of attention on social media at the highest levels of the company,” he said. “We don’t fire and forget. That’s important, because there will be times when you need your customers to help you get the word out about something. They don’t appreciate it when you come out of the blue and ask for their help.”
The chain’s follow-up effort promotes its Reuben sandwich with a digital effort to fight NRNS, or “Need a Reuben Now Syndrome.” On Arby’s website and Facebook page, fans can take a short quiz to see if they’re afflicted with the condition that can only be cured by eating the chain’s Reuben sandwich. The coupon for free fries and a drink with the purchase of a Reuben looks like a doctor’s prescription when printed out.
Arby’s also did a “Tweet Aquarium” graphic to promote its two-fish-sandwiches-for-$4 deal in February, and the website and Facebook page will get a green “O’Arby’s” look for a special buy-one-Reuben-get-one-free offer to Facebook fans on St. Patrick’s Day weekend, Kraut said.