Several brands made repeat visits to the NRN Social 200’s weekly top five gainers list during the third week of July, building upon successful social strategies begun earlier this summer.

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In the week between July 6 and July 12, both Boston Market and 7-Eleven showed the value of consistently posting content, whether it was a promotion for a menu item or a comprehensive campaign involving all of the brand’s social media platforms. For the following week, beginning July 13, those two chains once again finished No. 1 and No. 2 in weekly growth of their Social 200 index scores.

Papa Murphy’s, another repeat leader in weekly Social 200 index growth, continued to benefit from its summer contest, the Take ‘N Grill Sweepstakes.

White Castle and Buca di Beppo made their first appearances in this year’s recaps of the Social 200 top gainers, with Facebook posts that show one piece of compelling content — and in the case of Buca, a compelling offer — can make an appreciable difference in social media engagement.

Boston market1. Boston Market
Weekly percent change: +21.7%
Index score: 12.59

Boston Market continued its successful Facebook engagement last week by highlighting several different meal options, including its Market Bowls and its signature rotisserie chicken. To drum up interest in the latter, Boston Market’s Facebook page linked to an outside article from Yahoo that suggested seven different ways to use a store-bough rotisserie chicken in meals, like wraps and pulled-chicken sandwiches. The brand’s most-shared post was for a $1-off coupon for its ribs.

7-eleven2. 7-Eleven
Weekly percent change: +21.4%
Index score: 34.14

It wasn’t the catchy “7/11” Slurpee giveaway that spiked engagement for the C-store chain July 11, but another one-day deep discount, that led to another spike in likes, comments and shares for 7-Eleven. The offer of a medium iced coffee for just $1 on July 17 garnered more than 7,000 likes, nearly 200 comments and more than 500 shares on Facebook. Both that post and a complementary tweet were joined by the hash tag “#AWESUMMER.”

Papa Murphy's, White Castle, Buca di Beppo

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Papa Murphy's3. Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N Bake Pizza
Weekly percent change: +16.2%
Index score: 11.65

Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N Grill Sweepstakes has driven significant growth in Papa Murphy’s Social 200 index score this summer, including a year-to-date record increase of 88 percent for one week just a few days after the contest was announced. That promotion continues to supply Papa Murphy’s with content for its Facebook page, including a user-generated photo of the brand’s pizza being cooked at home on a grill, which earned more than 900 likes and nearly 100 comments and shares, far above baseline levels for those Facebook metrics.

White Castle4. White Castle
Weekly percent change: +13.2%
Index score: 22.67

Restaurant brands long have recognized the value of devoted fans when it comes to the sales they can generate, but last week, White Castle found how much one fan could help a restaurant’s branding efforts go viral. A photo of a White Castle replica constructed entirely from LEGO pieces, taken by fan Rob Bender and uploaded to Flickr, proved to be White Castle’s most engaging Facebook post of the week and for months. The picture received more than 14,000 likes, nearly 4,000 shares and nearly 500 comments, including a few from Bender himself.

5. Buca di Beppo
Weekly percent change: +13.2%
Index score: 21.88

Similarly, one photo of the Apple Gorgonzola Salad on Buca di Beppo’s Facebook page earned nearly 2,000 likes and more than 100 shares, compared with like totals in the low-triple-digits and share totals in the single digits for most of the casual-dining chain’s typical posts. However, the brand undoubtedly was helped by a July 12 post that preceded the week measured in this Social 200 recap. The post was for a $20 gift certificate redeemable at Buca di Beppo all weekend, which included the first two days of the period. Importantly, the photo that accompanied the offer showed several Buca signature menu items. Buca garnered more than 80,000 likes and more than 7,000 shares for that offer’s Facebook post.

Editor’s note: Some brands tracked by the NRN Social 200 are not active on their social-media platforms and have a low index score as a base, yet can produce large swings in that score with minimal activity. Because of this, the restaurant chains with index scores below 5.00 are excluded from NRN’s weekly report on the Social 200’s biggest gainers.

Contact Mark Brandau at
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