Restaurant customers are increasingly shifting their attention from Facebook and Twitter to other social media platforms, according to data from the latest Restaurant Social Media Index.

Location- and mobile-oriented platforms such as Vine, dominated by smartphone users, are starting to nose into the territory once held by social media power players like Facebook and Twitter, according to Paul Barron, founder and chief executive of RSMI creator DigitalCoCo.


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“We think we may start seeing some segmentation or some fracturing of the social communities,” Barron said, adding that the RSMI for the June 30-ended second quarter saw some lagging performance in Facebook among the 52 million restaurant consumers it tracks.

Barron said the index may be seeing the “next wave of social” with Vine, Google+ and YouTube, especially with the creation and consumption of restaurant-related video.

Mobile engagement has increased about 300 percent in the past year, and out of the 17 social media platforms DigitalCoco tracks the RSMI, 13 provide mobile data information Barron said. “About 39 percent of the entire data engagement set is mobile, which is pretty significant,” he added.

The top five players in the RSMI’s second-quarter mobile ranking were led by Chipotle and followed by Starbucks, Firehouse Subs, Wendy’s and Shake Shack. Mobile rankings are based on active check-ins on platforms like Foursquare, Instagram or Vine, as well as location data within social media posts.

“In most cases, they either have an active mobile app, a mobile website or — what we actually think is more prevalent — they actually have more mobile users. It’s a stronger user base within their demographic,” Barron said of the top mobile players. “Some of these brands just tend toward the smartphone user, where you’ll see most of your traffic in social.”

The mobile rankings also take into account the “short attention span” of the mobile user. “Communication strategy for brands when they are talking mobile has to be very short, sweet and to the point,” Barron said.

He added that during the second quarter, “Chipotle did have a little bit more engagement in terms of how it was talking to the consumer. It was really the message strategy. A lot of brands are trying to implement that now.”

Other leaders in mobile, like Firehouse Subs, have revamped their websites with the location-friendly “responsive mobile design,” which helps mobile scores, Barron said.

For the overall second-quarter RSMI Index, Taco Bell remained at No. 1 while Wendy’s and McDonald’s swapped places from the first quarter, coming in second and third, respectively.

The Top 10 was rounded out by, in order: Starbucks, Buffalo Wild Wings, Hard Rock Café, Subway, Chipotle, Jimmy John’s and Sonic. Slipping out of the Top 10 were Pizza Hut and Red Mango.

Contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless