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Krystal3. Krystal
Weekly percent change: +13.9%
Index score: 13.94

Quick-service chain Krystal stays active across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube with new content for all three platforms, not just the same photos or videos re-purposed for different sites or simultaneous posting. The brand’s Twitter and Facebook feeds both show lots of engagement, as most comments and tweets get speedy responses the day they are posted.

While Krystal has used social media to call out everything from deals like the $19.99 Friends & Family Meal to core items like the Freeze to its program for welcoming returning military veterans home, its high-engagement outlier involved a simple shot of a restaurant exterior. The caption read, “Krystal: It’s a Southern thing,” and garnered an outsize total of 1,530 likes, 125 comments and 185 shares.

Papa Johns4. Papa John’s Pizza
Weekly percent change: +13.6%
Index score: 28.27

Papa John’s seemed to benefit as much from its cause-marketing efforts on social media as from its promotional posting during the second week of July. The key was consistency, whether tweets and Facebook posts were about football, the brand’s $12 large specialty pizzas, or philanthropic initiatives like fundraisers for Autism Speaks or donating pizzas to relief efforts after a flood in Calgary, Canada. Papa John’s made a Facebook photo album for its cause-marketing initiatives, which received more than 500 likes — a total much higher than the chain’s typical posts, save for one post about the Hawaiian BBQ Chicken & Bacon pizza.

5. Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub
Weekly percent change: +12.5%
Index score: 7.32

Casual-dining chain Ninety Nine Restaurants derives almost all of its engagement in the Social 200 index from its Facebook page, and the brand’s activity on that platform during the second week of July shows that chains can still effect large increases in engagement through simple tactics. By encouraging users to respond to questions in the comments section or asking them to like a post as part of its important fundraising cause for pediatric-cancer research, Ninety Nine was rewarded with a double-digit gain in its index score. An open-ended call to “share your fondest Ninety Nine memory for a chance to win a $20 gift card” netted nearly 250 comments, while more than 600 new people liked the chain’s Facebook page in return for a $1 donation to The Jimmy Fund at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

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 mark.brandau@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN