In October, there were no special tricks for restaurant marketers to grow their social-media engagement, as measured by Nation’s Restaurant News’ Social 200 index — just proven strategies that several of the brands have deployed before to boost their scores.

The Social 200, powered by TrackingSocial, measures the engagement the 200 largest restaurant companies derive from interactions with fans across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, compiling one overall score that rises or falls every day like a stock index. During the month of October, restaurant chains used different content strategies for their social-media platforms to engage fans, from special apps or promotional deals to a focus on cause marketing to old-fashioned food shots to tout individual menu items.

Dairy Queen and Krystal stood out in October for earning outsize weekly gains in their Social 200 scores with strategies that the other big winners for the month did not try.

Dairy Queen

For instance, Minneapolis-based Dairy Queen increased its index score 54.3 percent to 63.9 during the first week of the month, when it introduced the Treat Trader Facebook app. The chain called for user-generated content around its 5 Buck Lunch, entering fans into a drawing for a $5 gift card if they uploaded pictures of themselves enjoying a 5 Buck Lunch to the app. Dairy Queen has repeated the call for pictures for several weeks, promoting the Blizzard treat and a chicken strips basket as well.

Krystal’s 31-percent growth in its index score to 16.16 during the last week of October involved a strategy that has worked well before: playing to the Chattanooga, Tenn.-based chain’s Southern heritage. The image it shared on Facebook and Twitter was a simple picture of a Krystal sign outside a restaurant location, carrying the caption, “Let’s face it, the South does it better.” It also included the hash tag, “#LetsKrystal.”


The image received more than 760 likes and more than 50 shares on Facebook, where dozens of comments — from people in Southern states as well as a few in the North — followed the pattern of, “I wish the company would put one in Virginia.” A similar post about Krystal’s Southern roots had the same effect last July.