By: Jim Matorin, Business Catalyst at SMARTKETING: Tech-friendly pragmatist that specializes in innovation and revitalizing businesses.
Recently I was asked by a client to provide a list of F&B social media leaders worth benchmarking. In acknowledgement metrics are key when evaluating companies best utilizing social media across the top platforms, I began my online research. Consequently, I learned there are copious research indexes harvesting online data and ranking social performance across multiple metrics on a regular basis – total follower counts, online engagement, SRVs (social restaurant visits), etc. Numerous brands consistently score high. I began drafting my list of companies when I realized Wendy’s surfaced to the top. Rationale: Social media metrics and receiving top rankings are significant, but nothing is more important than backing up the social rankings with stellar financial performance, a true metric monitored by the corner office.
The fast-food chain decided to accelerate its social media game back in 2017. Creative, witty engagement via Twitter with their loyal fans (currently 2.81m) and major competitors, as well as leveraging their YouTube channel to share authentic stories were the epicenter of Wendy’s social movement. The one Twitter engagement that went viral was follower Carter Wilkerson asking how many retweets would he need for a year of free chicken nuggets to which Wendy’s responded: 18 million. #NuggsForCarter became the most retweeted Tweet of all time beating out Ellen DeGeneres’s famous Oscar selfie. However, Carter fell short of his challenge. Other successful Twitter threads were their banter with McDonald’s over using frozen beef and continually using cultural references that connect with Millennials (e.g., rap artists Kendrick, Jay-Z, etc.). Note: Wendy’s also levraged YouTube to share with viewers how they source product and poke fun at competitors using frozen beef – 5 million views and counting.
Financials by the numbers:
- Net income was $159.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to $28.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.
- A 49.7% growth in profit from $129.6 million in 2016 to $194 million in 2017.
- Their global sales exceeded $10 billion for the first time ever.
Social media metrics key when measuring the success of your social movements, but there is no better metric than experiencing the corresponding uplift in financial performance.