Red Mango Jumps to No. 3 Slot in the First-Quarter Restaurant Social Media Index

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The first-quarter Restaurant Social Media Index Top 100 is out, and proves yet again that restaurant brands both large and small can equally utilize social media to garner, engage and retain customers in the social sphere.

The latest rankings, covering the first quarter ended in March, show a skyrocketing move from Red Mango, which jumped 18 places in the rankings to No. 3. The frozen treat brand comes in behind heavyweights Starbucks, which retained the top spot, and Wendy's, which took over from McDonald's as the No. 2-ranked brand.

Compared to Starbucks, McDonald's and Wendy's, global brands that operate thousands of U.S. units, Red Mango operates 170 locations. The Dallas-based brand climbed the rankings on the back of its Sentiment Score, one component of the index that tracks consumer engagement with the brand.

According to Red Mango founder and chief concept officer Dan Kim, the brand uses three platforms primarily - Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare - and is looking into work with Yelp and Google. There are about four people that run social media operations at Red Mango, and they do not outsource activities to an agency.

"We don't sell through these channels," Kim said last month in a video interview with DigitalCoco, a social media analytics and digital branding firm. "Once you start to sell to somebody … the authenticity goes way. … Secondly, we use a lot of pictures … it triggers an emotional response as to why they should love Red Mango."

The Restaurant Social Media Index Top 100 was developed by DigitalCoCo and is presented exclusively by Nation's Restaurant News. The index was developed to provide learnings that will help restaurants become more robust and effective in their use of social media, digital content and brand development.

"This quarter really shows that social media is year round and an often-changing metric in which the restaurant business will need to pay very close attention," Paul Barron, founder and chief executive of DigitalCoco, said. "Like consumer sentiment and even engagement and growth, these index numbers are proving to be much more active that even we expected.

"Red Mango has made some heavy moves in consumer sentiment and the question for them will be: Can they hold it like Starbucks and Wendy's?" Barron continued.

Additional movers this quarter included: Bonefish Grill, which jumped from No. 53 to No. 18; Buffalo Wild Wings, which moved from No. 17 into the top 10 at No. 8; and Boudin Bakery, which cracked the Top 100 this quarter for the first time.

The Restaurant Social Media Index is based on a quantitative tracking effort of more than 600 restaurant brands, more than 25 million consumers, and thousands of keywords, menu items, and restaurant terms that have been indexed. The RSMI analyzes restaurant brands' social footprints, but also looks into engagement credentials that drive the growth of social media in platforms like Facebook, Foursquare, Google+ and YouTube. It is built on an advanced algorithm that serves up several third-party result indexes, like Klout, and then applies the DigitalCoCo Social Insights algorithm.

Contact Sarah Lockyer at sarah.lockyer@penton.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @slockyerNRN