A new report from social-benchmarking company Unmetric highlights the social media efforts of the top 16 quick-service restaurants, identifying the brands that are most active and have the most active fan bases.

The report's results are based on the Unmetric Score, a proprietary system that uses algorithms based on 24 qualitative and quantitative social media metrics.

According to the Unmetric Scores, McDonald's ranks as the most astute fast food chain in social media, followed closely by Taco Bell.

When it comes to growth, Burger King has seen a 105-percent jump in fans on Facebook since January, and the chain also claims the top spot for conversation percentage, at 4 percent.

McDonald's has seen 118 percent follower growth on Twitter since January. McDonald's also replies to Twitter followers faster than any other chain — averaging 29 minutes.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • Although In-N-Out has very little social media presence overall and rarely interacts with fans and followers on Facebook or Twitter, its few posts have seen cult-like engagement from fans, resulting in the highest overall engagement score of 54;
  • Chipotle uses Twitter as a conversational tool, replying to 100 percent of its followers' 15K-plus tweets.Sixty-one percent of quick-service/fast casual fans on Facebook are female. These restaurant brands mostly talk about contests and brand news more than menu updates, recipes and ad campaigns — though the latter topics drive better engagement.

The top five Unmetric scores on Facebook were, in order, McDonald's (86), Taco Bell (81), Subway, (77), Dunkin' Donuts (65) and Baskin-Robbins (63).

The top five Unmetric scores on Twitter were McDonald's (97), Taco Bell (92), Chipotle (77), Pizza Hut (76) and Dunkin' Donuts (74).

The fastest growing chains on Facebook are Burger King (105 percent), Sonic (60 percent), McDonald's (56.5 percent), Pizza Hut (48 percent) and Subway (40 percent).

The slowest growing chains on Facebook are Chick-fil-A (6.1 percent), Krispy Kreme amd In-N-Out (tied at 11 percent), Taco Bell (12 percent) and Dunkin' Donuts (15 percent).

The five fastest growing chains on Twitter are McDonald's (118 percent), Burger King (35 percent), Sonic (31 percent), Chipotle (26 percent) and Krispy Kreme (25 percent).

The slowest growing chains on Twitter are Carl's Jr. (11 percent), In-N-Out (13 percent), Dairy Queen (14 percent) and Taco Bell and Baskin-Robbins (tied at 15 percent).

The restaurant brands that post the most Tweets are:

  1. Chipotle – 15,002
  2. Pizza Hut – 5,072
  3. Taco Bell – 3,136
  4. Dunkin' Donuts – 1,235
  5. Carl's Jr. – 1,159

Those same five brands, in order, are also the ones getting the most replies from their followers via Twitter.

By measuring the calculation of likes, comments, shares and impressions through Facebook, the following brands have the highest level of fan engagement:

  1. In-N-Out – 54
  2. Taco Bell – 51
  3. Chick-fil-A – 28
  4. McDonald's – 27
  5. Krispy Kreme – 26

Brands that respond the fastest via Twitter are McDonald's (29 minutes), Chipotle (37 minutes), Chick-fil-A (42 minutes), Taco Bell (46 minutes) and Krispy Kreme (1:39).

Those that have the slowest reply times are Burger King (60:29), Carl's Jr. (14:53), Dairy Queen (12:33), Baskin-Robbins (8:09) and Sonic (7:09).

Finally, QSRs with the most female fans are:

  1. Baskin-Robbins – 80 percent
  2. 2. Dairy Queen – 72 percent
  3. 3. Sonic – 70 percent
  4. 4. Dunkin' Donuts – 67 percent
  5. 5. Chick-fil-A – 66 percent

Brands with the most male fans on Facebook include:

  1. Carl's Jr. – 53 percent
  2. Krispy Kreme – 51 percent
  3. In-N-Out – 46 percent
  4. Burger King – 45 percent
  5. KFC – 44 percent

"Large fast food chains have long dominated commercial airwaves," said Unmetric CEO, Lux Narayan, "But in the era of social media these restaurants have a new opportunity to directly engage with fans and seek out a competitive edge. The Unmetric Fast Food Report provides a first look at social media benchmarks and reveals how each chain uses various tactics to uniquely connect with fans and followers."

Unmetric compiled its report by sourcing data from its social media benchmark platform from January 1, 2012 to April 30, 2012.

Read more about social media initiatives.

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