Business team working with social media images and terms

Social Media—The Low-Cost QSR Marketing Tool

Yes! Social media can generate high ROI and transactions.

How many times have you heard that the real value of social media is for listening and learning?  Or that it’s a great engagement tool. Or that it’s great for customer service. Tell that to your boss and the board when they ask about the resources you’re allocating to social. They’ll love that. The reason you hear these comments about social media is because those who say or write those statements don’t know how to generate sales using social.

You have a database of customers who are waiting for you to provide an incentive they can use to visit your stores.

A regional QSR celebrating their 80th anniversary offered a special discount, hamburgers for 25 cents, if they received 100,000 Facebook Likes. So a storewide promotion was quickly born. Within hours, not days, they had received 165,000 “Likes.”

The chart below shows the QSR average engagement level achieved by Facebook posts. Notice the gigantic spike. That’s people talking about this possible promotion. Chart showing social media engagement So for the engagement lovers out there, you can put a check in that box. But the real story is, can this promotion drive sales and transactions at an acceptable margin?

The answer is yes! Transactions were up over 50% and sales up over 20%, which is to be expected. Just as the average check was significantly down as expected. But the sales and transaction increases were great enough to keep the margin steady. Plus the cost of communicating the promotion was a fraction of the cost of traditional media.

So consider the “soft” benefits:

  • Brand awareness received a huge boost.
  • Facebook fans increased literally by the thousands.
  • Thousands of people sampled the brand.

Note the chart below. Each circle represents social media promotions that were executed by the same QSR brand. With each promotion came a larger fan base, and each time the fan base increased, so did sales and transactions. Chart showing effective social media promotions. Most importantly, consider the quantitative results:

  • Sales increased.
  • Transactions increased.
  • Margin held steady.
  • Advertising ROI was exceptional.

A few keys to remember about social media marketing:

  • Social media is very, very inexpensive compared to the other media you use.
  • When the media cost is so low, it allows you to offer incentives, such as discounts and promotions, that would be impractical given the cost of traditional media.
  • In today’s social environment, the only reason people like brands is because they want and expect something.

photo credit: Rawpixel via Shutterstock

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