Food is a language everyone speaks around the world and it’s cool to see how social media has impacted the food industry over the past 15 years ranging from marketing tactics being implemented to the ways food companies analyze conversations on social media, and this post touches on 3 of the most common ways we see restaurant chains using social media analytics.

First and foremost, the iconic quote from Sun Tzu comes to mind: “Keep your friends close; keep your enemies closer.” When it comes to understanding what your competitors are doing, particularly on social media, getting ahead of them to see valuable insights in the moment is critical. Think about the recent fried chicken sandwich craze which took the world by storm and how seeing the spike in interest as it was happening could unlock new opportunities by the minute. And using social media analytics tools for competitive intelligence is very common.

Secondly, food trends are always changing and having the ability to understand what’s hot then adjusting your menus accordingly gives your restaurant a competitive edge. Looking at the above-referenced chicken sandwich phenomenon, it took months for other large restaurant chains to spin up R&D teams and create/launch their versions, and they missed the window of opportunity. Having the right social media analytics solutions in place will put you ahead of the curve instead of trying to play catchup.

Lastly, and most importantly, social media analytics platforms give you the ability to better understand your audience/customers to use social media for the reason it was created: To actually be social. Discover trends as they’re emerging and become a part of the conversation instead of an outsider trying to break in after the fact.