Unmetric, the social benchmarking company has released its Fast Food Report which details the social media services provided by the top 16 fast food chains in America.

Through the report, Unmetric has identified which chains are doing better than others at keeping fans, gaining new followers and keeping things conversational online. With follower feedback becoming increasingly important via social media channels, it’s interesting to see how the big brands fare.

A few interesting tidbits emerge from the research. According to the Unmetric Scores, McDonald’s ranks as the most astute fast food chain in social media, followed closely by Taco Bell. However, when it comes to growth and conversation for 2012, it’s the McDonald’s vs. Burger King rivalry that stands out.

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Burger King has seen 105% fan growth on Facebook since January, and the chain also claims the top spot for conversation percentage, at four percent.  McDonald’s has seen 118% follower growth on Twitter since January. McDonald’s replies to follower tweets faster than any other chain—in only 29 minutes. Burger King takes over two days to reply.

Though the burger giants are doing battle on the main stage, there is something to be said for an off-beat following. In-N-Out has very little social media presence overall and rarely interacts with fans and followers on Facebook or Twitter. However, its few posts have seen cult-like engagement from fans, resulting in the highest overall engagement score.

burger520 Burger Wars, McDonalds is eating Burger Kings lunch

For impressive engagement, the fast food world looks to be ruled by the burrito. Chipotle uses Twitter as a conversational tool to connect with followers, replying to 100% of its followers’ 15,002 tweets.

So what do they talk about? According to Unmetric, specific content is usually about contests and brand news over menu updates, recipes and ad campaign and the few drives far better engagement. Goes to show that useful content can travel a long way.

The report relies on the Unmetric Score, a measurement unique to Unmetric’s platform. The score takes 24 qualitative and quantitative social media metrics, weighted and balanced to produce a single ‘benchmarkable’ number.

Though the scores may be high online, the real world sales are where a brand needs to see movement. How this all translates into real burgers, now that would be a metric worth tasting.

Image Credits: Stu_Spivack, Aaron Friedman