Coffee chains Costa Coffee and Starbucks and bakery giant Greggs both appear in the top 10 ranking of companies leading the way in social media. 

The data from eDigitalResearch studied more than 90 food and beverage brands from restaurants and pub chains to coffee shops and fast food chains between 27 April and 1 May to establish their presence – or absence – on the most popular social media sites.

Bakery-wise Costa came in top of the sector with 1.3m followers on Facebook, while Greggs came next with 720,000.

When it comes to Twitter, Starbucks (3), Costa Coffee (5), Greggs (7), Pret A Manger (8) and Krispy Kreme (10) all come in the top 10 with followers ranging from 594,000 to 48,600.

Starbucks took the crown on Google+. Given its vast global audience it is no surprise that the chain has 3.7m followers on Google+ – more than 3m more than second-placed Nando’s. Starbucks uses its social fans to help in its product development process, with its latest #FanFlavors campaign enabling followers to voice their opinion on products that are in the pipeline, helping to create brand loyalty and advocacy, said the report.

However, no other chain came close to McDonald’s, which was the overall winner and achieved a massive 56.7m people ‘talking about’ the brand on Facebook, with the next most popular brand being KFC with 37.1m.

Kat Hounsell, sales and marketing director at eDigitalResearch, said: “The use of social media is now paramount for food and beverage brands. Our most recent benchmark results demonstrate that having a creative and interactive social media strategy is key to increasing your brands’ presence.

"Given the social nature of the food and beverage market, listening to feedback and creating a connection with your customers on a local and global level is key to increasing your brand following and, overall, improving the brand experience.”