Twitter’s influence is undeniable, and their pending IPO is exciting Wall Streeters, who’ve seen Facebook and LinkedIn attract billions of dollars in new capital from similar offers.Twitter’s influence is undeniable, and their pending IPO is exciting Wall Streeters, who’ve seen Facebook and LinkedIn attract billions of dollars in new capital from similar offers. Harry Hawk, who teaches in the hospital management program at New York City College of Technology, spent seven weeks earlier this year studying the Twitter relationships that exist between 27 burger-restaurant brands and their consumer audiences. Among his key findings: • Most burger brands use Twitter primarily as a one-way communications channel to announce specials, contests and videos. • Several broad approaches tend to dominate burger-brand behavior. One is to follow many of their fans and interact with them publicly. Another is to follow very few fans and interact with only selected ones. A third is to follow a larger number of fans but don’t message them in public. His study revealed monumental differences in the number of followers by brand. The Top 5 are: McDonald’s with 1,560,134 followers; Wendy’s with 371,180; Burger King with 274,963; Whataburger with 150,933; Sonic Drive-In with 81,663; Carl’s Jr. with 43,996. While this study is interesting, we feel it's more observational than analytical. It may be that people seeking discounts comprise most of the followers of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and Whataburger. Yet the study doesn’t go deeply into how else these brands build and sustain their significant Twitter followings except for some nuggets. For instance: Whataburger sends an average of 74 updates daily, compared with 10 for McDonald’s, 20 for Wendy’s and 1.5 for Burger King. The average for the 27 different burger brands examined is 6.8. Even the smallest burger brand doesn’t publicly respond to the vast majority of consumer Tweets. Yet @Whataburger appears to be the most active follower and responder. Supermarkets that aim to establish their own positive presence on Twitter could digest a few lessons from this report on burger brands. It can become a positive place for promotions, tips, new products, and timely advice, such as holiday shopping tips and deals. They could also learn from the social-media efforts of Whole Foods Market and Hy-Vee, both of which are seen as advanced within this retail channel.