The National Restaurant Association (NRA) today announced that it has partnered with DigitalCoCo, the leading restaurant industry social software and solutions group, on social media analysis solutions that will help its member restaurants build marketing strategies and engage consumers.

“Social media has become an important part of the marketing mix, and we are excited to partner with DigitalCoCo to offer our member restaurants unique insights into the social media universe specific to their brands,” says James Balda, chief marketing and communications officer for the National Restaurant Association. “Understanding how to leverage a social media audience can greatly enhance profitability, as well as consumers’ emotional connection to a restaurant. We believe these analytics solutions will help accomplish both.”

“Food is social to begin with,” says Paul Barron, DigitalCoCo founder . “This is big business for the restaurant industry, and our goal is to deliver not only a solution, but a solid ROI metric. Many executives and brand managers are beginning to understand both the promise and the enormous challenges of unprecedented access to social restaurant customer data. This is really the promise that can help the industry grow in the next decade.”

This new relationship is designed to digitally map the entire global restaurant business with advanced technology and solutions. But this is just the tip of the iceberg according to Barron. “The real value is the trend prediction engine that we have built based on advocate trends and the massive index of industry terms that we have constructed over more than 20 years of experience in the restaurant business.” As part of the partnership, Barron will serve as a digital and social media advisor to the NRA.

Through the partnership, all NRA members receive free submission to the Restaurant Social Media Index, designed to help the business reach and impact the social restaurant consumer. Each submitting member also receives a free custom Social Scorecard, ordinarily a $695 value. This scorecard reveals the social business impact, activity, and overall presence a restaurant brand has in social media.

The Restaurant Social Media Index has added more than 2,500 restaurant entities in the past year and is expected to reach 20,000 entities by 2015, representing 1.4 million restaurant and hospitality locations globally.

In addition, Digital Coco will offer NRA member-exclusive discounted rates on three other products. Social Insights Dashboard is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering that identifies brands' advocates across social channels and enables a restaurant business to connect with their target audience effectively and cost-efficiently. By leveraging DigitalCoCo’s unique social analytics platform, which monitors and measures the daily interactions of more than 3,000 restaurant brands and 33 million “super influencers” in the restaurant industry, Social Insights is able to shed light on strategy and actionable ROI for restaurant operators.

NRA members receive full access to this unique platform for engagement across multiple social channels at a member-exclusive rate. This robust solution, designed specifically for the restaurant business, includes reporting, full social suite management, and social audience acquisition.

NRA members can find brand advocates based on their consistent social interactions with restaurant brands, as well as overall sentiment, reach, and alignment to key restaurant trends through the Super Influencer Identification.

Through AudienceCoCo, NRA members are able to analyze their community, collaboration, content, and collective behavior, all targeted at how consumers use, interact, and dine at restaurants.