How Smarter Listening Builds Better Relationships

Great social media campaigns engage stakeholders and build relationships with customers. We know that, right? But how can companies create campaigns that reach their audiences in ways that will get their attention?

We recently attended a Social Fresh conference where speakers from well-known brands including HTC, Lilly Pulitzer and Barnes & Noble discussed strategies and tactics they’ve used to leverage the power of social media to connect creatively with their audiences. Below are two case studies with helpful tips from Josh Martin, Arby’s social media manager. Check out how he catapulted the company’s social media numbers out of the park with creative and fast thinking:

Tip #1: Create original content around consumer insights, topical events and trends.

Tip #2: Develop program that engage fans.

Case Study: Saucepocalypse

Arby's Sauceless BBQ

As Arby’s was monitoring the conversation about its brand on social media, the company began to notice a trend among its consumers’ comments: one-third were about Arby’s sauce wanting it, craving it and needing more of it. Based on these findings, Arby’s began additional research and started successfully selling its sauce by the bottle. The company also used its consumers as inspiration to create a social media campaign around the idea that there’s “nothing scarier than running out of sauce” called “Saucepocalypse!”

Arby’s asked fans to share their “sauce-less” stories, and accounts began pouring in of eating tasteless chicken, a sauce-less barbeque, etc. These horrifying tales were then creatively turned into old-time movie posters and shared on Arby’s social media.

The content soon went viral and spread to blogs, articles and online conversations. Seeing the success of the campaign, they repurposed the content for ads and billboards that ran in the hometown of the fans who submitted them – strengthening Arby’s relationship with the customers.

As a result of the campaign, Arby’s earned a half-million media impressions, twice as many fans were talking about the product and the new bottled sauce was hailed as one of the most successful launches for the company.

Tip #2: Monitor the social conversation and respond/react.

Case Study: The Tweet Seen ‘Round the World

While sitting at home watching the Grammys, Arby’s social media manager was also monitoring Twitter, and noticed users were comparing Singer/Songwriter Pharrell William’s hat with Arby’s logo.

Pharrell and Arby's

Seeing an opportunity, Arby’s quickly posted this tweet:

Arby's Tweet to Pharrell

The tweet soon caught the attention of media outlets across the globe and the story went viral, being featured on E! News, CNN, Nightline, Live! with Kelly and Michael, Adweek and numerous other outlets.

Williams spurred the momentum with a tweet of his own:

Pharrell's Tweet to Arby's
Following the media craze, Williams put the hat up for auction on eBay and Arby’s purchased it for $44,000 – which Williams then donated to his children’s charity From One Hand to AnOTHER, further adding to the story and media attention.

In total, the story that began with one, well-timed tweet resulted in 83,604 retweets, 49,072 favorites, 6,000+ new followers, more than 185,000 Arby’s mentions, 117.9 million impressions and the ad equivalency value of $30 million.