Arby’s Biggest Social Win Ever Comes from Listening

Eric Melin
Eric Melin Senior Social Media Community Manager, Callahan Creek

Posted on January 31st 2014

Arby’s Biggest Social Win Ever Comes from Listening

This is going to be a short post, folks. It doesn’t need much explaining or extrapolation.

In simple and plain terms, what happened this weekend with Arby’s, Pharrell Williams, and the Grammys is the best advertisement EVER for social media monitoring — and why it is an essential part of any modern marketing strategy.

By now, you may or may not have heard about the newest darling of real-time social media marketing and newsjacking. The story in a nutshell: Pharrell Williams wore a big goofy hat while playing live on the Grammys. The Arby’s Twitter account sent out a funny tweet calling him out. Pharrell responded in kind with another funny tweet and history was made:

The Results

The Arby’s tweet garnered 83,961 retweets and has been favorited over 48,800 times. It also got 10,700 replies and helped the brand win over 6,000 new Twitter followers, not to mention the huge amount of coverage in the mainstream press and blogosphere.

Now we know how the company came up with the brilliant idea for the tweet — “Arby’s biggest social media win to date.”

How Did This Happen?

Simple. It wasn’t some whip-smart comedian or ad exec that Arby’s was paying overtime during off hours. It was an employee who was on the ball. Arby’s social media manager Josh Martin waswatching for brand mentions online and noticed people making the joke already, mentioning Pharrell and Arby’s together.

He then created the tweet (calling out @Pharrell of course) from his home and hashtagged it #GRAMMYs.

Here’s the thing: Josh didn’t even have to come up with the joke. Because he was monitoring brand mentions, he saw the trend developing, and took advantage of it. It’s really the perfect storm. I tell people all the time that you should develop a data-driven approach to active brand marketing. If a post starts catching on, boost it. If a trend appears, take advantage of it. Your window is short. Strike while it’s open! But if you’re not monitoring your brand; if you’re not listening at all, you’ll miss your opportunity.

That’s the long and short of it. Josh was monitoring, saw something that happened organically, and made a call. Luckily for the company, Arby’s has created an atmosphere that allowed Josh the freedom to react in real-time.

In an interview from MarketingLand:

“We only had about 40,000 Facebook fans, and two to three-thousand Twitter followers,” said Martin.

As the brand’s social media manager, Martin has grown Arby’s social media presence to 2.5 million Facebook fans and over 217,000 Twitter followers. Arby’s is now also active on Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, Linkedin and YouTube.

Here’s one of my favorite marketing quotes, from Aberdeen Group way back in 2011. It absolutely still applies today:

“Marketing success depends on insight into, and intelligence regarding, one’s target audience.” – Analytics for the CMO. How Best-in-Class Marketers Use Customer Insights to Drive More Revenue

Are you monitoring your brand online? Will you be able to take advantage of the perfect storm?

Image: GoAskSuzie.com

Eric Melin

Eric Melin

Senior Social Media Community Manager, Callahan Creek

An award-winning marketing and communications specialist, Eric is the Senior Social Media Community Manager for specialty marketing agency Callahan Creek, and the communications chair for Engineers Without Borders - Sunflower State Professionals

He is also the 2013 Air Guitar World Champion. Callahan Creek unlocks the power of category enthusiasts and turns them into brand advocates. Air guitar provides boundless entertainment and helps musicians realize their full creative potential, according to a recent Cambridge study.

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