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The Art of Listening – Earls vs Cactus Club Cafe

12 Oct

One of the most important things to remember when executing a social media marketing plan is following the safety procedure for crossing a street. You have to stop what you’re doing, look at what is being said about your company, and listen to your customers’ feedback and suggestions. In order to compare some of the listening tools that are available on the web, I have used three different sources to find out what is being said about two companies – Earls Restaurant and Cactus Club Café. Although these companies are very similar, and are both owned by the Fuller family, people definitely have different things to say about them. The three tools I used to evaluate the sentiment of these audiences are:

1) Social Mention

2) Wildfire

3) Addict-o-matic

After comparing the results of both Earls Restaurant and Cactus Club Cafe on Social Mention, it became apparent that the majority of content shared online about these restaurants was mostly neutral, however, the two restaurants did not have close sentiment ratios. Earls Restaurant had an average ratio of 20:1, while Cactus Club Cafe had an average ratio of 12:1. Although Earls scored a higher percentage rating on passion than Cactus Club, it scored lower on reach, which I found interesting because I predicted the opposite. The strength of discussion online for both restaurants is fairly low, but they are both in close competition.

It is apparent on Social Mention that the main source of content for Earls is Twitter, with a rating of 99, compared to Facebook, with a rating of 10. I found it interesting that Earls’ main user is “earlsrestaurants”, which is the restaurant’s corporate (Vancouver) account, while Cactus Club’s corporate account is second to last in the “Top Users” ranking. This could be an indicator that Cactus Club is not communicating directly with their customers as much as they should be, especially if frequent regulars are tweeting more about the restaurant than the restaurant itself.

The next listening tool I used was Wildfire, which is a great online too that allows you to compare two different platforms and two different brands. On Twitter, Wildfire charted the comparison of Earls and Cactus Club followers, and Earls tended to dominate for follower growth. On Facebook, Wildfire created a graph that showed the growth of likes, which demonstrated a tremendous difference between the restaurants, as you can see below. On the contrary, as I examined both accounts on Facebook, I noticed a different level of engagement on Earls’ main Facebook account as opposed to Cactus Club’s. The responses to fans were almost automatic, and the tone of the content generator is sincere.

On Addict-o-matic, a lot of the content that appeared for Earls was mostly location based, and did not say much about the sentiment of the customers. However, the Youtube section of Addict-o-matic had an endless amount of videos describing the atmosphere and food quality at Earls. Cactus Club definitely had more content shared by customers on Addict-o-matic, and the majority of tweets included pictures food that customers were enjoying at the moment. Those types of tweets were not so evident when analysing the content about Earls; most of it is generated by the company itself.

It is clear that consumer’s perceptions about these brands are very similar, but I have discovered that there is a higher level of engagement and authenticity when communicating with the Earls brand through social networks compared to Cactus Club’s brand. The philosophy portrayed online by Earls is almost one of family, and the Assistant Marketing Manager, Sepy, encourages anything and everything you have to say about the brand. If there is a suggestion about a new dish, or an improvement of a dish, there is always a response and an email address to contact him for more details – he shows that he truly cares.

The free listening tool that is most useful for comparing the sentiment of these brands is definitely Social Mention, because it gives actual percentages and ratios to compare with other brands in the industry, and breaks down the different factors taken into account. I would definitely suggest using free listening tools for businesses that would like to find out what is being said about them – if nothing works, then it’s time to rethink your social media strategy.

If a third competitor were to enter the industry, I would take advantage of the low strength that these two restaurants have, which, in other words, is the likelihood that your brand is being talked about online. I would find a way to get people talking about my brand online, and would use contests and incentives to help launch my brand’s social media premiere. In order to engage customers as much as possible, I would be authentic and reliable, and have a slightly more appealing brand image than Earls. The third competitor would definitely be dressed for success!

-Linnea

What is Google+ and What are the Benefits?

26 Jul

Google+ seems to be the next big social media frenzy when compared to Facebook and Twitter. Although Facebook does not restrict the amount of characters used in whatever you’re trying to say, some still seem to find the platform a little “less sincere” than that of Twitter. With Twitter, it takes a little time to come up with exactly what you want to say in 140 characters. For some, it’s easy to summarize, but for others, there’s just TMI to include!

Google+ allows people to connect in a more intimate environment, giving the user a chance to group their friends or family members into different categories. Google+ also includes a “Hangout” application, where the unplanned meet-up comes to the web for the first time. Google+ claims that until teleportation arrives, it’s the next best thing (although, personally, I don’t see much difference when compared to FourSquare).

One of the most fascinating things about Google+ is the user’s ability to share videos and pictures in an instant with whoever you’d like to share them with. On Twitter and Facebook, everyone can see what you upload, unless you send a private message. Google+ allows users to be more discrete with who they would like to share content with, which is definitely a benefit when taking privacy into consideration.

Another feature of Google+ that I find to be interesting is that they have embedded what looks like a Google search bar called “Sparks” where you can type whatever interest or topic you’d like to read about, and Google+ will provide you with everything you’re looking for. You know how you get bored on Twitter and Facebook if no one is uploading anything? Google+ will not disappoint.

Lastly, Google+ includes a BBM-like message thread called “Huddle” where you can include whoever you’d like to talk to. Planning an event or get together could not be made easier!

According to an article on cnet news, “at the same time that Google+ has captured 20 million members in just a few weeks, many have complained about the site’s requirement that they must use their real names in their profiles, rather than nicknames or pseudonyms. Many have also seen their accounts automatically suspended over such policy violations.” Google+ is currently working on the problem and has recently apologized for anyone who has had their account suspended.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited to get tons of people on the Google+ bandwagon!

Linnea

True Originals Campaign Gone Wrong

5 Feb

We’ve heard it all before. Social media is NOT meant to be used unaccompanied. It is meant to be used as a supporting tool to improve existing business strategies. Bacardi clearly did not get this memo. Last August, they launched a webisode series that was shown solely on Facebook. The campaign, called True Originals, featured multiple videos in which a mysterious character searches for the world’s most creative, original bartender.

In each webisode, the character orders a different beverage, or asks the bartender to surprise him. His expectations seem high, but all bartenders manage to put their own unique twist into each beverage, impressing him enough to reward them with a special chip that seems to be of implicit importance. At the end of each webisode, the video closes displaying the website for the campaign: http://www.trueoriginals.com. From this site, it directed the user to the True Originals Bacardi Facebook page. This page only displayed a disappointing 1000 fans, which could have been more effective if they were directed to the main Bacardi page, not a temporary page. Now, when you search the True Originals website on the web, it directs you to your Facebook home page, which is confusing to the user and looks bad on Barcardi’s part. The least they could do is direct it to their main Facebook page, right?

The idea behind these videos is fantastic, as it inspires consumers to buy Barcardi rum and put their own twist on classic cocktails, but the fact that Bacardi chose to use Facebook as the only channel to showcase these short films was a bad idea. Although bartenders on Facebook enthusiastically reposted the videos on their pages, the results did not generate many fans of the True Originals Bacardi Facebook page, or their main page for that matter. Lessons to be learned: Use social media to drive your original strategy and generate excitement about the product. Make sure the campaign is
consistent, easy for users to navigate, and most importantly, make sure you connect your campaign across all high traffic social media
platforms. Here are some of the webisodes from the campaign. Enjoy!