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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

Make All of Your Content Embeddable

20 Mar

According to an article on Mashable by Jennifer Van Grove, when surfing the web, most site visitors will stay on a page 250% longer when the site contains embedded media.

Sean Creeley, the founder of Y Combinator startup company Embedly, created a service that makes it easy for publishers and application developers to add embedded media to better engage their web users.
“The idea is to engage the user where they are,” says Creeley. “
We really want to get the user where they live, instead of making them try to jump through hoops to view multimedia content.” Embedly has the ability to take any URL or RSS feed and embed the important content onto a third party site. In fact, Embedly has created the consumer-facing Parrotfish — available as a Safari, Firefox or Chrome plugin — to bring the web’s media from more than 165 providers into the Twitter experience. Parrotfish enables Twitter to make all URLs and articles eligible within the Twitter website. On a daily basis, Embedly serves 5.5 million URLs to 1,100 sites.

Embedly powers the content embedding for a wide range of services (such as Yammer, Tweetdeck, Bit.ly, Bundles, Storify, Keepstream, and Reddit) so that URLs become live content you can see or hear on site. The Embedly customer can choose from a free plan with access to 250 providers or the paid plan that unlocks content associated with any URL or RSS feed. The paid premium service comes with daily, hourly and minute-by-minute breakdowns of the most popular URLs and domains, as well as Google Safe Browse security features to protect their site visitors against masked URL phishing tactics. Next week, Embedly plans to release an iOS library and Android library, which will let customers add embedded content into the mobile experience. Exciting stuff! Who’s interested?!

Social Media Marketing Unplugged

30 Jan

Yesterday, I attended Social Media Marketing Unplugged, a truly inspirational seminar about social media and the tactics used to go about handling this phenomenon. The speakers that stood out the most for me were the ones who told their story, shared their knowledge (and humour) and related it to all businesses in general.

An ongoing theme that resided with me throughout the seminar is that consumers want to feel something whenever they interact on the web. They may not even know they are looking to feel anything. The truth is, social media users get a sense of pride when they have a new follower, or a mention on Twitter. They are comforted with honest reviews from users just like them on sites such as Yelp, and feel intelligent by purchasing products and services at discounted prices from online coupon sites such as Ethical Deal. Users may not understand how much emotion is involved in their decision-making process online, but if your company creates an emotional hook that somehow reels them in, your business will definitely be talked about.

New connections are made everyday, and these connections are facilitated so easily with all of the tools provided on the internet. In my eyes, the most useful tool to organize all of these valuable connections is Hootsuite, which was praised about by the beloved speaker, Dave Olson. (Gotta love the owl!)

If I were to remember one thing of value from the seminar, it is that social media alone will not provide your business with success. It is to be used as a supporting role to your ultimate business strategy. As Marty Yaskowich mentioned, “You do not need a social media strategy. Use traditional media first to start and/or supercharge your business, then turn to social media.”

Overall, wonderful experience and well worth my time! Big thanks to all of the seminar’s wonderful speakers!