How Social Listening Helps Arby’s Drive Serious Business Value

By Ashley Reed in Industry News on February 2nd, 2015

Josh Martin, Director of Digital and Social Media at Arby’s, shared the success story behind the infamous Pharrell tweet at last year’s Grammys and how the company is using social listening to drive business results at the recent AMA BKV Social Series.  Here are our top takeaways.

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  1. The Pharrell Tweet was Four Years in the Making

    Martin shared the evolution of the company’s social media program; when he joined Arby’s in 2010, the company didn’t have a social presence.  He was tasked with laying the groundwork and gaining buy-in internally (which, as you can imagine, was no small feat.)  The first step was to establish a social media policy and internal process.  While he faced several obstacles, Martin was successful in elevating social within the company by hosting training sessions, collaborating between departments and sharing success stories throughout the organization.  These efforts made it possible for him to earn the trust of key internal stakeholders, including Legal, Marketing and the executive team.  He stressed that the Pharrell “moment” wouldn’t have been possible without this strong foundation in place.

  2. Know When to Put Down the Mic

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    Another important lesson we can learn from the Pharrell tweet is to know when to “put down the mic.”  After Martin sent the Arby’s tweet to Pharrell, he watched as it received thousands of retweets, replies and favorites, but he chose to wait until engaging further.  This proved to be the right decision, and Arby’s was rewarded with a response from Pharrell the next day.  Again, Arby’s chose not to respond, recognizing that Pharrell’s comical tweet would be hard to top. 

  3. Use Social Listening to Inform Marketing & Product Development

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    While Arby’s uses social listening to identify opportunistic moments to engage on social, they also use these consumer insights to inform marketing campaigns and product development.  For example, Martin’s team noticed a trend that social users really love Arby’s sauces, tweeting that they hated when they forgot sauce, requesting whole sauce bottles for sale and asking that the restaurant offer large sauce dispensers rather than small packets.  Martin recognized the opportunity, and worked with the product team to introduce Arby’s sauce by the bottle.  They supported this with an integrated marketing campaign - #Saucepocalypse.  The creative was based on actual users’ tweets, and they even placed outdoor media in consumers’ hometowns.  The results?  50,000 bottles sold and ½ million media impressions. 

Here are a few other top takeaways from the event from Twitter users:

Arbys Pharrell tweet was worth $22 million in ad dollars Arbys published saucepocalypse creative in local newspapers. Great example of social extending beyond the digital realm We’re able to go to product development with insights from social media that will impact the business Social Media provides unsolicited feedback and affects product development by tracking conversations and reactions

Are you putting social listening to work for your brand? While effective real-time listening and response can have a huge impact on your bottom line, it does require a sound strategy and the right team in place.  Our Social Media Marketing team can help you with both developing and executing a successful social listening strategy to drive your business forward. 

Interested in learning more?  Check out our recent study on social media monitoring and how real-time listening can drive Twitter ROI.