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The New Way to Taco Bell Isn't On Twitter It's Only In the App

Listen Up: Using social media chatter to build a stronger brand

“What is possible when you know what the whole world is thinking about any topic at any time?”

– John Heywood, Twitter


It’s an almost overwhelming question that
John Heywood, product manager at Twitter, poses to businesses and brands. Yet at the same time, it’s amazing to think about the information that can be pulled from open social media platforms like Twitter, and how businesses can use that data to provide the best experience for potential and current customers.

Heywood posed this question at the recent American Marketing Association webcast, sponsored by NetBase™, titled “Millenials & Social: How Taco Bell Reached Millions with Mobile App Launch.” In addition to Heywood, the webcast was also led by Mihir Minawala (manager of Social, Industry & Competitive Intel, Taco Bell) and Pernille Bruun-Jensen (CMO, NetBase). All three companies worked together to launch the new Taco Bell ordering app. They used this launch as an example of how new social media data is being used in exciting, ground-breaking ways to succeed in marketing to millenials.

NetBase and Twitter teamed up to provide Taco Bell with unprecedented customer data based on Twitter APIs that are helping businesses derive new insights with Twitter data. This is all a fancy way of saying that NetBase and Twitter helped Taco Bell listen to what their current and potential customers were saying on Twitter, and then analyzed the data to create a integrated marketing strategy.

Minawala suggests that businesses “harness the power of the audience to drive smarter marketing.” And that’s exactly what Taco Bell did. For example, they used this information gleaned from Twitter data to find new ways to expand their audience. For example, Minawala and his team wanted to know what apps Taco Bell customers are using. They found that many of them use the navigation app, Waze, so they began to advertise on the app to reach their customers with a different channel.

This data also led them to create what Minawala called a “disruptive” campaign to launch their new app. The day Taco Bell launched their ordering app, they staged a social media blackout. When a customer visited any of Taco Bell’s social channels, they couldn’t see anything other than images like this:


Taco Bell It's Only In The App Graphic for Mobile OrderingAll other messages and artwork had been removed and only one message was used to encourage customers to download the new app.

Taco Bell Blackout - TwitterTaco Bell expanded this campaign to all other marketing and advertising channels. They “blacked out” their website, and used similar messaging in all other advertising spots. Minawala explained that the campaign was a success due to the disruptive nature. Of course, customers who were interested in using the app downloaded it onto their devices. However, Taco Bell found that some consumers were simply intrigued by the whole campaign and downloaded the app out of curiosity. Minawala says that Taco Bell is always trying new ways to reach their customers. He believes that “if you’re not innovating and elevating everything you do, you’re not making a real impact.”

So how does this apply to you, a local independent grocer? It can be summed up in statement from NetBase CMO, Pernille Bruun-Jensen: “At the end of the day, we need to respect consumer voices and really listen to what they’re saying.” Even if you can’t use enterprise-grade Twitter APIs and advanced social media analytics from NetBase, you can listen to your customers. Read their feedback on every digital platform and interact with them so you have a better understanding of what they want from you. You can use simple and relatively inexpensive monitoring platforms to learn to what customers are saying about your store even if they aren’t interacting directly with one of your digital platforms.

Your customers and your digital audience are your most powerful tools to help you build a stronger brand and more loyal customer base. All you have to do is listen.

Why do I work at AWG? “I like working for a company that supports local, often times family-owned, businesses in everything they do in order to help them succeed and stay competitive. It’s great to interact with the stores on a daily basis and learn about their story and the communities they serve.” -Melanie