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Social Media Listening Case Study

12 inspiring social media monitoring case studies

  • 90% of marketers say social media is important to their businesses.
  • 68% analyze their social media activities.
  • Only 41% are able to measure their social activities. (Social Media Examiner)

The numbers indicate almost all businesses now rely on social media for marketing, but less than half can measure if it’s working.

Social media monitoring is the act of using a tool to listen and measure what is being said about a business or key topic on the internet. This means monitoring media not just from traditional publishers, but on the great majority of social sites too. Many providers have created tools to facilitate analysis of social media channels.

But before you pick a tool to analyze, shouldn’t you decide what’s most important to measure?

Here are 12 inspiring social media monitoring case studies.

  1. ARBY’S: Noticed comments through social media about meats other than roast beef. This valuable feedback came from their own customers when they launched their “Meat Mountain” campaign poster showing all different meats other than roast beef. Their customers mistakenly thought it was a new sandwich, and through social media, indicated they were anxious to try it. Thus the birth of Arby’s new $10 Meat Mountain sandwich.
  2. BARCLAY: Launched a mobile banking application called PingIt. In the days following the launch, Barclays made significant changes to the app as a result of real-time social media analysis. Sentiment Analysis revealed a small proportion of mentions were negative. It was quickly apparent that many users were unhappy that the app didn’t work for under 18’s. It wasn’t only teenagers that were unhappy, but also parents that couldn’t transfer money to them. This could easily create a PR disaster, but the data allowed Barclays to act quickly. Within the week, 16 and 17 year-olds were given access to the app, showing the business value of quick responsiveness to customer feedback.
  3. CISCO: Tracked ongoing topics, trends, and sentiment to support short-term listening goals such as a launching a new business initiative. Some examples are its sponsorship of the summer Olympics, or its annual trade show, Cisco Live. They got closer to our customers and focused on how to monitor, respond, and triage conversations. Cisco reported they achieved 281% ROI through social listening.
  4. DELL: Had a online community called Idea Storm. This was a community in which Dell invited customers to come and share ideas about product improvements that they want. To date, there have been close to 550 different ideas from this community that have been implemented in Dell products.
  5. GATORADE: Launched Mission Control, where they monitor social media posts 24 hours a day. It has improved their marketing. The company extended an “Evolve” 60-second ad tune into a full-length track available for download in response to frequent questions like “Who sings that song?” Gatorade also used Mission Control to bulk up production of its recovery drinks because of complaints it was selling out.
  6. H&M: Ran four major campaigns that each featured difference celebrity spokespeople. By measuring the volume of conversation following the campaigns, H&M found that the success of their endorsements depended on their geographical markets. It showed how different cultures and customs can affect how an audience receives your marketing campaigns, and how markets with limited engagement may benefit from a different approach.
  7. HP: Decided to turn directly to their customers to ask what how they wanted to be “fed.” HP customers were most concerned with the steady cadence of posts. They clearly stated that they didn’t want or need to hear from them every day. Rather, they wanted their content all at once, condensed and concise. HP created their own online magazine, Hpmatters.com, where customers could turn to once a month to get their dose of content.
  8. KMART: Measured online reactions from an ad released across different channels at different time periods. By comparing social media reactions (via sentiment and volume) across various networks, Kmart was able to determine the effectiveness of an advertisement online, on television, and the reaction after a follow-up advertisement.
  9. MONEYGRAM: A leading money transfer company, wanted to globally evaluate at a glance where the conversations about their industry, products, and competitors were happening online. By monitoring the share of voice in the past month alongside the past week, analysts at MoneyGram are able to spot whether something has happened to shift the share trend and act accordingly. When MoneyGram launched their ‘Max’s World Adventures’ campaign – a fun, character-driven campaign aimed at children – they noticed a clear leap in their share of voice in that week, in comparison to their usual ‘normal’ share trend. They were then able to dive deeper into the data to see what exactly people thought of it was even more useful.
  10. NESTLE PURINA: Monitored Feed the Cattitude, an integrated campaign involving television spots, a landing page, a mobile app, and a Facebook page. Purina hoped to tap into conversation trends on the Feed the Cattitude Facebook page and on other social media venues. They monitored topics that generated the most conversation, engagement, and sentiment to ensure the tone stayed positive. Feed the Catittude rose to the top five most-engaged Facebook pages, as measured by SocialBakers. Nestlé Purina increased the impact of its paid search investment by aligning search terms with customer interest.
  11. PIZZA HUT: Used social media monitoring to make their marketing more effective. They posted several pieces of organic content, then tracked the conversation around it. That which got the most buzz is used more widely. Two very similar-looking posts, both shots of pizza, one was on a white background, the other on black. Because Pizza Hut was paying attention to the conversation, they saw that the black background shot was performing three times as well. This boosted the ROI of their ads by using that image.
  12. TV LAND: Listened to their own customers and decided to try posts of lyrics to TV theme songs or popular songs from the show era. The results were incredibly positive. For Pinterest, they created images with quotes from the scripts of their shows and saw improved engagement. TV Land learned through trial and error what their customers wanted to see that triggered their social engagement.

Do these case studies convince you of the value of social media monitoring? Would the right partner for social media monitoring help you?

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About Rob Petersen

Rob Petersen is an experienced advertising and marketing executive and President of BarnRaisers, a full service digital marketing agency that builds brands based on proven relationship principles and ROI. He is on the MBA Faculty of Rutgers CMD and is the author of two books on digital marketing.

Call it Social Media Monitoring or Social Media Listening, I can’t emphasise enough on the importance of assessing how your brand engages with the common masses and how it's being perceived in Social Media! 

Given there are 500 million tweets in a day with almost one-third of the world population residing on social networks, it’s a ‘no-brainer’ that brands should ‘listen’ to  these candid conversations that take place in Social Media in the name of tweets, Facebook posts, Pins, Snap Chats, Vines and many more. 

But simply monitoring ‘social mentions’ and conversations related to your brand or product and just keeping a good tab on them, gets you nowhere – unless you decide to take strategic actions from the acquired data… only then it can qualify as ‘Social Listening’! 

Dan Neely from Networked Insights, rightly puts it when he says, “Monitoring sees Trees; listening sees the forest”. In other words he means to say - ‘monitoring’ is simply looking at symptoms, that which lies on the surface, whereas ‘listening’ is to find the causes, to see the bigger picture, to feel the underlying vein, find patterns and track sentiments to help decide and devise the next effective action. 

The brands who have mastered this practice of ‘social listening’ know only too well that social media can be quite ‘noisy’, and it requires a well-crafted Social Media Strategy to cut through this clutter and find and engage with the mentions, actions or conversations related to their brand. 

The following are 5 Case Studies of such creative brands that have thoroughly used their ‘Social Listening’ skills to make a positive impact with their audiences: 

Zelmer’s Response To Vacuum Cleaner Enthusiasts


This story involves Zelmer, one of the long-standing vacuum cleaner manufacturers of Central Europe and a four-year-old boy, Wojtek. 

As it happens, little Wojtek seemed very fond of home appliances, especially vacuum cleaners. And to cheer him up on his birthday, his mother surprised him with a birthday cake that was made to look like a Zelmer vacuum cleaner! She even posted it on Instagram with hashtags #birthday #zelmer #vacuum:

Zelmer was quick to catchup on the story and reached out to the family with a surprise offer. They went that ‘extra mile’ and offered them a free tour in one of their factories – A dream comes true for a little 4-year-old-kid!


Wojtek, his older brother Krzy and their mother immediately accepted Zelmer’s invitation. They visited a nearby factory and were given a tour of the entire process involved in vacuum cleaner manufacturing. 

The brand of course didn’t leave it at that but took the opportunity to shower the little fans with other goodies including teddy-bears and yet another birthday cake! The video starring little Wojtek has already gathered 40k views, over 250 likes and 27 shares. 

A Photoshoot Offer


On a similar vein, Zelmer took their ‘social listening’ game to reach out to Irena and her granddaughter Ewa on Facebook. When Ewa wrote on Zelmer’s Facebook page that her grandmother cannot imagine cleaning without their 46-year-old Zelmer vacuum cleaner, the brand surprised the girls by inviting them for a photo shoot in their studios:

These stories from Zelmer give a clear picture on how brands can truly listen and use their creativity to reach out, surprise and establish a strong relationship with their customers, all the while crafting a positive brand image. 

Da Grasso – ‘Pizza Giveaway’ Campaign based on ‘Social Listening


How can you use social listening to kick off an innovative marketing campaign to increase customer engagement and brand presence? Da Grasso, a pizza restaurants chain has done just that with its out-of-the-box social media publicity stunt, entirely based on social listening! 

This was a ‘one day’ campaign, where the brand tracked all the mentions in Facebook to zoom in on the ones where people talked about fancying a pizza or they were hungry or wanted something to eat in general. 

They would then make the effort to find addresses of these audiences (most likely from a friend) and send a Da Grasso Patrol team to deliver a hot pizza at the doors of the authors of the posts. 

Here’s an example of a posting on Facebook of a ‘soon-to-be Da Grasso Pizza fan’:


The Snapshot below shows the Da Grasso Patrol team delivering pizzas at the doors of pleasantly surprised Facebook post authors:


Throughout the day, this clever campaign managed to deliver 52 pizzas, generated 135% increase on online discussion about Da Grasso, with 95% opinions about the stunt being positive. The Da Grasso Facebook page interactions also increased by 25%! 

All in all, Da Grasso proved how a brand can use ‘Social Listening’ to strategically apply with creative campaign ideas and bring immense value to the audience and win new customers along the way – along with an added ‘all positive buzz’ for a brand that takes goes the ‘extra mile’ to serve its customers! 

A Porterhouse Surprise!


Taking the food delivery to another level, here’s how a US based restaurant chain, Morton’s Steak House managed to pull an amazing social media stunt based on social listening on Twitter. 

The tweet they managed to pick up was of a person who was boarding a plane and mentioned that a steak dinner from Morton’s would be a perfect end to his flight. 

Yep, all he had to do was ask and as soon as he got off the plane, there was this waiter in a tuxedo who received him with a bag of full steak dinner:

If you’ve been wondering why would a brand go to these lengths to make one customer feel good, then here’s a catch; The person tweeting happened to be Peter Shankman, a celebrated entrepreneur and thus a credible ‘Influencer’ for the brand to amplify it’s act of ‘incredible customer service’. 

Imagine the response and reaction from more than 100,000 followers of Peter once they receive the above tweets in their feeds.  A great example of how a brand can identify and use influencers and advocates through social mentions, to create a positive stir! 

Virgin Train – Missing Toilet Roll!


As funny as it sounds, Adam Greenwood, 16, who was travelling from Euston to Glasgow in Virgin Trains, realised there was no toilet paper in the loo… but it was too late. This is what he tweeted from the loo: I’ve just had a reasonably large poo and there is no toilet roll left on the @virgintrains 19.30 train from Euston to Glasgow pls send help

To the boy’s amazement, within 2 minutes Virgin responded with a ‘Which Coach Adam? And promised to send someone immediately.


It wasn’t long before he found a guy in a black suit knocking at the door, who handed him the toilet rolls he so desperately needed. Once finishing the job he started, Adam happily posted his appreciation for the brand’s amazing customer service:

The humorous ‘missing toilet roll’ incident immediately went viral across Twitter, Reddit and many social media platform. Some of the newspapers also covered the funny tale. 

That was yet another story of how a seemingly disastrous situation was converted into an all-positive ending. It was only possibly because Virgin Trains had their ears and eyes wide open and were constantly monitoring the SM platforms - and of course their response to the issue with the ingenuity to flip the story to add value to their brand image, is worth learning from.


Let's all be vigilant and keep our ears/eyes open on Social Media. It's not possible for brands to control what people mention about them in the social tweets, posts and vines, but it sure helps to ‘listen’, analyse and  plan before one engages to bring a positive outcome.

If you'd like more assistance with your content or would like to discuss anything covered today, we'd love to hear from you.

Call Andy Fox (me) on (03) 5249 5570 or email andy@element7digital.com.au

Our Website is element7digital.com.au 

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