Goofy sports bar and restaurant Barney's Beanery increased customer engagement on Foursquare and Instagram with a two-month campaign on social media marketing platform MomentFeed. Customers could compete for gift cards, t-shirts and the best tables to watch the NBA finals on the restaurants' screens by taking photos, tagging them and posting them to the two sites.
AJ Sacher, regional manager of Barney's Beanery, said, "For us, the primary piece of data is how many people have been in the restaurant. Where it spreads the word is when they let people in their social networks know where they are. When they check into Barney's, what they really are doing is promoting us to their friends."
Barney's was ready to move its social media marketing beyond check-ins. The gastropub with five LA-area locations had launched its first Foursquare campaign in late 2011, had separate Facebook pages for each location and kept up a couple of Twitter Feeds.
Customers already took a lot of pictures at the photogenic restaurants - think colorful car seats at the bar and license plates on the wall. They responded to the promotion by taking even more. When measured relative to check-ins on Facebook and Foursquare, photos increased by 66 percent. Moreover, there was a halo effect: Customers continued to take and share more photos even after the contest ended.
MomentFeed provides content feeds, including tweets from different locations, Foursquare tips and Foursquare and Instagram photos. The interface lets clients republish tips and photos to the corresponding Facebook place pages, as well as to reply directly to customers via tweets or comment on customers' Instagram photos. It offers centralized campaign management for Facebook Offers and Foursquare Specials with real-time analytics.
Barney's used the platform to curate customer photos and publish them to each location's Facebook place page, tweet out the link and then automatically send a thank you to Foursquare users. The platform helped staffers easily find the best photos to spotlight.
"They're creating content for us to promote our brand with. This is constantly going on anyway, and it was so easy to run a contest and complete the engagement loop. We were recognizing what customers were doing already and rewarding them for it," Sacher said.
Rob Reed, founder and CEO of MomentFeed, said that his platform lets clients increase their share of earned social media. "There's an earned media value in having more customers take more photos and share them with their friends. Through MomentFeed, Barney's can leverage that by distributing those Instagram and Foursquare photos to Facebook and generating additional earned media."
Sacher acknowledged that it's hard to correlate social media engagement with actual restaurant sales. But he said the MomentFeed platform lets Barney's sole social media manager work more efficiently, while the analytics let the company identify the most potentially valuable prospects.
Reed, noting that the contest was promoted only on the restaurant Facebook pages, said, "We didn't expect it to move the needle on sales. Barney's wanted people to engage more with the location while they were there. It's about saying, you have people there with smartphones in hand; you can take relatively light steps to significantly increase their engagement with the brand and the sharing of those experiences."
MomentFeed, which also counts Cinnabon and Chili's as clients, focuses on multi-location, brick-and-mortar brands. It was founded in 2010, launched its beta platform in 2011 and made it available for general release in January of this year. It charges clients a monthly subscription fee based on the number of locations and number of users.
By searching for photos and check-ins that were tagged and publicly posted, Barney's could reach out to people who weren't Facebook fans, acknowledge their photos and invite them in. That recognition and social proof may be just as valuable to customers as gift cards and t-shirts, Sacher thinks. He said, "Just telling people they're awesome and thanking them for the great photo is probably enough."
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Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.
March 19, 2014