Geo-Local Social Media Monitoring and Missed Opportunity of Social Media

For my talk at the Columbia Business School Alumni Club on the evening of June 16th I’m preparing a case study of five local Times Square Restaurants.  As my readers may have guessed, I refine my ideas as I write and convey information – it’s as if the act of sharing the information with others, gives me more information.  I’ll stay away from Sentiment Analysis for the time being in this case study.

Clearly, I’ll be developing this idea more – and I welcome your input.

I also find considering other points of view are often helpful in getting a better result in Social Media Monitoring –  if  I can’t talk about what I am measuring and how, it’s difficult to get that information – and I bet that’s pretty symptomatic of many in this new, emerging field of  Social Monitoring – they don’t want to talk about and show the actual data they collect – which actually keeps the industry from evolving as quickly as it could or should.

My hypothesis starting out .. was that  I’m going to find  more Social Media Activity at Havana Central’s Times Square restaurant location on W.46th (because we have a community strategist, Cecilia Pineda Feret, and we’re actively doing Social Media Outreach and an owner that is supportive of Social Media) than the others (consisting of Carmines, Bond 45, Heartland Brewery/ChopShop and Blue Fin).  As I don’t know the management of the other restaurants in this study, I do not know for sure what they are doing or not doing with Social Media – except what I found in relation to looking at specific local restaurants in Times Square, Manhattan – not the chain or franchise.  My other suspicion, is that overall, I would not find that much Social Media activity in any of the 5 restaurants since Social Media is still emerging in this sector (dining).

Using Radian6, I crafted very targeted queries for each restaurant that included the FourSquare URL, the restaurant name + “Times Square”, and various references to meeting, dining, drinking and music.  I excluded references to Mayor Bloomberg dining at Blue Fin after the bomb attempt recently, and any references to police activity which sometimes crops up.

Here’s the first chart – over the last 30 days Havana Central Times Square had close to double the average number of social media references as the other 4 restaurants, and close to a third of the total references, period.

One of the problems I ran into was writing queries that reflected just social media activity or outreach – a form of marketing –  (a meetup, tweetup, FourSquare checkin, perhaps a tweet that some one was at the restaurant) vs. any information about a particular restaurant location that was online.   I reasoned that if I just focused on social media activities, I’d probably find next to nothing on any of the locations, even Havana Central would not show all that much – so I decided to open up the query to music, menus and dining in general – reasoning that act of showing up in Social Media is … Social Media (even though it might not have been caused by outreach).

According to Radian6, Havana Central had visitors who on Twitter that had the most followers (opportunity to see) – but the numbers of followers were much closer between Havana Central and Carmines and that might who happened to drop by and tweet there.

I think it’s worth comparing these results to the Roger Smith Hotel – because they went all out on Social Media and have made a name for themselves as the Social Media Hotel – something no restaurant has done yet.

One thing a restaurant has that Roger Smith does not – is the propensity to buy – just about anyone that who says they are at a restaurant is probably going to be a customer and will be ordering.

That might not necessarily be true at a hotel (on the other hand, when people do spend money at a hotel, as those who are staying there, they usually spend much more – case in point – just the cost of the room, not to mention eating and purchasing other items and  services there).

In either case, Restaurant or Hotel – the more social media activity detected (via Monitoring, in this case using Radian6) the more money is likely to be spent at that location.    Let’s step back a second and think about why that is.   Today, it is still next to impossible to tie Social Media activity (a Tweet, Checking, Post, Blog Post, Photo, etc) to actual purchases, but it is clear that such activities are proxies for actual purchases of services, or meals, or rooms – even if we can’t always prove it yet (but will in the near future).

So with that in mind, you would think the more people check in using FourSquare to a restaurant, or to hotel, for that matter – the better – as in both cases, people are going to more likely than not be purchasing something – and as more people use Social Media – more people will be “checking in”.

We know Roger Smith Hotel (and Roger Smith life) has been active almost two years now – I want to compare these five restaurants using Radian6, and I can’t go back more than 30 days with a new profile – so we’ll look at Roger Smith’s last 30 days.

Roger Smith Hotel has 11 times more “buzz” than Havana Central (and they work pretty tirelessly on achieving that, as well) and more than 3 times the amount of buzz of all 5 restaurants, combined, over the last 30 days.

But what is even more compelling is the amount of twitter followers (the opportunity any follower is going to see a tweet or re tweet is small – but when you have close to 700,000 Twitter followers who could have seen an offer or message – that is impressive, and can not be ignored (see below).

We know “OTS” or Opportunity To See isn’t the same thing as money in the bank but it starts to count a lot who might potentially see a post or listing.  Want to know who is making up the bulk of the OTS opportunities for Roger Smith Hotel over the last 30 days?   Think Paul Baron (the same guy I met a few months ago) – the “Agent of Change” and @Jakrose, etc – you can sort the River of News by Twitter Followers (too bad it doesn’t do Facebook Friends as well – oh well – next year).

Last year I spoke with Brian Simpson who started Social Media outreach at Roger Smith Hotel and he told me that he could trace as much as 20,000.00 per month in additional income to the hotel as a result of the Social Media Work he and his team are doing there – and I bet that he’s not captured everything – and he listed out what he captures – including Lily’s Restaurant – etc.

When you add all the people who stay at Roger Smith – like @iJustine and @ChrisBrogan, you kinda figure – that a good turn comes back – over and over – and mind you – the charts above just show activity over the last 30 days – the cumulative charts over the last two years would show far more.

But wanted to end this post on the starting point – the missed opportunities all the restaurants in this study have – there’s so many possibilities to get people coming in and saying they are “in the restaurant” which means – they’re spending money there – creating value – it’s a wonder that more focus hasn’t been put on Social Media, before now.

And here’s the activity over the last month as a trend chart

The peaks in activity at Roger Smith Hotel is closely tied to events – in this case (May 9th/10th) a Clambake on the 16th Floor Terrace and a Digital Somethings panel – I bet Brian is able to tie every activity at the hotel to increased income – and everyone who Tweets is usually with someone else, several people.

So lets take another step back and go to the restaurants – which are all comparable in prices for a meal – let’s eyeball it and say a typical meal for 1 is between $30-$40 dollars (in the “moderate range” even at Blue Fin, which is fairly expensive – I have been there.

Assume that your social media activities generates 100 people a month that come in due to social media – check in – and they are with at least two other people – (average reservation is usually for 3 people) – that means every check in is worth close to 100 bucks – every tweet could be worth that much as it’s a proxy for activity – we know these people who are tweeting are eating and drinking – and not all of the people in a party tweet – one will, maybe the others won’t.

If we look at 100 people (reasonable in Havana Central’s case – as we’ve documented that much, at least, in all three restaurant locations) per month – we get 10,000 dollars per month due to Social Media Activity – and that’s not counting all the people in the Follower and Friends stream who see the message – even if they don’t act on it.

Finally, the missed opportunity is in finding ways to distinguish people who tweet and check in who were coming in anyway (we should encourage this – give them a drink – that is what I helped come up with) vs those who would not ordinarily come in  – but will now – because they will get a discount via a promotion – or  a friend ate there and liked it (recommendation).

I don’t think there is any doubt Social Media Activity translates into Money – for now, we’re still using proxies, but in the future – we’ll have the exact dollar amounts – even now, we have a pretty good idea about Social Media ROI – and if you don’t believe me ask Brian Simpson over at Roger Smith Hotel – he’ll tell you.

But I can not end this post by throwing out how we can start recording new activity – a new visit vs repeat visitors (just like we do in Web Analytics).

Ok, say we go back to Havana Central – and talk about Twitter and FourSquare check ins / tweets.   Say we use Radian6 to export a River of News for as long back as we can go (in this case, over 6 months) and de-duplicate – so we have a list of all the people who have checked in – but only one instance of each.

Every month – we get a list of all those who have checked in or tweeted – and compare it to the list I have just mentioned above – if the tweet or checkin comes from a new account/handle (someone has not checked in before, or tweeted before about Havana Central) it counts as one acquisition  (or $100.00 as I suggested – it will all equal out even if it turns out sometimes less is spent and other times, more).

VPEPR RT @IvetteZurita #HPRA NY Kick Off June 15, 5:30-7:30 pm, Havana Central, Times Square, RSVP #pr #latism 2352 2369
ENVIRALMENTALST Best Cuban food you can get without a communist dictator looking over your shoulder (@ Havana Central – Times Square) 1260 1575
TELENOTICIAS_ Inaugural HPRA-NY event on June 15, 5:30 pm @ Havana Central Times Square, NYC. Please come…you’re invited!!! #HPRA #HPRANY #HispanicPR 966 749
_DAVIDHENRY_ Inaugural HPRA-NY event on June 15, 5:30 pm @ Havana Central Times Square, NYC. Please come…you’re invited!!! #HPRA #HPRANY #HispanicPR 788 542
EZMAC99 I just ousted @laurenkristine3 as the mayor of Havana Central – Times Square on @foursquare! 601 500
IVETTEZURITA #HPRA NY Kick Off Event June 15/ 5:30-7:30 pm at Havana Central, Times Square, 151 West 46th Street, NY RSVP 452 496
CHRISTINASEES Ahhhh dame comida!!! (@ Havana Central – Times Square) 732 430
CEASETHEDAY @HavanaCentral love my droid. gowalla’s photo upload feature is neat. buzzed is great cause it integrates to droid easily, but 4sq is my fav 322 325
JUSTINLEUNG Getting some lunch. (@ Havana Central) 339 305
WONDERMARQ Cuban tapas and mojitos! (@ Havana Central – Times Square) 246 286
CORYRYANFRANK I’m at Havana Central – Times Square (151 W 46th St, btw 6th & 7th, New York). 392 237
PAULOBETO77 Following the 4sq tip. î„… (@ Havana Central – Times Square) 263 217
SPINSTRIPES I’m at Havana Central – Times Square (151 W 46th St, btw 6th & 7th, New York). 425 215
LAURENKRISTINE3 I’m at Havana Central – Times Square (151 W 46th St, btw 6th & 7th, New York). 354 154
ANDREAVERDURA Yum!!! (@ Havana Central – Times Square) 304 148
LISA_FAYE RT @ChefBoyAnde: I’m at Havana Central – Times Square (151 W 46th St, btw 6th & 7th, New York). 366 143
CHEFBOYANDE I’m at Havana Central – Times Square (151 W 46th St, btw 6th & 7th, New York). 367 115
TRIN14 …yum… (@ Havana Central – Times Square w/ 2 others) 262 94
WANTTOBDELUDED @THATdudeDomO well, there’s sangria 46 and victor’s cafe. i’m a fan of both. i’m a tad anti Havana Central because the food just isn’t wow 126 84
SHORTYS2CUTE Lunch @ Havana Central with the Hubby (@malafe15) 50 79
ALLDAYBOOGIE At havana central for lunch..paying my tibute to cinco de mayo 95 78
PABLOCRAYO Chillen w/ @tom_fishman (@ Havana Central – Times Square) 120 50
BRIANHGIBSON I’m at Havana Central – Times Square (151 W 46th St, btw 6th & 7th, New York). 60 35
EFBAUM I’m at Havana Central – Times Square (151 W 46th St, btw 6th & 7th, New York). 55 26
EBONYBEAUTY305 Is in times square with my loved ones eatin @Havana Central. Anyone wana join? 49 20
APT_6 Try the new and improved @apt_6 hat trick: Lillies for breakfast, Hale & Hearty for lunch, Havana Central for dinner 30 18
IAWILLIA I’m at Havana Central – Times Square (151 W 46th St, btw 6th & 7th, New York). 16 12
REDSPDR Time for mojitos. (@ Havana Central – Times Square) 24 11
ROBERT_SAYLOR @OGOchoCinco next time your in the city try havana central. its off of times square. awsome food! 31 6
SROD2010 moooojitos!- (@ Havana Central – Times Square w/ @redspdr) 6 2

In this case, over the last month – these Twitter/FourSquare accounts are logged – next month if any of these show up they are tracked as customer loyalty while new visitors are treated as aquisitions.

The list of visitors who have returned in the following month gets handed over to the community strategist to reach out to – these are encouraged to come back in.  Meanwhile, the new visitors are also treated differently – and when possible – are asked how and why came in the first place – this information is put into a CRM (a spreadsheet will do as an interim solution).

That’s how you start building ROI – that’s how you start showing the results of what your doing – this is where it all starts adding up.  You need to build these lists and keep updating them  – then you have something you can take to the BANK.

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11 thoughts on “Geo-Local Social Media Monitoring and Missed Opportunity of Social Media”

  1. Hi, wondering what account you found for Roger Smith Hotel with “close to 700,000 followers” – @RSHotel, the official account, has 7,126 followers? Apart from that, nice work.

  2. Hi Marshall,

    My advice would be to remove Roger Smith Hotel from the mix. I don’t find anything particularly impressive about their example (as shown here) as a Social Media case study. What I get from both the data and the anecdotes in your article is that Roger Smith uses Social Media to cater to the crowd inside the Social Media industry. All the events they hold (where people are sending tweets from) are inside the industry events. All the people you reference staying there are inside the SM industry people. As are the people who’s Tweets you share. So it doesn’t appear that they are reaching anyone, outside of people who do Social Media marketing for a living. Good for them — it is an excellent example of trade targeted marketing, bravo. But, at least in view of the case made here, it says very little about Social Media’s ability to reach the wider mass market audience outside the SM trade. It says, if you market yourself as the “Social Media Hotel,” then Social Media marketers will stay there. So New York City has enough Social Media gurus to support precisely one hotel.

    What will impress is a case study where Social Media shows solid ROI from customers who do NOT work in any social media related industry at all (after all, most people on Facebook and Twitter don’t) and get THOSE PEOPLE to become customers that spend money. Establishing yourself as the trendy hotel where Social Media hipsters stay and hold their events will work for maybe one establishment in each of a handful of large city, but is not a case study that scales.

    As always, I enjoy your site for your focus on analytics. That’s your strength. I would direct less of that at SM as a channel for media impressions, and more on SM as a customer relationship / customer service tool.

    Oh, as for Blue Fin (part of the B.R. Guest Restaurant Group), they have an enviable CRM program, and while I’ve identified areas of needed improvement, it is more advanced that 99% of the restaurant industry (and surely partly responsible for the success of their enterprise). My wife and I live in the neighborhood and dine there about 3 or 4 times a year, since their first year of business. Although there is high turnover among their staff of out-of-work actors and aspiring model types, they always know who we are, everyone addresses us by name… now of course this is faked, their CRM systems tells their staff who we are and that we’ve spent a bit of money there over many years, but it is effective — we get seated at the best tables and sometimes get served something complimentary when we dine… the staff doesn’t actually know us, our server is someone different everytime we go, but it does effectively create a VIP experience for their most valuable customers.

    My 2 cents — Especially in any hospitality-centric service industry, Social Media marketing should be one component in a comprehensive CRM and Customer Service strategy.

    Thanks for sharing your work in progress. I’ll try to stay current with it, as you refine it. And best of luck with your speaking engagement.


  3. Hi Pedro,

    Have to admit – I get mixed up with Colombia and Columbia – even as I write fast it gets even harder to remember which one I’m using – I’ll go back and make the correction(s).


  4. Nigel,

    I’m not picking up Followers to Roger Smith Hotel in my post, I’m picking up all the people who tweeted about Roger Smith Hotel and their follower base – two different things.

    Thanks for liking the post – I like the feedback I got – hope I get more.


  5. Hi Chris,

    Great comments and your totally right, Roger Smith is catering to converted. I used them as an example of an ultra successful hotel going after a niche – because I have no other restaurant to compare Havana Central to that is ultra successful in Social Media – I think there are any, anywhere – but if there is, it’s not yet in New York. Either that, or I’m not looking at it entirely right.

    In my case study – I can take out Roger Smith – or at least, mention them in passing as one example – but not compare the restaurants to it.

    Thanks for the long comments and for being a loyal reader – I will take up your advice and also you bring up a lot of good points esp the CRM – history database that Blue Fin has.

    I will give my readers credit when I present, for sure.


  6. Marshall,
    Great post and I will agree with Chris. The majority of our efforts were focused on the ‘converted’ just like when you want to go lobstering you head to the ocean not a stream in Vermont. I am not trying to be snarky, I am simply saying our efforts are multi-layered in that what better way to bring ‘social’ to the masses than to use the influencers and people using the tools daily. I am not sure how to even begin a campaign to people that are not already on Twitter, Facebook or avid readers of at least a couple blogs. I am not a ‘social media evangelist’ with stock in the platforms available to us, I am a 30 year F&B veteran using new tools to spread the stories of The Roger Smith Hotel.
    Are goal was to start local, in-house guests and NYC’ers with the hopes they would start to spread and share stories as well…
    In the last 18 months since we started to reach out actively I have made more real life friends than in the previous 10 years combined, you included.
    We are all committed to the newest tools and will continue to use them. As you move forward I look forward to reading new discoveries in the way to reach even the hard to find ‘social’ guests.
    Thank you for the kind words and keep up the great work.

  7. Wow! Thanks Brian!

    I think there’s a lot to think about here – the idea is to get people who aren’t really into social media to drop by – but- as you say – how can you ignore Twitter/Facebook Influentials? It’s not like we can turn people into Twitter Evangelists if they aren’t on Twitter – on the other hand, more people are getting on Twitter, FourSquare and Facebook all the time (privacy issues not withstanding) – so I expect that we’ll find the audience growing “with us”.

    I’ll incorporate your advice into my updates and presentation at Columbia Business School Alumni Club later this month.

    Thanks again,

  8. There are two links I saved that I believe you may find valuable. One is on Measuring Word of Mouth Marketing.

    The very best resource for measuring ROI on Social Media that I have found is TheBrandBuilder’s blog. He has an entire series on Social Media ROI but finding the “starting point” to them is not easy. That link will get you close.

    Be sure to notice what he says about how NOT to calculate Social Media ROI and the importance of using activity and outcome timelines. These quotes from him tell you how much more advanced his methods are than most you’ll find elsewhere:

    “ROI is NEVER digital – it is ALWAYS financial”

    “ROI and Impact are two completely different things.”

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