Eighty-four million impressions from a Twitter exchange. Real-time marketing, powered by NetBase, and a streamlined internal approval process for engagement made that possible for Arby’s.

In our most recent Social Spotlight webinar, Josh Martin, Arby’s Director of Digital and Social Media, explained how Arby’s has become a best-in-class brand for social engagement. And Josh had the great idea for the famous @ Pharrell tweet that went viral.


Some webinar attendees were surprised to hear that Arby’s Twitter exchange with pop star Pharrell was not a paid endorsement. Josh explained how NetBase’s Triggered Alert feature enabled the flow of conversation with Pharrell for the Grammys and then continued through the Oscars. Arby’s estimates it received $30 million of free PR value simply from the buzz and impressions related to that exchange. The company also got 83,000 retweets as compared to the 50 to 75 Arby’s tweets normally get.

Combined results for the Oscars and Grammys was an impressive:

117M impressions

1304 Media Placements

743 Broadcast Placements

Congratulations to Josh and Arby’s for capitalizing on @Pharrell’s hat! The story was so engaging and showed how Arby’s re-energized their brand with top social words popping up like “hilarious” and “devoted fan” in their social word cloud.


More Insights from Josh

There was so much interest in our webinar that we could not get to all the questions. Josh kindly provided the answers to the additional questions from listeners below:

Q: What were the top challenges you faced with the social listening (NetBase)command center and how did you deal with them?

Josh: The biggest challenge for us was the aggressive timeline to get our Command Center up and running. Receiving approval internally was the easy part as our internal stakeholders recognized the value in investing in our social media team. We had an aggressive deadline to get the Command Center live and operational, so there were a few challenges along the way.

Q: Aside from PR and impressions, are there other ways you measure ROI on your social media efforts?

Josh: In terms of social media ROI, we focus on data that NetBase provides (i.e., mentions, impressions, etc.). We’re also exploring overlaying sales data with social data to determine if there are any trends or correlations to be made.

Q: What aspects of the NetBase interface make the tool easy to use specifically for Arby’s users?

Josh: We provide our internal stakeholders with a business user login to NetBase, so they have easy access to the information. We teach the business users how to read/interpret the dashboards, and they’re able to access the data at any time.

Q: If you hadn’t had NetBase and the Command Center, would the Grammys/Oscars interaction with Pharrell have been possible? Why or why not?

Josh: It’s difficult to say whether or not our tweet during the Grammys would’ve happened if we didn’t have NetBase in place. I will say that our timing with our responses throughout this experience was perfect and NetBase played a major role in delivering alerts and insights for us to make quick decisions.

Q: Are there specific dashboards you find more useful than others? Why?

Josh: We’ve found all the dashboards to be useful. Our digital and social media team leverages the Brand Analysis dashboard most often as it covers the entire Arby’s conversation. Our product development team is most interested in our Product Launches dashboards as they can monitor the conversation around individual menu items. We create multiple Issues Management dashboards for our PR team as they pay close attention to any negative chatter that surrounds our brand terms. The LIVE Pulse™ pages that display live social data in real time have been a great addition to the Arby’s Listening Lounge.

Q: How closely do you monitor what your competition is doing regarding social media?

Josh: Our primary focus is on our brand terms and what people are saying about Arby’s. We do not monitor our competitors as closely as our brand, but we do have dashboards created for our competitors that we can leverage at any time.

Q: As a fellow social media director, if I asked you if I should purchase NetBase, what would you say and why?

Josh: As someone who has explored and used several social media analytics platforms, I have been thoroughly impressed with NetBase. Through the implementation of the Command Center, to the NetBase analysts who provide support to our team, to the user interface that displays insights, partnering with NetBase has helped take our social media efforts to the next level.

You can watch a replay of the Arby’s Social Spotlight webinar here.

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