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Sonic Drive-In: Social Media & Multiple Agencies — Live from BlogWell

Coverage of this session by Kellogg School of Management’s Social Media Manager, Autumn McReynolds. Connect with her by following her on Twitter.

2:10 —’s Kurt Vanderah introduces Sonic Drive-In’s Director of Social Media, Christi Woodworth.

2:11 — Today we’re going to talk about process. This will be especially relevant to those of you working with multiple agencies on how to funnel everyone in the right direction to really deliver to your customers.

2:13 – Christi asks, which agency leads your social engagement? “They all have a point of view on social. And, frequently, they are all right.” So, what do you do?

2:15 — How does it work? Christi explains: It starts with a briefing + bonus, then continues to regular content + award, status meetings + final execution and results + reporting.

2:17 — We let them know that they might come back with a great idea but another agency ends up executing, she says.

2:20 — Interesting takeaway: For social, Sonic’s key KPI is number of shares. Then, it’s time to analyze and figure out what caused those results.

2:22 — Examples of recent campaigns: Groundhog Predict-a-Thon, BrackeTOTology, The Unsung History of the Shake on BuzzFeed and more. The Groundhog campaign drove lots of traffic to the site, as well as conversation on Twitter.

2:30 — If you are operating in an environment with multiple agencies, this has worked for Sonic, and they’re about to do their fourth briefing assignment. Each time, the ideas have gotten better and better.

Q & A:
Q: Shares are important to you. What type of campaigns do you see shared most often?

A: Offers, in general. From a non-promotion perspective, we use as much user-generated content as possible. In the spring, we had a photo of a woman in a canoe at a Sonic. That was one of the most highly-shared, non-promotional offers.

Q: We’re all really pushed to sell, but how do you later connect shares up to a bigger KPI? How do you get executive buy-in?

A: Yes and no. We can’t always tie everything directly back, especially if it was on TV. What we can do and what has helped us determine future offers is ask whether it’s based on type. For some reason, corn dogs get shared a lot. Sales tend to be good for those kind of offers, so we try to go back and analyze which got shared widely.

Q: Why did you take the approach you described with your agencies?

A: There are times that it has been difficult because there’s not just one social media agency, for example. If everyone has expertise in digital, we get to know what that is and work to leverage that vs. hiring one for something very specific, like social media.

Q: How does the best idea plan work? How do you get agencies to agree to that?

A: The digital team does not make that decision alone. We come together as a leadership team and agree on what we believe the best idea was and send the person who works with that agency to work toward execution.

Q: Does everyone get along and offer ideas to other teams (e.g. social to PR team)?

A: We have had those conversations more informally. Everyone has an opinion about everything, so it does come up.

Q: Do agencies get a bonus or just a bonus assignment?

A: It’s a bonus assignment. While there are times that it comes with bonus budget dollars, but it’s not a bonus in the typical sense.

June 19, 2013 0 comments

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