An example of a company that should have taken a harder look before it leapt into the deep end of the social media pool was Waitrose, whose #Waitrosereasons Twitter campaign began on 17 September.
Unfortunately for the grocery giant, instead of listing reasons why they loved Waitrose, Twitter users took the opportunity to poke fun.
YouGov’s tool for measuring what is heard on social media shows that on the day of #Waitrosereasons, “Waitrose” appeared on seven per cent of UK Twitter feeds.
By 20 September, 12 per cent of the UK population caught wind of Waitrose, with frequent mentions of “Waitrosereasons”, “ridicule”, “invites” and “Guardian”.
Prior to media coverage of the online reaction, Waitrose could have rest assured that its “ridicule” on the Monday had been limited to a relatively isolated group on Twitter.
BrandIndex, a daily brand tracker surveying a 2,000 nationally representative sample, also shows that Waitrose got greater attention after an article in the Guardian, not after the “Twitter storm”.
And Waitrose’s overall brand health score didn’t shift until after the article appeared, at which point it dropped four points.
Traditional media clearly still outweighs Twitter in its capacity to widen attention surrounding a brand – and so social data must never be used in isolation to interpret brand perception overall.
Stephan Shakespeare is the chief executive of YouGov