For people around the world, including tens of millions in the U.S. alone, running is more than just exercise—it’s a way of life.
Over 65 million Americans strapped on their running shoes and pounded the pavement between fall 2016 and spring 2017. If your business model depends on these individuals, it pays to listen to them.
So that’s what Brooks Running did.
Using Simply Measured, a Sprout Social company, Brooks tapped into the potential of social listening to measure performance, inform strategy and make sure it’s giving runners what they want. Social intelligence has helped the company capture nearly 200 million impressions, 1.6 million engagements and 1.5 million link clicks in the past year alone.
Brooks has used Simply Measured since 2014, before Melissa Stump came on board as the company’s Social Media Lead. Since her arrival she’s used it to support her social strategy.
The focus on Simply’s social listening capabilities was originally inspired by quality control. Brooks wanted to be the first to know if any issues arose regarding the quality of its shoes and other products. While that priority remains, the organization’s use of listening has expanded to include campaigns. From the company’s work in honor of Global Running Day to the launch of its new Levitate shoe, it relies on Simply Measured to analyze the sentiment, volume and reach of social conversations.
Simply Measured’s social listening features allow brands like Brooks to dive into real-time conversations to see who’s talking and what they’re saying, as well as detailing the relevant keywords and hashtags being used alongside mentions of the brand. Companies can find emerging trends and proactively capitalize on them, learning which audience segments talk most about their brand to gain better insight into activity among different age groups, genders and geographic locations. They can also see who the most influential people are in specific population segments, opening the door to influencer marketing partnerships.
“For any major moment for us, we really want to focus on what insights in our community might be bubbling up,” Stump said. “So, for Global Running Day, for example, we’re really focused on shared voice.”
These insights are then used to inform future campaigns.
“In the case of Global Running Day, we took the insights from listening last year and pulled all that together into a recap as we start to brainstorm for 2018,” Stump said. “We also definitely try to use listening to connect the print and digital world, connecting the things that people are seeing in retail locations or getting in their mailbox to what we’re putting out on social. We want to understand the customer journey throughout the entire cycle and listening is helping us do that.”
The data Brooks captures from listening can also be used to enhance how the company interacts with its online community, helping the brand optimize customer experience. However, the team first needed a tool that empowered internal experts to easily contribute. Stump turned to the Sprout Social platform for help.
“We really needed a tool that could make it easy for multiple people to get in and help us answer questions,” she said. “Sprout has been really great for that. It’s really an amazingly simple dashboard that has worked wonders for all the people who need to come in and out of the platform. We’ve really loved how quickly we were able to onboard them.”
In terms of measuring performance, Stump uses Simply Measured to quickly zero in on the metrics that matter.
“The Simply dashboard is really good for us to pull information in real time or track data in real time,” she said. “The simplicity of getting all that data together in one place has been great for us. We kind of set our KPIs on a campaign basis. We could be looking at our engagement rate based of the photos that our influencers are putting out or looking at the number of hashtags and mentions and what kind of reach that gets us.”
If increased brand awareness and interaction among the running community is the goal, Brooks has sprinted across the finish line. Year over year on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as of February 28, 2018, the company achieved a:
Twenty-five percent of large and mid-sized companies believe the primary benefit of social listening is improving products and services, 24% believe it’s attracting new customers and 21% believe it’s providing better customer service.
For Brooks Running, it’s all of the above, and then some.
Through Simply Measured, the company has the power to identify where conversations about its brand are happening, see where growth is occurring, discover what’s driving online dialogue, zero in on specific demographics, filter conversations based on need, relevance and sentiment, and see who the biggest drivers of activity are.
Research is expensive, and honest opinions are hard to come by. Social listening provides Brooks with a chance to capture qualitative data at scale quickly and easily.
Brooks bills itself as the maker of the best running gear in the world. Through social listening, it can make sure its customers agree.