How to Measure Success on Social Media


How do you know whether all your efforts on social media have even helped helped to grow your business?

After all, “likes” are just “likes” unless they attract new clients. How do you
know whether your audience are actively engaging in and interested in what you have to say?

  • Look for a slow but steady gain in followers – this proves that word of mouth is spreading.
  • Look less at likes, and more at comments - if people love what you do, they’ll be sure to share their appreciation or admiration.
  • Look for direct messages – they show people want to know more.
  • Look for tags – if people are tagging you in a positive post, they’re spreading the word about your brand to their whole audience.
  • Look at your blog post views – are your posts translating to more clicks-throughs to your website?

If none of this is currently happening, it might be time to pay more attention to what your audience needs, and work on building an authentic community.

For that is what social is: a community. Not just another online shop, but a place to engage with and inspire other people and, ultimately, cheer each other on.

Sarah Fretwell is a Copywriter at Cubaka.

Sarah is a Copywriter and Community Manager with a background in digital marketing and advertising. When she's not writing and conceptualising creative ideas, you'll find her on the yoga mat.


The Changing Dynamics Of Community Management


Simon Rutherford, our managing director and Matthew Searle, one of our community managers, were both interviewed by Laura Stanley for CorpComms Magazine on the importance of the community manager role.

Interviewed alongside other industry experts, Rutherford and Searle explore the changing dynamics of the community manager and discuss how the role has developed to meet the needs of today’s customer. The article analyzes how moderation can now be seen as playing second fiddle to other elements, now that creative writing and use of language have come into play. With Searle explaining how language guidelines enable a brand to have a clear and consistent tone of voice when a customer communicates with any given community manager.

The article goes on to dissect how community managers who may be restricted to 140 characters don’t always appear to be creatively restricted, with many CM’s now leading creative thinking. However, the article also discusses how this open creative approach can be met with reluctancy from clients, who sometimes require a lengthy approval processes. Rutherford examines how this can limit a brand's opportunity to engage with popular culture as he reports on a successful case study for Lidl that wouldn’t have been possible with such red tape.

You can read the full article here.

Rosie Howe is a Junior Creative at Cubaka.
Rosie works across all our brands, helping create social content from the ground up, specialising in conceptualising, illustration and wearing pink boots. Before Cubaka, Rosie conceptualised a national campaign for Cadbury and was interviewed by Grayson Perry for the Guardian.


Will Facebook’s Ad Plans Shoot the Messenger?


Originally published in Wallblog on March 10, 2016

TechCrunch recently published a potentially damaging leak around Facebook’s rumoured plan to introduce ads to Messenger, the platform’s instant messaging text and voice service that lets users chat with friends on both mobile and the main site.

The leak detailed how, as early as Q2 this year, brands would be able to message customers who had previously contacted the brand through the app with ads.

No doubt this is was Facebook’s cautious first step towards monetising the platform.

And no doubt this service would be initially available to only a select handful of large brand players in order to test ROI.

But as cautious as the intentions may have been, it’s a move that’s likely to damage trust and leave a bad taste in consumers’ mouths. At a time when ad blockers are on the rise, it’s easy to see how the revelation could throw a spanner in Zuckerburgs’ plans for Messenger.

According to Global Web Index, after Facebook itself, Facebook Messenger is the platform with the highest percentage active users across the board in most demographics. This makes it a potential marketer’s dream.

But the ambition for Messenger doesn’t stop there. Far from it. In fact it’s fair to say that Zuckerburg, having hired PayPal star David Marcus, has some seriously grand plans for Messenger.

The vision is to make Messenger the ubiquitous channel through which customers communicate with brands throughout the web. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the ambition for messenger is to replace the 1-800 number.

Until now, users have enjoyed ad free access to Messenger, using it largely for it’s closed group functionality, to communicate privately with friends and family, either individually or as groups.

It’s not the first time Facebook will have had to deal with concerns about monetizing their portfolio of social spaces with advertising. When Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014, Zuckerberg promised users: “I don’t personally think ads are the right way to monetize messaging.”

And despite claims that no unsolicited ads will be distributed through messenger and only customers who have already messaged brands will be eligible for targeted ads, it seems too much too soon if Zuck wants to retain trust and respect.

So I can’t help but think that it’s not only the leak that’s premature, but the overall plan for advertising as well. The app is only just getting started on its grand quest, so introducing ads to the platform as early as this year is far too soon.

For most people, communicating with brands through Messenger is far from the norm. The last thing Facebook wants to do is bombard people with ads through Messenger before the behaviour of brand contact through social becomes normalised.

For Facebook’s grand plans for Messenger to become reality, customers need to see Messenger as something that makes their lives easier. Or better than that, the social behemoth needs to develop the app until people see Messenger as an essential way to interact with brands. Only then can Facebook begin to phase in advertising very, very cautiously and very, very cleverly.


Read more here.



Modern Misconceptions of Strategy


Olly Honness, partner at Cubaka, was featured in an article by Phil Lattimore in CIM  published on March 7, 2016

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half
— John Wanamaker

This famous maxim may once have held true, but wastage is no longer acceptable in the age of social media, says Olly Honess, partner at social agency Cubaka: “Although things have improved since Wanamaker’s day, wastage has generally been accepted as a norm in marketing because it's an unwritten rule that not all of the marketing budget will be put to effective use. Some say as much as £17bn a year is wasted by so-called experts. 

“In the digital era, if waste is defined as delivering a carefully honed marketing message to the wrong audience, there is no longer an excuse. The sheer depth of data available through social media allows us to identify and ring-fence audiences based on interests, attitude, age, sex, location, occupation…to name but a few.”

Takeaway: this should be an age of marketing economy.

Read the full article on CIM.


The Five Things You Can’t Afford to Miss in the Digital Space During 2016


Business owners and entrepreneurs will likely benefit from a variety of digital technologies set to explode in 2016. And as the race to digital transformation progresses, we’ll start to see the leaders separate from the rest of the pack by setting a firm pace that’s fuelled by five essential ingredients.

Olly Honess, partner at Cubaka, took a look at the trends that will become vital to business growth – and the domination of any sector.


Read more on Real Business.


Social-First: Not Just for Christmas


Originally published in PR WEEK on November 25, 2015


In the marcomms world, November means blockbuster Christmas campaign launches, writes Olly Honess at Cubaka.


Although it’s no surprise John Lewis is yet again high up the leader board, but scratch the surface and you’ll see something less predictable happening this year: a new ‘social-first’ seasonal seeding strategy. 

Until now, social’s role has mostly been as a mere barometer of a TV ad’s popularity. But this year, social has been gifted with a weightier role. 

Some big players have previewed their Christmas TV commercials through social channels ahead of the ad’s official TV debut. 

John Lewis has – almost inevitably – been a trailblazer here, having trialled the idea back in 2014 and using 2015 to cement the strategy as a way of really building hype and anticipation. 

But it’s not alone. Other retailers like Lidl are also following suit. 

Although Sainsbury’s didn’t give a sneak peak of its lovable Mog the Cat Christmas TV spot over social, the brand has made bold moves to thoroughly embrace social as a crucial campaign pillar. 




Sainsbury’s is encouraging children to submit their own version of Mog’s Christmas Calamity over Twitter and Facebook; a move that brings social centre stage and more effectively embeds the campaign in people’s hearts and minds. 

Although big glossy TV ads are most brands’ BHAGs, TV ads – no matter how glossy – are pieces of branded content (albeit very expensive ones). 

And branded content is much more likely to resonate when it’s been shared peer-to-peer.

As any PR professional or WOM advocate already knows, this type of sharing is the exact principle that underpins all social media.

Yes, TV still has a role in festive marcomms. But it’s the social channels that give fans the chance to spend more time with a brand. 

Social is, without doubt, the best way to foster a deeper and more personal relationship between businesses and their customers on a mass scale. 

So an awesome TV commercial is only ever one part of the story. 

And how better to amplify today’s PR prerequisite – ‘Social Purpose’ – than via social? 

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that John Lewis and Sainsbury’s, the two highest profile campaigns with charity tie-ins, have well thought out social strategies this year. 

Social is the un-preaching way to subtly remind people that John Lewis’s Man on the Moon is supporting Age UK while Sainsbury’s moggie is helping Save the Children and Read On. 

This socially-amplified tactic keeps the warm fuzzy feeling alive while parrying attacks from bah-humbugs and cynics.

If these Goliaths of Christmas marcomms can teach us anything, it’s that a social-first strategy is an incredibly effective secret weapon. And I’d argue it’s "not just for Christmas". 

If the festive season doubles as a marcomms masterclass, the takeout is that social should form the core of campaigns throughout the year. 

After all, why shout to be heard through expensive TV media, when people are willing to whisper your name peer to peer? 


Read more on PR Week.


Why Under Armour’s Social Network Ambition Is Ultra Fit


From Net-a-Porter’s Net Set to Penguin’s My Independent Bookshop, it’s not a radically new idea for brands to launch their own social networks. But Under Armour’s ambition to rival mainstream networks with its own media platform is a particularly healthy move.

As seen in health and fitness’s dominance of wearables, it’s a market that’s hungry for digital innovation. But more than that, it’s a category that’s driven by an unparalleled level of fandom (the crucial ingredient behind any successful social network). From Protein Princesses through to Spornosexuals and MAMILs, the new breed of fitness fanatics is incredibly socially conspicuous and they love to strut their stuff across the likes of Instagram and Strava.

Fitness updates shared by friends and those held in admiration help to normalise exercise and ‘nudge’ people into picking up their trainers. Even more effectively, social networks tap into people’s rampant competitive nature by challenging connections into beating goals and achievements.

This propensity to amplify achievements across bespoke social networks will be further enhanced by new technology. The ongoing affinity between fitness and tech is only going to get stronger when connected clothing hits the market and adoption of wearables becomes more mainstream. Such innovations mean fitness freaks will be able to tangibly visualise how they’re performing and swiftly publish their results across purpose-built networks.

So it will come as no surprise to anyone who understands basic human behaviour that fitness-dedicated social networks, like Under Armour’s Record, can positively shape habits. This is something the sector can derive immense value from when gym memberships, that wither if users don’t form a regular gym habit, are a vital revenue stream.

Given the social media’s ability to augment exercise habits, combined with the painful churn rates experienced by many health club chains, it almost beggars belief that more gyms brands haven’t tested how white-labeled versions of social networks affect membership longevity.

If a fitness brand is bold enough to create its own social network, gym bunnies whose habits have been changed for the better by the network will, at least in some part, attribute their success to the brand and reward that brand with sales and loyalty.

Social is arguably the most effective channel for connecting with fitness fanatics in a personalised and habit-forming way; building bridges with customers that ultimately lead to loyalty and business growth.

When looking at the future relationship between health clubs and members, gym bunnies and fitness brands, social is the healthy way forward for both user and brand. So here’s hoping Under Armour’s trailblazing example will not just nudge users, but also the sector’s marketers, into taking social media more seriously.