Social Media Explained Through the Eyes of a Donut


We were inspired by the famous “Social Media Explained” donut post and decided to act each piece out as well as add new networks.

Here is a list of the most commonly used social media networks for brands and what using each network portrays… with a donut.

1) Twitter – I’m eating a #Donut

2) Facebook – I like Donuts

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3)  Foursquare/Swarm – This is where I eat Donuts


4) Instagram - Here’s my vintage photo of a Donut


5) LinkedIn - My skills include Donut eating


6) YouTube - Here I am eating a Donut

7) Pinterest- Here’s a Donut recipe


8) Google+ – I’m a Google employee who eats Donuts

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9) Snapchat - Here is my cool drawing on top of a Donut…that will disappear in 4 seconds



10) Vine- The life and death of a Donut

And that is social media explained through the eyes of a Donut.



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World Cup 2014 – Followers Before and After


“There have been more tweets about the 2014 World Cup, before a ball has been kicked, than for the entire tournament in 2010.”

- Twitter blog

The World Cup was the most social sporting event since the dawn of social media. It trumped the Super Bowl and the Olympics in terms of engagement, tweets, Facebook likes–the whole nine yards. 16 million tweets were exchanged during the Brazil-Chile game alone (389,000 per minute). Tim Howard became an overnight superstar/sensation via social media: #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave. Even the soccer stars themselves turned to social media to explain, confess, and counter negative press (ex: Luis Suárez).

Now that the World Cup has ended, we collected the number of followers from each of the 32 participating teams from before the event and compared it to the number of followers from each of the teams after the event. The follower count for each of the teams increased significantly throughout the tournament.

Take a look at this graph and infographic:



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Trend Alert: Promoted Retweets

There is a saying that if you go around tooting your own horn all the time, eventually people won’t even hear it anymore. However, when someone says something good about you, that often carries more weight than anything you say about yourself. This concept applies to brands when promoting their message to followers and fans on social networks. We’ve seen a recent trend of brands, using Twitter’s Promoted Tweets product, doing something called a “Promoted Retweet.” We’d like to discuss what this is, show some examples, and explore whether or not it is right for your brand.

What is a Promoted Retweet?

We assume you know what a Promoted Tweet is, but just in case you don’t, a Promoted Tweet is one of Twitter’s advertising products that allows you to expand your Tweets’ reach with advanced targeting and tools. It is a very effective tool to help you get your message out to a wider audience.

So what is a Promoted Retweet then? A Promoted Retweet is when, instead of promoting its own tweet, a brand promotes another handle’s tweet (usually about them). This can be a happy customer, a celebrity, a brand partnership, an ambassador or someone else. And it can be a great way to let other people see what customers or users are saying and thinking about your service or product. We’ve seen a few of these in recent weeks and thought it was interesting to dig in and understand it better.

How do Promoted Retweets works?

The public details are scarce about Promoted Retweets. In the Twitter Ads Policy page it explicitly says – “Do not include another person’s content in Twitter Ads without the person’s permission. Create your own Tweets, or get permission from the authors of the Tweets and Retweets you use.” We’ve also heard that unless you are a managed account, it is very hard to execute a Promoted Retweet. If you go to your Promoted Tweets in Twitter’s Ads product and hover over a RT, you’ll get a non-selectable grey overlay. That being said, there are a few steps if you want to do a Promoted Retweet campaign (and have Twitter’s permission).

Step 1: In order to begin a Promoted Retweet campaign, the brand must get permission (via email) from the handle that tweeted the content that it wants to promote and retweet. This involves the brand saying that they (enter their @handle) approves Brand X (brand X’s @handle) of using this tweet from date x to date y.

Step 2: Once you get this in writing, you should forward this email to your account manager at Twitter so they can whitelist this tweet/account.

Step 3: Once it is confirmed and the account/tweet is whitelisted, when you log back into the ads product this time the RT will be available to promote as well.

What are some Promoted Retweet Examples?

@RelateIQ + @DanielleMorrill

Danielle + Relate IQ

Promoted Retweet examples were few and far between, but when Alex, our co-founder, saw a Promoted Retweet from @RelateIQ, we decided to write this post. RelateIQ took a tweet from @DanielleMorrill that said “I spend more time in RelateIQ than Facebook” and promoted it. The responses were great, establishing authentic brand engagement and arguably performed better than any tweet RelateIQ could promote that they wrote themselves.

@Katyperry + @ParamountPics

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Example number two comes from a collaboration between @KatyPerry and @ParamountPics. This is a different example of a Promoted Retweet, using a celebrity/influencer to amplify the message. Katy had a movie coming out with Paramount Pictures and Paramount was leveraging her celebrity status so that people would notice and click when it was promoted into their stream.

@NBA + @CiscoSystems

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The third example of a Promoted Retweet is when the @NBA and @CiscoSystems teamed up around the NBA Finals. While Cisco is a very large company, it doesn’t have the instant brand recognition that the NBA does. Cisco used Promoted Retweets to amplify their partnership with the NBA.

@MLB + @Pepsi


The fourth example, we actually just saw today. This is a promoted tweet by @Pepsi with content from @MLB around the All-Star Game. Pepsi is one of the sponsors for the All-Star Game, and the Promoted Retweet allows Pepsi to stay in the picture, but have the focus remain on baseball/the event at hand. It is a more discreet method of brand marketing.

Are Promoted Retweets right for your brand?

That’s a great question. The answer is, it depends on your brand and your goals for promoting a tweet. If you are a brand that has customers, clients or users and you are looking to do general advertising then Promoted Retweets can let your happy customers, clients and users do the talking for you. If you are doing very specific advertising, trying to convert people to click on something specific, a Promoted Retweet might not be the best way to accomplish this. We think Promoted Retweets are an interesting and exciting new type of way to promote your brand and look forward to seeing more of these in our feed.

We don’t have access to Promoted Retweets on Twitter, but if we did here is what we would do:


What do you think of Promoted Retweets?

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Surprise and Delight: What it is and Why marketers love it

Brands have been surprising and delighting their customers for centuries. Some better than others. But there’s no better way to turn customers into lifelong superfans than by catching them off-guard (surprise) in a positive manner (delight).

What is it?

Surprise and Delight is a marketing strategy in which companies randomly select an individual or group to receive a gift or experience. It can be a very effective marketing tactic for companies, especially in an age where customers are just one tweet away from brands and vice-versa.

Surprise and Delight campaigns help forge a strong emotional connection between brands and consumers (check out this article by Harvard Business Review that details why surprise is still the #1 marketing tool).

There are several critical elements of a successful Surprise and Delight campaign. It must be authentic and not an attention-seeking mechanism for a brand. That will immediately rub consumers the wrong way.

Most importantly, there must be an unexpected “wow” factor coupled with a personal touch that makes the campaign memorable and relatable. Also, the campaign should naturally spark discussion on social media and through word of mouth.

People who are delighted by the surprise will be excited to spread the word.

Why marketers love it?

There is a ripple effect from this marketing strategy– each recipient of the gift or reward will likely tell his/her network about the experience (sometimes accompanied by a photo). The idea is that the news will spread, especially through the use of social media channels like Twitter or Instagram.

When brands publicly (and randomly) reward their customers, they demonstrate that they genuinely care about their customers, and are offering a new and exciting product/experience. This in turn creates buzz and excitement around the topic.


So, how exactly do you run a Surprise and Delight campaign?


Surprise and Delight Examples


One of the best examples of Surprise and Delight (in a non-social media setting) is the WestJet Christmas Miracle: real-time giving. It’s a very heartwarming video and demonstrates this type of marketing well. In this campaign, WestJet selected a flight on Christmas Eve and rewarded random customers of all age groups with gifts, ranging from a big screen TV to Android tablets.

The video shows Santa Claus on a screen asking the pre-selected group of passengers what their dreams for Christmas are, and as he was doing this, WestJet volunteers noted the responses. 150 WestJet volunteers then went to go purchase some of these items, wrap them, and ship them to the plane’s destination. The reaction of the passengers at the baggage carousel demonstrates the effectiveness of a well-designed Surprise and Delight campaign. This video got 36 million views and arguably, social media saved WestJet.

This also demonstrates that it is important to not only determine who you are going to Surprise and Delight, but also to choose carefully what you will give them and the ideal time frame in which to do so.


MasterCard has also added an element of Surprise and Delight to its 17-year-old Priceless campaign. Justin Timberlake surprised a fan with a jam session at her house–it was unscripted and definitely added that personal touch, which in turn led MasterCard holders to believe they too could have a similar experience.

There’s an emotional element to watching a fan connect with a star and Mastercard #PricelessSuprises campaign captured that. The #PricelessSurprises campaign has also brought pro-golfer Tom Watson riding up to his fans on a golf cart.  So far, MasterCard has surprised 48,133 cardholders.

MasterCard’s chief marketing officer, Raja Rajamannar has been quoted saying that “the success of Priceless is driven by the campaign’s ability to create emotion, influence behavior, unite people and touch upon consumer passions.”

House Of Cards

The second season of House of Cards was released on Netflix on February 14th, 2014. In an effort to engage with fans of the show, The House Of Cards team hosted a Twitter Q&A with some of the actors of the show dubbed #AskHOC. We know this because our very own, Alex Taub, participated in it.

Alex got retweeted by @Houseofcards and even some of the castmates. Then a day later he received a direct message from the @Houseofcards handle asking what his address was. Alex gave it to them and a week or so later Alex received a House Of Cards poster and a pack of House of Cards Against Humanity in the mail. We’re not sure if more people received House of Cards gifts, but this is another example of Surprise and Delight.  


Since we started SocialRank, we noticed that a lot of brands started using our tool to find out who their most engaged, most valuable or best followers are for Surprise and Delight campaigns. Using the data that the SocialRank tool provides, these brands are able to more accurately find these loyal customers to reward. For example, when we launched on February 25th, GoPro used us to figure out who, out of all their followers, would be the best candidate to surprise and delight.

GoPro found @DavidDiFrance, an avid @GoPro fan and rewarded him with a new GoPro camera. Without any requests, when David received the camera in the mail he posted a photo on Instagram, inciting tremendous authentic brand engagement: 800+ likes and 30+ comments on Instagram in less than 48 hours.

GoPro is no slouch on their own. They also have an amazing campaign called “Everything We Make Giveaway.” One person wins everything they make, every day. All you need to do is enter your first name, last name, email address, twitter handle and location and you have a shot at winning everything GoPro makes. Pretty rad. The company announces the winner on Twitter every day.

Go Out And Do Good

As you can see, these brands are doing something right by their customers. Whether you are an airline and decide (just because) to upgrade one person a day. Or you are a sports team and surprise a fan by inviting him to the locker room to meet the players. Surprise and Delight works. It helps turn fans of your brand into superfans and evangelists of your brand. There are very affordable ways for brands to start today and make customer service/support a top priority. So what are you waiting for? Surprise and Delight your customers, followers, and fans today!

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Welcome Olivia To The SocialRank Team

olivia 2

…And now our wolf pack has grown by one.

Michael and I are super excited to welcome Olivia Wainhouse, to the SocialRank team to work in business development and partnerships this summer.

A recent Northwestern grad, sports fan, and bizdev extraordinaire in-training, Olivia has picked things up quickly even though this is only her third day! She will be working closely with me when working with brands and will be assisting with many of the projects here at SocialRank.

The future looks bright at SocialRank. If you are interested in joining our team – please email us at

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Where SocialRank Is Going (Building In Public)

May was a big month for SocialRank. We had four major milestones.

1) We announced that we closed $1M to grow SocialRank.

2) We announced the ability to request early-access to SocialRank Market Intelligence, which gives brands the ability to run any handle on Twitter through the SocialRank platform to see that handle’s most engaged,valuable, and best followers. In June we will be letting select brands into the product.

3) We announced that over 5,000 brands have used SocialRank since our February launch.

4) We hired an awesome head of design, Zhanna. She is front-end developer and UX/UI designer who previously worked at Digital Ocean and Quirky.

So where is SocialRank going? That is a great question. To understand where we are going, we need to explain where we have come from. We purposefully launched a simple tool back in February to get brands using it. After all, it is just a list!  A list of your followers, sorted by value (MVF), engagement (MEF), and a combo (BF). Heck we only show you your top 10 or top 100 if you are paid. Unless you are a self-starter (a bunch of brands are) there wasn’t much you could use the tool for besides coming back to see if you had new big followers.

But this is going to change very soon and for the better. We are now working on a new and (visually) improved SocialRank that should be released sometime the end of June/beginning of July that will show you all of your followers. Showing you all shouldn’t be a premium feature, it should be the basic offering. On top of that we will be including the most requested feature, deep filtering. We are working on that right now. Filtering will allow you to filter in and out things like Verified status, Location, Identity (celebrity, mommy blogger, etc.), Interests (Sports, Movies, Music, etc.), and more.

SocialRank will help brands slice and dice their followers, starting with Twitter but soon after Instagram. We are at the beginning stages of thinking about what we will be offering for Instagram. We would have done it sooner, but we took the feedback from brands and users in the past four months and decided to build the design and infrastructure to support any network first before adding the next social platform. We think each network is very different (for example: Instagram is visual with no linking – all dead links) and want to do each one right and not just have every network for the sake of having it.

SocialRank the product is going the direction of CRM for your followers on social media. Sprinkle in a little SocialRank Market Intelligence (running other handles) and you have one powerful tool.

I’ll leave you with a closer look at what is coming for SocialRank. Below is a design look at what is coming, as well as what a brand can theoretically do with SocialRank Market Intelligence.

The set-up: Imagine a movie studio like 20th Century Fox wanted to do better social research for a movie like X-Men: Days of Future Past (which was a pretty awesome movie). Fox only has access to @XMenMovies, but to get people into the theaters they should be doing things like targeting the followers of the stars in the movie. In this case, wouldn’t it be vital to know who engages with Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Stan Lee, Ellen Page, and others on Twitter? You can even take it a step further: why not check out who engages with @Marvel, other popular movies like Batman, Spiderman, Captain America, Superman. Run the biggest comic-book/superhero-related handles out there. The opportunities are endless. We are excited.


Screenshot 2014-06-03 00.12.26


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Welcome Zhanna to SocialRank



“And our wolf pack… it grew by one.”

- Alan Garner

Michael and I are really excited to welcome Zhanna Schonfeld to SocialRank as our lead designer and front end engineer. She is a phenomenal designer and engineer and we are very happy that she is our employee #1!

Zhanna is joining us from Digital Ocean where she was a UI/UX designer. Before that she worked at Quirky as a UI Designer. Design has always been a blind spot for us, as I mostly work on product/business and Michael on product/engineering. In the short time we have been working with Zhanna she has been the perfect yin to Michael and my yang.

The future looks bright at SocialRank. If you are interested in joining our team – please email us at


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SocialRank Market Intelligence


Today we are announcing a new product from SocialRank called SocialRank Market Intelligence. SocialRank Market Intelligence gives brands the ability to run any handle on Twitter through the SocialRank platform and see that handle’s most engaged, valuable, and best followers.

To give a little sample of what I found from playing with the tool, I ran @ElonMusk‘s report, because why not? Here is a screenshot of his Top 3 MVF’s (Eike Batista - look him upManu Ginobili, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Pretty cool.


This has been the #1 most requested feature by brands using SocialRank. The majority of companies who have requested this tool plan to use it in one of the following ways:

1) Competitive analysis. This is the obvious use case and will be made very easy with SocialRank Market Intelligence. Instead of going to your competitor’s profile page on and sifting through their followers (all public) to then see if that follower engaged with the brand (RT, Fav, @ mention, etc), our platform makes it easy for these brands to have this information in a clean, central location.

2) Recruiting, HR or talent management. If a major magazine publisher is considering two celebrities on the cover of their magazine and are evaluating their reach and fan base, running their SocialRank reports and having another piece of information on the talent is key. In addition, brands might find that their most engaged follower is someone who could even work at the company. You never know…

3) Industry/vertical analysis. Similar to the competitive analysis, SocialRank Market Intelligence can shed insight on themes in your broader industry. For example, let’s say you are a movie studio with an impending release of a horror film. You use SocialRank Market Intelligence to run the top 10 horror entities reports. Then you cross reference these reports to find a group of people to target advertising toward, or do some direct outreach.

Today (along with our funding announcement) we are beginning to allow brands to request early access here.

SocialRank Premium users will jump to the top of the list of companies we let use the Market Intelligence feature. We plan to introduce pricing once the product is ready for general availability.

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Growing SocialRank


This week, we hit the four month mark since Michael and I left our jobs to start our own company. The past four months have been some of the most exciting and exhausting periods of our lives.

The product itself has now been live for two and half months. We deliberately started with a simple tool that reads more like a list (people love lists!) and have since layered more useful functionality on top of the basic tool to make it more useful for brands. We have set an exciting cadence for adding new features, and hope to continue to do so.

So why did we want to build SocialRank in the first place? In the past 5-10 years brands have spent time, money and many other resources with the intent of gaining more followers, fans, shares, Retweets, pins, likes, etc. This is great- but to what end? How do they take advantage of all of this social capital? We see a huge opportunity to help brands better understand, connect and track their relationships with these followers and fans. Our vision for SocialRank is to be the go-to tool for brands who want to understand, manage, engage, reward, and track the people who follow them across social networks. We have a lot to do which is a good segue to our announcement today.

To that end, we are happy to announce that we have raised a seed round of funding, totaling a little over $1M.

This round was led by Vaizra Investments with participation from Advancit CapitalBOLDstart VenturesSocial StartsIowa City Capital Partners and a bunch of great angel investors.

Each investor brings something great to the table:

Vaizra (run by Ron Rofe, Yitzhak Mirilashvili and Shlomo Kalish) bring years of experience in the social space (Ron was the co-founder of Plarium, one of the fastest growing gaming sites in Europe and Yitzhak was the co-founder of, which is best known as the biggest social network of Russia). I met Ron at the end of 2011 and we have been close ever since. We are very happy to be part of the Vaizra family now.

Advancit Capital (run by Jason OstheimerShari Redstone and Jonathan Miller) bring years of experience in the entertainment industry. SocialRank, the product, has received lots of interest from the entertainment industry (see our recent partnership with The Queen Latifah Show). Navigating the entertainment and media industry isn’t the easiest thing and having Advancit Capital in our corner will be great.

BOLDstart Ventures (run by Ed Sim and Eliot Durbin) is one of the best seed stage funds on either coast. Michael and I have gotten to know Ed and Eliot over the past few years and they have really helped us with thinking through all parts of the business. We’re excited to have them onboard.

Social Starts (run by William LohseMike Edelhart and Seth Rosenblatt) focuses on social startups and their fund thesis is around the revolution this era is bringing. The team at Social Starts have seen it all and have a deep knowledge around guiding us to the promise land when building SocialRank.

Iowa City Capital Partners (run by Anthony Marlowe) is a fund that came into the round after Anthony began using the product. Anthony immediately saw the value and direction of what we were building and reached out. Anthony has deep ties in the sports / racing industry (as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Team Co-Owner) which happens to be one of the industries with strong adoption to our tool. We’re looking forward to working more with Anthony!

We also have a great group of angel investors consisting of friends, family and industry experts. In terms of the entertainment industry, we’re happy that Charles King, a Partner/ Motion Picture Agent from WME Entertainment is participating in the round. Charles has a vast knowledge about the media business and we are looking forward to learning all we can from him.

We’re also happy to include Marcy Simon in the round. Marcy Simon has over 20 years of global expertise in driving the development and reputation of companies from start-ups to multi-billion dollar organizations. Marcy is currently a Senior Advisor, Managing Director at Burson-Marsteller. I’ve personally known Marcy since my Aviary days and she has always been immensely helpful. She just gets stuff done.

On top of the announcement of funding, we are happy to announce that we have had over 5,000 brands use SocialRank since we launched on February 25th. We’re beginning to work closely with a lot of them now and you should expect to see some great announcements in the next few months.

Today we are also announcing SocialRank Market Intelligence (see other post), a simple tool that allows brands the ability to run any handle and find out who their most engaged, valuable and best followers are. This allows brands to learn about their competitors or brands they aspire to be like. You can request early access here.

Lastly, we are hiring. We just made our first hire this week (to be announced soon) and if you are interested in joining Michael and me on this adventure – hit us up at

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SocialRank + The Queen Latifah Show – #YouJustMay

We are excited to announce that we are teaming up with The Queen Latifah Show in the month of May to help surprise and delight some of their most engaged followers on Twitter.

At The Queen Latifah Show, their theme for May Sweeps is “You Just May…” as in “You Just May meet Queen Latifah,” “You Just May shed a tear,” “You Just May get a huge surprise.” The show will mirror that through a #YouJustMay social initiative, surprising some of their best and most engaged followers, with the help of us, SocialRank.

We’re working with some great brands that will be gifting product (physical items and gift cards) to some of the most engaged followers of @QLShow on Twitter.

We think the month-long initiative is going to be great and are excited to help The QLShow team connect and reward their best followers on Twitter.

So make sure you tune into the show (go to for local channel and time) and follow @QLShow on Twitter. Engage with them and you just may win something cool!

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