The Black Art of Twitter Analytics – Illegal Jacks Style by Kelly Forbes

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Last week The Social Penguin blog spoke about Illegal Jacks use of social media to promote their burritos with a massive 1000 burrito giveaway. This week we’ll be looking a little deeper into tracking the positive influence Jack is creating around his brand through social media. Read on as we dive straight in to the cold hard stats.

Illegal Jacks Twitter profile

So, what’s the single most important thing to anyone looking for an ego boost on Twitter? Your follower count, when it’s up you’re happy and when it’s down you’re left wondering how those drunken tweets last night could have offended anyone. At the time of writing @IllegalJacks follower count sits at 589, which is a reasonable number for an account that has only been active since November 2009. What’s even more impressive is looking at second degree follower numbers (which loosely translates to the total count for your followers followers) Jack has the potential to reach. If every one of Jacks 589 followers re-tweeted one of his messages it would reach 1,187,052 people on Twitter.

Happy #jacksfreeburritos fans!

But out of that potential 1,187,052 people how many is Jack actually reaching? A random sample of 50 tweets showed an average reach of around 1,078 people which works out at 6337 impressions. Of those 50 tweets 40 were @replies to people which shows very high levels of engagement with followers, this also means that the large number of impressions were probably created by only 10 tweets.

What’s even more important is the level of social capital that followers generate. A high level of social capital indicates that your followers themselves have a high level of influence and are willing to spread your tweets. @IllegalJacks enjoy a high to average amount of social capital from their followers and the above average figure can be explained through reciprocity, Jack social media profile is of a connecter, practicing real engagement, connecting with people through Twitter and actively re-tweeting. All this results in his followers returning the favour by engaging with him and his brand messages and also passing that message on when asked.

After all those scary numbers it’s time for some more random (and more stalkerish, Fatal Attraction style) stats, Jack tweets most frequently after 8pm and for some reason mostly on Thursdays. Averaging around 50 tweets per day or 1246 a month, which is much higher than an average user. 33% of his followers are male, 20% are female and 47% are asexual…

The level of followers has been increasing steadily at a rate of around 54% since the @IllegalJacks account was created in November 2009 and April 2010 saw the largest growth spike in followers so far, likely due to the #Jacksfreeburritos event.

Old Skool Tactics!


On April 13th 2010 Illegal Jacks opened their doors to feed the masses 1000 free burritos in an attempt to introduce people to a burrito whilst giving away free samples of their most important dish.

More importantly the day was all about raising more awareness of Illegal Jacks and promoting the brand and ideals of the company to a wider audience. So where could a company as embedded in social media go to promote such an event but Twitter and Facebook?

The official hashtag for the event, #Jacksfreeburritos, was used as an identifier for those participating in the event whilst also creating a single phrase that could trend locally and be picked up by more people. The tracking recorded almost 300 unique mentions or re-tweets throughout the day, peaking during the lunchtime rush. The inclusion of the #Edinburgh also pushed impressions up as local users following Edinburgh tweets became aware of the event.

There was also a lot of tweeting going on in the inevitable queue with spirits remaining high even though there was a 30 minute wait at lunchtime. A long queue, which could have resulted in negative comments, actually ended up causing further frivolity as those waiting began tweeting about the “t*** bar” they had found themselves outside of. On the whole the feedback online was positive with many promising return custom , the very few negative comments (which were all about the long wait) were all responded to personally by Jack minimising any damage.

Inside the staff were all working hard and as quickly as possible to feed the hungry horde outside, and everyone remained cheerful. (There was a massive cheer from the kitchens when someone ordered fajitas on Free Burrito day, obviously a big fan to turn down a free burrito.) The twitter fall inside kept those sitting in to eat informed of the plight of those still outside in the queue, and the “t***y bar” tweet seemed to keep cropping up?

By 9:00pm 1000 Burritos were consumed, #Jacksfreeburritos had been trending locally throughout the day and the @IllegalJacks Twitter account had over 100 new followers.

The knock on effects of the event are still being felt; as well as increased followers and fans on Twitter and Facebook there has been an increase in footfall to the restaurant, increased chatter about the Illegal Jacks brand in the online sphere and most importantly positive word of mouth communication. (Conversations about #jacksfreeburritos have been overheard on the buses so you know its hit the big time now.) Hopefully the next proposed event, a chilli cook off, will generate the same kind of results for Jack. Make sure you’re following @IllegalJacks who’ll keep you posted!

If you are interested in Twitter Analytics and want to learn more check out Klout, Tweetstats, Twitalyzer and What the Hashtag for more info.

It is important to say that The Social Penguin Blog is in no way affiliated to or sponsored by Illegal Jack’s, we just appreciate great Social Media work and get a thrill out of supporting local business.

This post was created by our new guest blogger – Kelly Forbes, you can follow the very clever lady on twitter here and make sure you get your peepers round her magical blog! Huge thanks to Kelly from Mike and Dave!

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  • Jack

    My word. Miss Forbes is officially sufficiently awesome. My sincere thanks to you both. Jack.

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  • Andy Hayes | Travel Online Partners

    Great sleuthing, Kelly – I love statistical analysis when somebody else does the work. :-)

    Old school tactics are effective because a lot of people have stopped doing them, so you can get some buzz when you do it.

    I’d love to hear from Jack in three months to see if he feels an uptick in returning visitors who tried the burritos and loved them, or new visitors who heard about the venue from a friend who was at the free burrito event.

    Well done for the great execution, Jack – looking forward to your next PR stunt :D

  • http://none Annie

    It’s refreshing to read a blog article about a small, local business using social media successfully and in such a fun, positive way. I hope more local businesses take a leaf out of Jacks book and are inspired to engage in this way.

  • Barry Dewar

    Love it. Numbers. Beautiful numbers.

    Would be really interesting if Jack were to contribute some offline stats to the mix as well so we can have a full business picture. There was a young lady working the queue asking how people had heard about the promotion. If this info was available it would be great to see just how big and influence the SM campaign was compared to the regular word-of-mouth stuff.

  • Michelle

    Next event a chilli-off????? Now, wonder where I heard about that?

  • Michelle

    Kelly, a few more analytics would illustrate that the Thursdays when ‘Jack” is tweeting more often ties in with BBC Question Time and the Leadership Debates.

    Not just a restaurateur!

  • Tim Barlow

    Kelly – most excellent article but please can we avoid the use of the phrase “Black Art”. It isn’t. It’s just something the majority are unfamiliar with.

    SEO has suffered as an industry because so many proponents have used the “Black Art” phrase to hide bad service and or to try to protect the fact that 99% of it is common sense (something that is in short supply).

    Let’s not tar the new wave with the same brush please.

  • Kelly Forbes

    Hi Tim, thanks for your comments.

    The reference to “black art” was intended as a joke and to be a little bit myth dispelling. People seem to think that they can’t do this sort of thing for themselves and I wanted to show with the tools linked at the bottom that anyone can.

    I hoped people would link my first guest blog post on Social Penguin with inexperience to once again highlight that it doesn’t require chicken bones to get some RoI in social media marketing, just as you say some common sense and perseverance.

    I think I’ll try comparing it to astrology next time, I don’t think anyone could believe that guff is for real.

  • Barry Dewar

    Pfft! Bet you’re a Pisces.

  • Dave the Social Penguin

    This was some seriously great work from Kelly and just shows what a bit of graft and the use of the right tools can do! Big thanks to Kelly for her hard work.

  • RachelD27

    Hello – I liked the campaign and definitely prompted me to try them.

    Wanted to flag #52 burritodates as interesting comparison.

    You may have seen it already – London mexican restaurant also giving away burritos but linking it to a vaguely gruesome dating game where they have a PR monkey gamely going on lots of dates – bloke perhaps sounds a bit too suspiciously chilled and laid-back about his pursuit to really engage the audience but fun concept.

    @fitzyrichard – burrito date no. 4 #52burritodates

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