Social Media Tips: A look back at Waffle House, The World Cup, And How To Grow Engagement

On July 1st, 2014 Waffle House set Twitter abuzz with a “war” against Belgian waffles. On its Twitter account Waffle House noted that its declaration is in support of the US team during its game against Belgium in the 2014 World Cup Series.

This instance of joining a discussion in Twitter is savvy. The message was short, did not require a lot of media content to support it, and really provided a way for Waffle House to imbed into the discussion at the moment, a global sport.

Here are three quick lessons that small businesses can learn from Waffle House.

1. Verify the social media usage regarding the event.

In short, marketers should understand what volume are being generated on a social media platform, and if possible what demographics are being shared. For the World Cup Series, almost 389,000 tweets were generated in the minute after Chile made a penalty shot that allowed it to avoid an early exit from the terminal for the first time since 1950. The Superbowl generated 25 million tweets, which is more than the 16 million total during Saturday’s round of 16. However given that the World Cup is played over 2 weeks the consistency of exposure for a social media platform can sustain interest around a given subject. It means a lot of exposure for business who can blend a message.

2. Pick a subject that is tangential to your target event and to your product.

Belgian waffles are harmless yet they incorporate the Belgian team Anna food products served by Waffle House competitors. Waffle House does not serve Belgian waffles and his stores. This makes a playful bet that is fun for people to comment and tweet on. Check out the comments that were leveled within 24 hours of the announcement of this war.

3. Be responsive yet allow for mistakes.

In one tweet Waffle House use the word Belgium instead of Belgian – a spelling error. But that did not take away from the spirit of the campaign. Twitter is meant for casual light conversation and the best users make the most of it by responding consistently while posting content, even if the content is posted via a scheduler like Hootsuite. The takeaway is to manage the conversation, not let it get away from the main ideas being shared.

How To Break Into Marketing – Discussion feat. Pierre DeBois and John Anhalt of SpotHub – @GAChicago

General Assembly invited Zimana founder Pierre DeBois and Joe Anhalt, Marketing Manager at Spothub to discuss the current state of digital marketing. The talk with budding students and young marketers took place in Space, an office incubator in Chicago.

Watch these three video to gain tips on what goes on during a typical marketer’s day, what is takes to develop the skills of digital marketing, and what are the latest trends impacting digital marketing today.


Mobile Trends in Africa – Infographic by @GSMA

Mobile devices play a big part in internet usage, but they are more of necessity in places outside of the United States. African countries have been developing services with mobile phones in mind, since many have higher penetration rates among their populations.

I wrote about the leader in African Mobile in an earlier blog for UBM Tech – check out the post Mobilizing South Africa.  But that was back in 2012, where SMS was a key communication delivery platform and smartphones had not fully penetrated the market.

3 years later smartphones are making headway, encouraging local app development and economic expansion.  So says the latest report from GSMA, an organization representing uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem.

The team summarizes the report on their main page.

The mobile industry in Sub-Saharan Africa continues to scale rapidly, reaching 367 million subscribers in mid-2015. Migration to higher speed networks and smartphones continues apace, with mobile broadband connections set to increase from just over 20% of the connection base today to almost 60% by 2020. Falling device prices are encouraging the rapid adoption of smartphones, with the region set to add more than 400 million new smartphone connections by 2020, by which time the smartphone installed base will total over half a billion. – See more at:

You can download a copy of the report as well as learn more about GSMA.  An infographic is also available; You can view it below.

Stats On Mobile Device Usage In Africa

Analytics Tips: Choosing Reporting Tools for Data Visualization

If you’re in business and you have a little data – ok, a lot of data for many businesses –  you may be feeling some fear.  It may seemingly be fear from imagining the preparation that is needed with big data.
But more than likely it’s not.
It’s visualizing the data – or more precisely, how to best visualize it to take action.
Data accuracy is important to build trust not only in analytic solutions but in the people who use the reports from those solutions.  This means marketers must select report interfaces that control the range, look, and feel of the presented information with respect to organizational needs.
In short, what graphic formats should appear with the data on hand?
Let’s look at a few basic options, with a general eye for war they are good for and what drawbacks can occur.
Data Visualization Quality
Take note of what makes the best way to display data visually.
Overall, to use data visualization successfully, managers should consider three aspects in selecting a data visualization platform:
  • Audience
  • Purpose
  • What visually works best for the data
The last point sounds subjective, but selecting the right visual graph is really about assessing trends and deviations. What data would you like to see as a trend, and what would provide a useful alert as a deviation?   A trend reflects what behavior is developing consistently, while a deviation notes a striking change in a trend.  The right graph will help highlight both easily detectable trends and deviations
Spreadsheets Are Better Than Before But Still Have Limitations

Spreadsheets have their value, but they usually offer value for relative small batches of data.  As more columns and rows of data are added, the ability to Increasingly difficult to process relationship among the data becomes difficult.  Spreadsheets present visuals which only allow for isolating figures.  People can’t visually register but one or two numbers at a time.  This is why many plugins use spreadsheets to highlight a change in value.

Keep in mind, however, that dynamic changes may be harder to spot. Use a bar chart or trend chart to help highlight spikes. But using these in a sheet means data updates have to be timely to make the deviations and trends helpful to business decisions.
Templates can provide a starting point…but in some cases just a starting point
Template solutions can provide a standard starting point for viewing how data should be best displayed.  There are a few excellent tools that can visualize data within dashboard options. The most popular tools are usually the self-service BI tools such as Spotfire and Tableau.
There is one drawback with template dashboard solutions: the visualization and concepts are delivered to the user by the solution provider, rather than being custom for certain instances.  A template-based data visualization tool assumes a preconceived notion of what data should look like, or what relationships should exist.
Intelligence from data is not always obvious. This means assumptions from a template-based data visualization tool may not reveal intelligence relevant to a business objective.
What Open Source Data Visualization Provides
Where spreadsheets provides a singular representation of data and basic graphs, data visualization based on open source programming can represent active interrelationships that are constantly updated according to real time data input. This arrangement provides faster reporting and faster responses to the reporting results.
Open source programming solutions are increasingly being repented through Javascript frameworks, such as D3 (, a Javascript library designed for data visualization needs.
Business managers should keep in mind, however, that custom build visualization can sometimes involve a development team which can not only build the dashboard but can highlight the organization’s capability of responding to reporting.  The good news is that because Javascript is being increasingly used, businesses can leverage its web development team.  And in some cases, programming language may not be extensive used, if at all.  Overall managers must first access an organization’s development capability to build an open source visualization that enhances how an organization functions.

Purchase the book The Entrepreneur Within Volume 3 via @TEWyou


The Entrepreneur Within Volume 3
Authors of The Entrepreneur Within Volume 3; Julie Holloway, Vau’ve Davis, Pierre DeBois, Dr. Toi Dennis, Andrea “Dre” Nichols Everett, Tamika Maria Price
The Entrepreneur Within TEW3
The TEW3 Volume 3 authors, at the book launch party just outside of Chicago.


The Entrepreneur Within Vol 3

Need an inspiration for winning customers as you build your business? Get the book The Entrepreneur Within, Volume 3, a collection of tips and insights from over 20 entrepreneurs from different walks of life.

The sixth chapter features Zimana owner Pierre DeBois, a six year veteran of digital marketing analytics technology.  Read his chapter to gain 10 useful tips to operate your business effectively.

The chapters include an excellent variety of stories, such as branding insights from expert Vau’ve Davis, the birth of a DJ service from Chicago DJ Rodrigo Alvear, and hard truths of entrepreneurship from business expert Angelia Hopkins. Enjoy comments of startup faith from Tiffany Stevens. The experience of business owners run the gamut, from Daniel Lewis of Lewis Notary to the psychology services from Kasia Wereszczynska, which also serves the nonprofit women’s mental health foundation In Her Shoes.

Each chapter contains tips and actionable steps to turn dreams, talents, and abilities into a fulfilling, successful business, all while helping others along the way. If looking for a supportive community for entrepreneurs that do even more work than they talk, the Entrepreneur Within You community is for you!

Pierre DeBois TEW3

The book retails for $16 (Amazon Kindle version $9).

To order The Entrepreneur Within, Volume 3, click on the Paypal button below. Once your select your copies, your order will be shipped within 2-3 business days.

You can also order an electronic version of the book ($9) through Amazon

(Click on this link to place an Amazon order).

Thank you for purchasing a copy! (and don’t forget to pick up a copy of Vol 1 and Vol 2, already available! )