Measuring Social for Food Service on Campus – Data Matters

Leslie Wilson    July 3, 2014

Industry:  Contract Food and Support Services

Name of contact:  Leslie Wilson, VP Marketing

Part of the beauty of social media is that we can measure nearly everything we do. Before we dive in, however, keep in mind that measurement is only effective if you know what to measure and why.

Multi-ethnic teenagers having lunch together in restaurant

Chartwells, a subsidiary of Compass Group Canada, serves thousands of higher education students daily.




For decades, it has been our commitment to provide customized solution to help students achieve at the highest levels.  To uphold this standard, we are dedicated to exceeding our customers’ needs and expectations.  Mike Masse, President, Food Services Compass Group Canada

The following video was created by Chartwells Canada and is used on multiple campus websites and social channels to promote the purchase of meal plans for students.  Since February, It has been viewed 2,734 times!

This year we are building upon the learning and achievements of our social media activity conducted to-date to build a scalable model inside a controlled group of campuses across Canada.

This video was just created, posted this week but not yet promoted and is specifically designed to highlight the food services available at Concordia University in Montreal.  This is one of our control group locations.

We have recently signed on with Brandwatch and Hootsuite to help us measure the following KPI’s.


Followers/fans: Also known as REACH.  This is one of the most common metrics used to track Social media activity. We don’t want to place too much weight on this one. It may be gratifying to see growth, but if it’s not tied to something more meaningful, it’s just a number.

Metric to track: Hootsuite – Percentage of total campus student population.

Tracking benefit: Year over year sales growth and increased student satisfaction.

Engagement: An incredibly meaningful metric—perhaps one of the most important in measuring our success and efforts.

Metric to track: Hootsuite – Percentage of activity growth over baseline throughout campaigns

Tracking benefit: Offer related sales during promotion.

Timing: We need to look at the timing of our community’s activity. We need to be active when they are. This can’t be overlooked. We may think it’s before mealtimes, but it may be in the morning when they are planning their day and evening’s activities.  Hootsuite will help us do this.

Metric to track: Hootsuite/Brandwatch – When are students listening.  When are we listening and talking to them.

 Tracking benefit: Connect real time and meet their expectations.  Improved satisfaction.

Click-through rate: Click through rate is a valuable metric for social as well—especially to help us meet our goal of driving traffic back to the Dine on Campus web sites. . Think of it as a sort of social conversion that we can work to optimize.

Metric to track: Hootsuite – Dine on Campus web traffic.

Tracking benefit: Increased meal plan sales year over year.

Happy College students using computer


Influence: Everyone wants to find their community’s influencers, but there is currently no universal standard for measuring influence or finding those people.  These students and faculty members will make themselves aware to us by talking about our offers and services on a regular basis.  Engaging with them, will turn them into marketing agents for Chartwells.

Metric to track: Hootsuite/Brandwatch – Percentage of influencers or regular posters to Twitter by campus population.

Tracking benefit: Year over year sales growth and increased student satisfaction.

Sentiment: Sentiment analysis attempts to measure the tone and tenor of a conversation around a stated topic or item. In social media, this is largely used to tell if people love, can’t stand, or are neutral about our brand and campaigns.

Metric to track: Hootsuite – Positive, negative and neutral conversations.

Tracking benefit: Increased student satisfaction.

Conversation drivers: With the Hootsuite and Brandwatch, we can look at nearly any platform and see what people are talking about. When it comes to Chartwells, we’ll want to know the topics and context of conversations about us and competition. This incredibly useful knowledge will tell us who students see as our closest competition, what they’re sharing in relation to our offers, their concerns, etc. This is one of the most important and insightful qualitative measurements we can use.

 Metric to track: Brandwatch – Customized key word searches as it relates to each campus and it’s surrounding area.

Tracking benefit: Increased student satisfaction.


The Next Web

Ted Rubin

Compass Group Canada

Chartwells – Dine on Campus

Chartwells Canada YouTube


Submitted By:  Leslie Wilson, VP Marketing Compass Group Canada

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Disclaimer:  The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of Compass Group Canada Ltd., its subsidiaries, affiliates, or employees.  The information contained herein has been obtained or derived from sources believed by the author to be reliable.  However, the author does not make any representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the information’s accuracy or completeness.