Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Got a famous customer? Here is how to capitalize without causing a scene

Regina Pizza had a famous customer in Johnny Depp last week and the Facebook post showing he was there boosted engagement on their page. We reached out to Stuart Thompson of East Coast Associates, the public relations firm for Regina Pizza, to learn more.

Regina Pizza in Boston
PMQ: Tell us about Johnny Depp stopping in and getting a photo with him. Any advice on touting celebrity visits on social media?

ST: Regina Pizza started in 1926 and is a “must visit” in Boston. Almost daily celebrities stop in and try the pizza.  Many are return customers. The key is to keep it low key and simple.  Get a picture if you can but only after they have enjoyed the experience.  Never tell the press anything about the visit other than they were in. No details, do not say what they ate, who they were with etc etc. Keep the mystery.  The celebrity will tell their friends it’s a safe haven and a fun no hassle place to go.  You must control your customers and tell them they are welcome to talk to the person when they are outside on the street. 

 PMQ: What is unique to your pizzeria in terms of social media? 

ST: Regina Pizza is now a chain but all the social media is based on the original. If you have one unit or a hundred, most people want to talk about the basics.  The food, the d├ęcor, food tips, ideas, events.  Keep it simple, keep it fun and keep it focused.

PMQ: What type of posts and frequency have you found to be the most effective?

ST: You need to post things that get people interacting.   Ask questions if you can. Do not just post the same thing over and over.  Don’t just post that  “Tuesday is 20% off night”.  Post  “Regina’s famous Summer Beauty Tomato Pizza starts this week. Tell us what you love about this pizza”  and remember Tuesday is 20% off night.  Note: (That is just an example Regina Pizza does not discount)

PMQ: What is the key to success with social media for any pizzeria?

ST: One unit or many stay on topic and give it a local feel.  Talk about fun stuff, your great food, your history, your events. Give out cooking tips, parking tips, best time to come etc, etc.  Example: Regina’s North End location in Boston is tuough for parking.  Asking people where they park, will get lots of social media traffic. (No pun intended)      

PMQ: Not every pizza shop can afford a PR firm, so for those who are busy and can't hire this job out, what advice do you give them for social media if they just can't post daily?

ST: Just write down daily things that come up. Example: Customers ask hundreds of questions. Turn these questions into posts with answers and questions about what other customers do. Do not post the same thing over and over. If you are in the food service business lots of crazy things happen weekly.   

PMQ: We have found only about 50% of pizzerias have a presence on social media. What advice do you have for pizzerias in terms of social media?

ST: At the very least have a Facebook page. It is still the largest social media outlet.
It’s also free. Yes Regina Pizza uses a PR firm but if you follow a few simple rules anyone can have an active site. 

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