Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Y'all Connect talks look to future of social media, apps and how that can help your pizzeria


People don't think in silos. That was the message at the recent Y'all Connect social media conference in Birmingham, AL that I attended and the message resonates for the pizza industry. The social media trends in every industry can impact the pizza industry so while we may think in terms of just pizza, your customers trends in every part of their life can impact you.

Copyright 2014 Y'all Connect -- reprinted with permission.
Jenny Schmitt is an employee at CloudSpark, an award-winning strategic communications company that specializes in helping companies answers the key questions of “What now?” and “What next?” She shared the silos idea and that millenials are changing the game for all businesses because they expect immediate response. The perception of time has shifted and we have new tools and technologies that help us with this. She also found that in Neilson research that 92% of us trust friends and family on social media and 70% of us trust Yelp or anonymous reviews. In 2005 only 2.5 billion people were connected and the estimate is that by 2020 over 30 billion will be. So your business better be one of them.

She shared 10 trends that are determining the new tools, apps and desires of people.

1. Presumers or crowdfunding. Sharing your story provides an emotional return and people invest before the product even exists today. A recent example of this in the pizza industry is the Pizza Bite Button which sadly failed at its crowdfund but it also didn't take enough time to connect its story with its audience. There was little push on social media and that is where people tend to connect.

2. Clean slate brands. Heritage in a brand is no longer required and sometimes can hurt a business. Having a long established brand can now be baggage because it means you may not be modern. This is true of the pizza industry as fast-casual brands continue to grow. People want quick results and like the new pop-up pizzerias.

3. Guilt-free consumption. People like using local, eco-friendly products and this is true for pizzerias as people want to eat locally sourced food. Using the local farmer's market or farms for ingredients and promoting that you do that can only help today.

4. Sympathetic pricing. While a temporary concept, the idea is to give something discounted or free to someone who needs it. Are you providing a student discount? Do you give away food to the homeless? Help your community and it will reward you.

5. More smart, less phone. As cell phones become more of a personal command center and less of a phone, people want easy ways to order a pizza. Have online ordering, find ways to make your menu and your information as accessible as possible for those searching for you on their phone.

6. Nanny Me. There are now apps that help take care of you from personal finance (Mint.com) to Kahnoodle that help you maintain intimacy in a relationship. People want help. How can your pizzeria provide that to them online? The first thing that comes to mind is helping them save time with your catering options or delivery options.

7. One-touch. People want mindless consumption and easy ways to get things. A perfect example that Schmitt provided during her talk is the Red Tomato Restaurants pizza magnet that lets you order just by pushing a button. We want one!

8. A common term is the Internet of things but Schmitt said now it is about the Internet of Caring Things. Know your customers and what they want. Today and moving forward they are wanting physical health, mental well being, safety and security and connection to loved ones. How can your pizzeria help provide for this? Can you offer the best customer service and friendly smile in town so people feel safe and welcome at your restaurant? What about online? How can you connect pizza fans to each other?

We like this Facebook example from The Corner Slice:


9. Data is the new currency. Only 37% of companies use their data, according to Schmitt. You have personal data from your consumers both from loyalty programs, surveys, receipts, feedback in person and online. What can their data tell you to help you improve your business? Use your social media insights. See what posts people respond to and which ones bring them in your door.

10. The makers. Today and moving into the future people are returning again to the value of the work of human hands. Trends of handcrafted, artisan and local are the future. Pizzerias making their own dough should promote this idea. Growing your own herbs? Tell people. Did a local artist make your tables or your wall art? Share this.

Is your pizzeria already doing some of this? Share with us so we can give the great ideas to our industry by emailing me at melanie at pmq.com.