Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This is how you do it: pizzerias share social media tips

Pizza Bogo puts social media clearly on their pizza box.
I just spent a week traveling around Ohio in the snow and staying warm by eating some great pizza. While at pizzerias, I asked questions on how they utilize social media. One answer remained the same for all of them: you have to be on it whether you like it or not.

While some pizzerias we visited, like Master Pizza, are head over heels in love with what social media can do for their business, others are less interested in using it, but still recognize its importance.

As Master Pizza's Michael LaMarca said: "it's free!"

Here are some tips we learned from visiting pizzerias last week:

1. Clear signage in your store that you are on social media. Whether it is stickers on the window, tabletops or built into your menu - let customers know where to find you online. As one pizzeria owner said, even if you are not online, they'll still go to Yelp and talk about you without you having any control of the message. Pizza Bogo's pizza box makes social media the most prominent part of its design.

2. Use it or lose it. As Michael LaMarca of Master Pizza said, if you are not using your social media it is better to just get off than leave it unused. Master Pizza is an expert at using Twitter to draw interest to its stores. A recent example was a discussion on LeBron James which led to Master Pizza making a new King pizza in his honor, all because of a Twitter chat which led to major media coverage.

#3 At Romeo's Pizza, a new fan is named each week. Reward your customers on social media! Give a free pizza or breadsticks or something to entice people to stay tuned and keep trying to win!

#4 At Samosky's Homestyle Pizzeria, Facebook is not just a place to announce pizza but to keep customers as part of their lives. They post photos when the owner does a pizza competition and encourage their customers to stay involved and help then win vote-in contests such as the one they are in now.

While Samosky admits he took awhile to get into Facebook, his wife is the one who really keeps it going, but that it is important, even in their small town, as people have made Valley City a destination and it helps reach the tourist market.


#5 Finally, but definitely not least, the people at Beavercreek Pizza Dive are doing it right. They wanted PMQ to visit their pizzeria so instead of just asking once, they got their fans involved on social media to get us there. Then once they got us, they reached out again to fans to provide 50% off pizzas while we were there to fill up their dine-in area on an otherwise snowy day. Using their email list which you can also sign up on their Facebook page, they got their customers to be part of an experience.

The owner, Theresa, has a background in marketing which helps, but you don't have to have the same background to make your customers feel important and rewarded for their loyalty. Just do what you can to post and make them feel special.