Social media has become a marketing power tool for pizzerias. It’s one of the most cost-effective promotional channels for reaching a vast and broad audience. According to a 2015 study by Pew Research Center, fully 72% of American adults with Internet access—and 62% of all adults—use Facebook. Pinterest is the second-most popular platform, attracting 31% of adult Internet users and 26% of the entire adult population. Even Twitter, the least popular of social media’s Big 5 platforms, commands a huge following—23% of all Internet users and 20% of the entire adult population use it.
For a pizzeria owner, it’s a no-brainer to add Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social giants to the marketing repertoire. But you’ll just waste valuable time and resources without a defined plan. To help you maximize your efforts online, the digital team at direct marketing agency Moving Targets, headquartered in Perkasie, Pennsylvania, weighed in on the following prompt: What’s your best social media tip for pizzerias? Here’s what they told us:
Christa Vohs, Director of Digital Marketing Solutions
My best tip for pizzerias is to step away from the conventional sales-focused use of social media and concentrate on authentic customer experiences. Is your pizzeria special because you ship ingredients fresh from New York to maintain the perfect slice? Share a quote from a former Easterner talking about how it tastes like home! Do parents love stopping by on weeknights because you offer coloring books and a balloon artist? Snap a picture of the little ones having fun! Social media should be engaging. Open the door to your audience, and ask them for feedback at least once per quarter. If a customer gives you an idea that you decide to utilize, show them you value their opinion with a personalized thank-you! Make your fans feel appreciated, and they are more likely to be loyal to your business.
Ian Repko, Director of Print Marketing Solutions
Engaging your fans with posts on your social sites is important, but you see the best returns when you coordinate in-house promotions with social promotions. Offer a monthly custom pizza special: Tell your customers to come in and write their favorite topping on a card and drop it into a jar. At the beginning of each month, pick three ingredients and, no matter how weird, make that pizza. Give away discount coupons for fans of your social pages and invite them to come in and try your Franken-Pizza.
Marguerite Hulett, Director of Technical Marketing Solutions
Social media isn’t just about marketing your pizzeria to prospective customers; it’s also about learning from your existing clientele. If someone writes a negative review, don’t blow it off or write a nasty reply. Instead, craft a polite, professional response that addresses their concerns. Even if you aren’t able to salvage the relationship with the reviewer, you will impress other potential customers with your care and professionalism!
Michelle Bizon, Vice President of Marketing Solutions
A pizzeria’s success on social media hinges on two key factors: creating valuable content and getting that content in front of current and prospective customers. When posting, you need a solid mix of self-promotion, networking, curation and randomness that either educates, entertains or engages—and the best content does all three. Feature contests, offers, user-generated photos, behind-the-scenes peeks, testimonials and even the occasional puppy pic to create an online presence that mirrors your customers’ in-store experience. In turn, your fans will listen, share and, ultimately, walk through your door again and again. Increase your reach by tapping into the power of mainstay best practices (hashtags on Twitter) and trends (video on Facebook), which should all be reinforced by a dedicated social advertising budget to target your ideal prospects.
Mike Hull, Digital Marketing Strategist
Post high-quality photos of your food. People aren’t following you for pizza industry news. In between special offers and promos, fill the majority of the space with appealing food pics and the occasional pizza joke. Pizza is pretty widely accepted as being delicious, so contests for gift cards, discounts and free pizza will always get good interaction.
Shannon Jester, Digital Marketing Strategist
Engagement is key when it comes to success through social media for pizzerias. Find creative ways to connect with your customers through your social pages, whether it’s with pictures, contests, offers, etc. Not only are you creating your brand online, but you’re making your shop stand out from the rest. Through social media, you are able to start setting up that experience you want your customers to feel when they come in to order. If you are able to build that positive experience before they come in and continue it after they have left, that’s how you’ll get and keep loyal customers.
Alex Beard, Digital Marketing Strategist
My biggest advice is to be different. What makes you special? Why should I spend my money at your business? Figure that out and let the customer know: Do you have a better deal than your competitors? Is there something special about the way your menu items are made? Does your food look especially appetizing? Social media is a great way to let a broad audience know that your business is worth visiting. Getting customers in the door is half the battle.
Jenna Gross, Chief Marketing Officer
Keep your eye on the pies. Social media is just a tool to communicate with your customers. Don’t lose sight of the end goal: building customer loyalty and, ultimately, increasing sales and profits. Focus on connecting with fans, not just collecting them. Make sure your posts are interesting, stay true to your mission, and “keep it real” in your conversation. Create fresh, relevant and interesting two-way conversations, showing your fans you care. They will reward you with trust, loyalty and more business.
Lauren Springer, Digital Marketing Strategist
Be sure to add your personal touch or stamp. Customers want to see what their experience is going to be like when they visit you. Be sure to use the same language you use in the shop and real photos of your food, employees and customers. If you do this, it will prove to the customer you are invested in showing them who you are—not just what you sell. Also, don’t forget to respond to comments and engage the customer—it shows you care about what they think and builds loyalty for your brand.