- Show support for your community every chance you get. Tweeting about local sports is a great way to start.
- Celebrate your customers and your staff in Facebook photo albums, Instagram Stories and TikTok videos.
With more pizzerias using social media platforms to increase their visibility and gain an edge over competitors, getting ahead in the game isn’t just smart—it’s essential. But with each social media site offering its own array of bells and whistles, navigating the sites and learning how to use them to your advantage can leave operators feeling dizzy. Here are a few tips on how you can build engagement with your followers and get the most out of your social media marketing experience.
1. Don’t Just Tweet Your Specials. If all you’re using social media for is to promote your latest specials, you are probably turning off a lot of customers. Facebook feeds, for example, are already flooded with ads, and Twitter and Instagram aren’t much better. Don’t make your customers feel like you’re constantly trying to sell them something. It’s fine to promote your deals occasionally, but don’t let that dominate your social media strategy. Besides, if you’re not paying the platform to advertise your restaurant and your food, they’re probably throttling your organic reach anyway! Give them content that will entertain, engage, amuse or enlighten. Show them photos of your servers or your pizza makers along with a little info about each person. Shoot quick little behind-the-scenes videos of a pizza maker in action or a delicious-looking pie coming out of the oven.
2. Tweet About Local Sports. When using social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, it is important to understand your local audience and their interests. One way to do this is by showing support for your community every chance you get. Twitter, for example, can offer a venue for building a relationship with local high school and college sports fans—and nowadays, that’s almost everybody in town, male and female alike. Is your pizzeria screening the college football game? Consider tweeting your support for the team beforehand and live-tweeting updates on the game during the event. This strategy works equally well for a local high school game—send an employee to every home game to tweet score updates and brag about star players’ performances. You can utilize hashtags—e.g., #gotigers—to target those fans keeping up with the game and, at the same time, inform them of daily drink and food specials at your pizzeria.
3. Celebrate Your Customers. Remember the days of old when restaurants would tack pictures of their clientele on bulletin boards and proudly display customers’ smiling faces around the restaurant? Instead of putting up hard copies on the walls, you can post a Facebook photo album or Instagram Stories celebrating your “Customers of the Week.” It may be the young professionals with a newborn baby or the cute pooch hanging out on your dog-friendly porch. Whoever it is, take a picture and post it to Facebook or share it with your Instagram followers. Adding your company’s logo to each picture can also be a cost-effective way of advertising. When proud parents see a Facebook photo of their daughter and her soccer team eating pizza in your restaurant after the big game, they’re sure to share it with friends. And TikTok offers a great platform to showcase your happy customers in video interviews. You can also do the same with Facebook Live!
4. Continue the Conversation. Social media offers savvy pizzeria operators the ability to build a rapport with customers, get their feedback and engage in an ongoing conversation. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others serve as forums where customers can express their approval of your operation’s food and service, offer suggestions for improvement (yes, this may include some harsh criticism as well), ask you questions, and get to know your pizzeria through peers’ reviews. But it’s not enough to merely give your guests the opportunity to offer feedback. Customers want you to respond to them. Being responsive to customers through social media outlets can increase your pizzeria’s reputation for quality customer service. By continuing the conversation online, you’re building your operation’s credibility with your guests and demonstrating a genuine interest in their opinions—after all, everyone wants to feel that their viewpoints matter. But remember, these are social forums, not polling centers. Adopt a laid-back tone. Thank your customers for taking the time to check in online and ask them how they liked your pizza. Don’t be afraid to be witty and playful or to let your business’s personality shine through.
5. Do Your Research. Are more of your customers using Twitter or Facebook? Do you appeal to a younger demographic that spends a lot of time on TikTok? Determining in advance where your efforts will make the most impact and concentrating on one or two sites can increase your chances for turning online connections into real customers. Social media monitoring sites like Google Analytics and HootSuite can help you keep track of how social media is affecting your business so that you can optimize your social media strategy. And remember, if you’re too busy to handle this component of your marketing strategy yourself, you can always hire a social media manager. Look for someone with a strong knowledge of marketing as well as plenty of experience with various social media platforms. This doesn’t need to be a highly paid, fulltime position—it’s perfect for a local college student or current part-time employee looking to make some extra cash on the side. You don’t have to do everything yourself!