How do you promote a pizza restaurant chain on social media? Why is video the most important ingredient in the marketing mix? Do you knead to spend loads of dough to have success on social?
To get some answers, we’ve had a chat with Tim Love who is the social media manager at PizzaExpress and keynote speaker at #smlondon LIVE!. Have a listen to the interview on SoundCloud, iTunes or keep reading for a summary of our conversation.
How do you stand out on social media in a crowded marketplace?
Yeah, it’s difficult. But at the same time, I think we’re quite fortunate as a restaurant business. Because food is something that’s so visual and such a big thing on social media anyway that we’re in a place where if we present our food beautifully and in a way which makes people want to eat it immediately, we can stand out. I actually don’t think that there are that many restaurant brands doing it brilliantly.
We’ve moved to a very video centric approach and I’ve found that to be very effective for us. I would say that we stand out by really going for the video side of things and also just by being very approachable on our social channels. We try to answer pretty much any question that comes our way. Any customer query, we try and have a little fun. Try and remain lighthearted. I would like to think we stand out, but I’ll leave that for other people to decide.
— PizzaExpress (@PizzaExpress) October 21, 2015
What is the PizzaExpress approach to social customer service?
We like to talk to anyone who takes the time to get in touch with us, whatever the reason. Obviously, a lot of people will approach us with a customer service query and we take those really seriously. But equally, we kind of don’t want to lose our kind of sense of fun with those customers. And from a light tone of voice perspective, we try to always be approachable and kind of open to have conversations about anything, really. So today for example, you know, we had a little bit of a chat about Star Wars and the fact that the new bad guy talked about him continuing to finish Darth Vader’s work and we wondered whether or not that was just a reference to him finishing off a pizza. Which isn’t a great example, but it just shows how you can kind of take everyday moments and have a little bit of fun with them. RELATED: Exploring PizzaExpress’ Playful Social Media Strategy.
Tell us about your influencer marketing program?
We have used Adam Richman [Man v. Food] to promo our American Hottest Pizza. And we’ve worked with some of the biggest YouTubers. We’ve done quite a fair bit with Caspar Lee, and hopefully we have something coming up with him for Halloween as well, which is very appropriate given his name. And we’ve worked with Jack Howard, and Dean Dobbs and Marcus Butler. We think that these guys definitely help connect us to a younger audience than what we’re used to.
I mean, PizzaExpress has been around a long, long time so some people have grown up with us. But we kind of came to appeal to a younger audience as well. And yeah, Adam Richman would fall into the category of enabling us to do that so, we have different channels for different things. But ultimately, we try and reach out to as many different demographics as possible.
How do you use video to sell food?
I think Facebook for me, is now outgrowing YouTube, certainly for brands anyway. I think that their advertising targeting options are so incredible that you’re able to reach people that you know have an interest in you that might have an interest in you. You find out a lot more about these people than any of the other platforms allow. I guess you would say that we sort of house our content on Facebook. And I would say that’s where we will always get kind of our biggest reach and most engagement. But equally, I love short form video, so I think that Vine and Instagram are brilliant for food marketers, because especially with pizzas, you can make a pizza look incredibly attractive in six seconds and it’s a lovely way to kind of profile individual items as opposed to just kind of putting out one bigger video. So yeah, if you see our channels you’ll see there is an awful lot of video. Yes, and I think that they all kind of work in different ways.
What types of social advertising do you do?
Well, sometimes if there’s a opportunity for us, we might put a promotion out which will use social advertising predominantly for Facebook because of the targeting options. Relatively speaking, it’s quite cheap. Often I’ll post something and then immediately, kind of within an hour, see what sort of reaction we got. And if it’s done well, then I might put a little bit of money behind it just to give it a push.
As a restaurant brand, the only sort of definitive way you can measure whether someone’s come in based on what they’ve seen is pretty much through maybe a voucher download or anecdotally. So we see it as an engagement platform and certainly, with the advertising that’s what the majority of our ads are there to do.
Follow Tim on Twitter @TimLovePizza.