Recap of Jeff Schick: How a Local Brand Used Social Media to Get Results
When Jeff Schick, the Director of Integrated Digital Strategy of Online Performance Marketing, showed up at Four Day Weekend two weeks ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Luckily, what I got was a discussion that focused on one of the most effective marriages of local, Mom & Pop-style business strategy and social media that I’ve seen in a long time.
Jeff came to SMCFW to talk pizza. More specifically, i Fratelli Pizza, a small chain of Metroplex-based take-out/delivery outlets, in addition to a restaurant and wine bar. Jeff explained that earlier this year, the restaurant was preparing for an expansion strategy in honor of it 25th anniversary. They turned to him to move beyond using social media as a platform for complaints…in other words, they wanted to use it to tell the story of their brand.
The thing is, i Fratelli is seriously into giving back to their community, paying special attention to local chapters of nonprofits and charities that often get overlooked in favor of more national organizations. Their objective with social media was to emotionally connect with their consumers in order to make their customers part of the “solution”, giving direction to i Fratelli’s locally-spent fundraising dollars.
Thus, i Fratelli’s “Pizza DoughNation” concept was born. Fans/friends/followers of the pizza chain were able to nominate different nonprofits and charities that they felt were noteworthy, and i Fratelli would in turn “give back” to one of those nonprofits every Monday. Fans were encouraged to leverage their social networks to help spread the word, and i Fratelli’s Facebook and Twitter pages would often provide “code words” throughout the week that customers could use in their pizza orders. (The result of using the code words was that the chain would donate 15% of all sales to their selected organization of the week.) Then, at the end of each week, one of the Cole brothers (who founded i Fratelli) would make a check presentation to the nonprofit of choice and post pictures on the i Fratelli social media outlets.Jeff’s strategy was to create a social and viral-only, community-based fundraiser for DFW residents. After working with i Fratelli to make sure that their brand was clearly defined, the next step was to take i Fratelli’s off-line commitment to their values of “local, authentic, family, and community”, and apply it to social media through a “give back program”.special attention to local chapters of nonprofits and charities that often get overlooked in favor of more national organizations. Their objective with social media was to emotionally connect with their consumers in order to make their customers part of the “solution”, giving direction to i Fratelli’s locally-spent fundraising dollars.
Jeff pointed out that the Pizza DoughNation campaign generated earned media, not paid media, for the business, and that its popularity spread via word-of-mouth faster than it could have through paid media. He also noted that the business used Twitter in a creative way, geo-targeting local Twitter conversations about pizza to build on their customer base and spread awareness of the campaign. Social media posts were generally made between 11am – 2pm and 4pm-8pm (general pizza-buying hours), and cross-promotion across multiple social platforms was a big key to their success. Facebook, in particular, was used to document and house the brand’s “giving back” story, and Jeff was able to capitalize on Facebook’s edge rank algorithm by focusing on aggressive newsfeed optimization strategies.
The results of i Fratelli’s “Pizza DoughNation” program were impressive: Jeff said that, at the beginning of the project, there were initially 3,000 unique visits to the program page and that 86% of that traffic was coming from social media. Impressions increased from 40K to 215K per month; it doubled in one month, tripled in 4 months, and by 6 months, it had grown to 5x its original size. I Fratelli’s Facebook reach increased to over 50K, and Twitter brand influencers were placed on a special VIP list, as part of the company’s test audience for future programs.
And while the main objective of Pizza DoughNation was not necessarily financial, Jeff reported that there was a natural increase in sales, and i Fratelli’s return on their social media investment was 304% by February, 310% in March, and 318% by April of this year.
Most importantly, however, i Fratelli’s Pizza DoughNation campaign was able to help over 70 nonprofit organizations in DFW, and there aren’t many brands out there who can do something like that on such a small scale, while still reaching such a large group of organizations.
Of course, i Fratelli uses social media to do other things, like talk about what’s happening with the brand, tell the history of the brand, and to say “thank you” to their fans and supporters, but thanks to Jeff’s talk, one thing was clear: i Fratelli as a brand is about more than just pizza. And social media, as an industry, is about more than just marketing. But by combining the two, along with a strong commitment to giving back to the local community, great things can be achieved.
Check out i Fratelli’s Facebook page and help them make a difference for DFW.