In social media, it’s not the size that matters

Posted: June 24, 2010 in Business, Marketing, Social Media
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

In social media, it’s not the size that matters.

Here it is, June 2010, and I’m still hearing things like this:

“We’re not one of your big clients. We have to focus on the basics:  direct marketing, email blasts, you know. We don’t have the time or the people for social media.”

And…

“It’s not like we’re a local mom and pop business,  we need scale. Sure, we like the idea of Facebook fans, but really, how much can we move the needle on Facebook?”

Can a company really be too small or too big to benefit from a social media strategy?

David and Goliath comparisons don’t get any clearer than Pizza Hut vs. Naked Pizza. Big vs. small.  Old vs. new. Mass produced, pre-made, highly processed fast food vs. healthy, natural, hand-made fast food.

And yet there’s something both of them can agree on.  One of the biggest ingredients to their recipe for growth is social media. Social media, with its low cost of entry both in terms of cost and required skills (anyone can have a free Facebook page, and with nearly 400 million active Facebook users, nearly everyone does) works especially well for really small, local companies, so let’s start with David:  Naked Pizza.

Naked Pizza, a franchise started in post-Katrina New Orleans in 2006, has embraced Twitter fully, down to putting a huge Twitter sign outside their store. Last year, they ran a Twitter-only promotion they credited with 15% of their day’s sales. A month later, nearly 70% of the customers calling in for orders were Twitter followers. They’ve got 5 new locations opening soon, and another 17 franchises awarded across the country, with reports of 40 new locations planned in Florida alone.

So what about Goliath?

This year Pizza Hut expects to hit $2 billion in online orders this year, according to a recent article in Chief Marketer. Papa Johns did that much in 2009, comprising 25% of their global business. 30% of Domino’s sales are online.

Fueling much of Pizza Hut’s growth is due their social media strategy. As of today, Pizza Hut has 1,393,776 million fans on Facebook. Last year they ran a national campaign to hire a Twintern, a summer Twitter Intern, whose job was to promote the company on Twitter and Facebook and handle online reputation monitoring. The winner, Alexa Robinson (@pizzahut), has been credited with helping grow Pizza Hut’s Twitter followers from 3,000 to 30,000. Robinson was so successful she was hired as Pizza Hut’s Tweetologist, a full time job that has expanded to include public appearances at events in New York City, Philadelphia, Little Rock, Richmond, Va., Columbia, S.C., and Des Moines, Iowa. — all tracked on Foursquare, of course, with pictures on Flickr.

Two companies, one big, one small, both benefiting from social media. It seems pretty clear to me, at least in this case, that it’s not the size that matters in social media, it’s what you do with it.

Does your company have a social media strategy? If not, can someone in your organization give me a call and please explain to me why you don’t?

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Comments
  1. A Fan says:

    You’ve convinced me. If the publishing bug lands on me again, I’ll join the social media world.

    • jlsimons says:

      Actually, publishing and social media make a great synergy, A Fan. Take Marrus, my artist friend I’ve written about now and again. She has a large, committed following thanks to Live Journal and Facebook. So when she published her autobiographical book, Lightsurfing, her community was already waiting for it. Take a lesson from Marrus: don’t wait to engage your community until you want something from them. Engage with them all the time, in an honest and meaningful way, and then when you do have something for them, they’re more likely to care.

  2. Josef Katz says:

    Didn’t you get the memo? Social media is just a passing fad. Once the internet fad passes so will the social media thing and we will go back to the “Golden Age” of TV, Print and Radio advertising….

    Please, please, please blog about any calls you get.

    • jlsimons says:

      Whew! Thanks Josef. I’m glad I don’t have to keep up with this continually evolving social marketing stuff. I’m still trying to get a handle on that new-fangled “Direct Marketing” thing.

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