Social media was a hot topic this week at the Pizza Executive Summit in Chicago, where operators heard from a variety of professionals who use it to help grow their businesses.
"You have to incent people to kind of interact with you a little bit, but you don't have to give away the whole shop," said Scott Baitinger, owner of Pizza Streetza, which uses Foursquare to connect with customers.
After claiming their business on Foursquare.com, owners can offer freebies and other promotions to customers who "check-in" on the site when visiting those businesses. For example, when customers check in to Pizza Streetza, they get free garlic bread.
Click here to watch Baitinger describe his success with Fourquare.
Facebook and Twitter are the other popular social media sites that can help business owners interact with their customer base, however, it's important to make those experiences fun, said Asif Khan, CEO of the Location Based Marketing Association.
"How do you make it fun for people, so they want to do it and they want to do it over and over again in terms of checking in at places?" he said. "One of the things you can do is scavenger-hunt type of activities where you have people run around the city or check in at multiple places of yours to unlock special deals and rewards but not just going to one place. You want loyal customers, you want people coming back. And the gaming aspects make that really fun."
Click here to watch an interview with Khan explaining how to engage customers with social media.
The Pizza Executive Summit, held earlier this week in Chicago, was sponsored by PizzaMarketplace.com, which is published by Networld Alliance. Networld Alliance also publishes QSRweb.com and FastCasual.com.