IZEA Holdings Inc. is currently testing a pilot program for its SocialSpark Deals, with Domino's Pizza signing on as the lone restaurant beta participant.
The basic objective of SocialSpark Deals is to offer additional opportunities for bloggers to earn revenue and for advertisers to reach more customers through social sharing. The platform focuses specifically on e-commerce merchants – such as Domino's Pizza – that are equipped to track repeat customers and obtain contact information for future marketing opportunities.
Ted Murphy, CEO of IZEA, said his company has a large network of bloggers that write content on behalf of advertisers to gain broader exposure. Their posts drive traffic back to the advertisers' sites and the blogger then receives compensation for the traffic.
SocialSpark Deals leverages IZEA's 600,000 social media publisher network to distribute deals online. Bloggers can write posts, embed widgets into their sites, tweet and Facebook the deal to share it with friends.
"With this deals model, every time a promotional code gets sold, the blogger gets compensated," Murphy said.
As part of the test, customers who purchase a $10 Domino's deal will receive a promotional gift code worth $20, which is redeemable on Dominos.com.
IZEA reached out to Domino's for the pilot because the company has been an early adopter of social media marketing platforms and a leader in customer engagement, Murphy said.
"SocialSpark Deals gives them a new way to connect with customers while providing the tools needed to measure effectiveness," he added.
Domino's also participated in IZEA's WeReward launch last year, and continues to participate in that program.
The premise of WeReward is to offer incentives to consumers for posting photos.
"You can take pictures at a location with a product and get a reward. So, if you take a photo with a Domino's pizza box and then share it to your network through Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, etc., it ultimately drives social shares and traffic and that's the goal," Murphy said.
For SocialSpark Deals, the rewards will be based on sales pushed from each blog, so the model is a bit different.
The idea behind SocialSpark Deals
Murphy said he came up with the SocialSpark Deals platform after becoming frustrated with other daily deal promotions.
"I would sign up for a deal and then my inbox would get bombarded with stuff I didn't care about. Everyone wants a deal, but everyone wants one that is relevant to them," he said.
He thought if he saw someone in his social network share a deal, he'd be much more likely to use it than if he was just getting blasted with impersonal, automatic inbox deals.
"The social curation of this, people deciding what's relevant to them, is what got me excited," he said. "And the big appeal is that it's coming from someone you're familiar with, someone you trust. There's less of a sales-y feel to it."
Most customers will likely prefer the personable approach, but how does Domino's or other participating companies benefit? Murphy said the return on investment is in getting more social awareness and having people talk about their products in a way that will ultimately lead to the sale of their products.
The company will also gain access to email addresses and information when a customer signs up for a deal.
"The company can market and re-market to these customers and, hopefully over time, develop a relationship with them," Murphy said. "We're a marketplace and the goal is to match advertisers with social media publishers and provide opportunities for both."
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Alicia has been a professional journalist for 15 years. Her work with FastCasual.com, QSRweb.com and PizzaMarketplace.com has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Good Morning America, Voice of Russia radio, Consumerist.com and Franchise Asia magazine.