Blizzards + Social Media = Pizza
Gusto Pizza is the newest gastronomical marvel to spring upon the Des Moines restaurant scene. It's hip, it's cool and the menu is refreshingly different.
A few weeks ago, after the bad weather caused some Des Moines schools and businesses to completely shut down and send their employees home to safety, Gusto took the completely opposite tack. Gusto stayed open and turned up its social networks full blast. After all, people still get hungry for pizza during bad weather. Some people even seek out pizza during blizzards.
What makes Gusto so special? Why were they supremely positioned to open a new pizza place during the dead of winter, a time when most restaurants are experiencing very low customer traffic? What's in the secret sauce?
There's no doubt the "new place" syndrome is in play. People simply flock to a new place to try the food and be able to say "I've been there. Here's my opinion..." It's human nature. Even I did it. But they have a couple of unique ways of using social media that are worth observing and sharing.
- They know their specific audience. Gusto's audience is people who eat pizza. Specifically, it's young people who are very active in social media. Gusto caters to this audience, while still casting a wide net for whoever might be listening.
- They build excitement. The week before the business was opened, informational posts about the grand opening created a pent-up demand for the new products. The high-quality photos of their pizzas on their website helped, too!
- They share interesting information. How often do you get to see a brand new pizza oven being delivered? It was momentus to them, and they cared enough to share it with their friends. That's pretty cool.
- They create a social media "home base." Instead of random tweets and Facebook pages, they choose to have a website with a blog built in. Over time, this will build authority with search engines and send more people their way. But more importantly, it's a place to store their content. Think of it as a leather-bound scrapbook that will never get yellow around the edges.
- They are "on" social media when their customers are "on." Instead of pre-programming tweets to come out automatically during the day, there is a live person tweeting and answering tweets during the dinner hour. This means Gusto will be able to answer questions, give directions and close sales that they might have otherwise missed.
These principles can be applied to any business trying to boost sales. Just remember, you can't phone this one in! There has to be a real person behind the wheel if you plan to win the race. Are you devoting enough face time to interacting with your customers in real time?