Pizza Power

Little Caesars and Domino’s have a different mission.
THAT’S AMORE: On May 8, 1959, Mike and Marian Ilitch invested their $10,000 life savings to open the first Little Caesars store in Garden City. The store, which is still operating, includes numerous historical photos and an honorary plaque.
While some companies use social media as an outlet for free advertising, Little Caesars and Domino’s have a different mission.
“A social media campaign, sweepstakes, or even a single status update doesn’t just happen,” says Jon Gunnells, social media manager at Little Caesars in Detroit. “Like any other form of marketing, we create a strategy with key performance indicators and then execute tactics and measure against those indicators.”The result is that Little Caesars doesn’t focus on “like” counts. “While it would be great to have 15 million Facebook fans, it really doesn’t matter if they’re ignoring your brand,” Gunnells says. “It’s like having a conference room full of empty chairs. We’re proud that we’ve been able to achieve equal or higher Facebook engagement rates than brands with three, four, or five times as many fans as we have.”

At Ann Arbor-based Domino’s, a team of customer care specialists trained in social media provide quick updates on the company’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages. One distinction Domino’s pursues is having a real person — namely Phil Lozen, a social media specialist — respond to consumer comments and questions.

“It’s really important to know what you’re going to talk about before you go out and start talking,” Lozen says. The company utilizes a cross-functional approach, combining the efforts of various departments to represent the brand. “It takes time to learn how to plan properly, and a good plan is only good if it’s adaptable and free-flowing. It can’t be too rigid,” Lozen says.

At Little Caesars, consistency is the order of the day. “We want to make sure we’re growing our social communities but, more importantly, that we’re engaging those fans and continuing the conversation after they join ‘Caesar Nation,’ ” Gunnells says. b b— Lia Grabowski

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