Hot Delivery: An Inside Look at @Dominos Social Media Strategy

Domino’s Pizza tracker isn’t the only entertaining thing trending on the web from America’s pizza giant. The company hosts a Twitter feed that would make any brand manager smile. It’s not unusual to see calls for paper airplanes made of pizza boxes or a surplus of funny questions. And of course @mentions galore. The account, 120,000 followers large, is manned by Phil Lozen, a man who’s become moderately famous himself because of it.

Lozen only recently taken on his role as the company’s social media maverick, but has spent more than a decade with the pizza giant.

Excited to hear about tales from within one of the world’s most prolific pizza chains, we caught up Lozen to get his take on the company’s social media program. We walked away with three key takeaways for content and social media strategists:

  1. Promotions work. More people follow brands via social media to receive promotions and deals than for any other reason. Domino’s understands this and successfully runs promotions to increase trial and sales of its products.
  2. Be unfiltered. Domino’s has benefited from a number of campaigns where it amplified both good and bad feedback from users about its brands. In the end, the effect was that it increased transparency and made the brand seem more trustworthy.
  3. Spread the load. Domino’s social media efforts are a cross-functional effort between its digital marketing and PR teams, but it also pulls in help from agency partners, and some content is even user-generated.

Read on for more insight into how Domino’s runs its social media strategy and for the full interview with social media maven Phil Lozen.

Contently: Tell me about yourself and your role at Domino’s?

Lozen: I started at Domino’s in 1998 doing internal communications. I’ve been in the communications department my entire career doing a number of different things from writing to web design, and most recently social media. Currently I’m on the PR team handling social media, crisis communication, and blogger outreach.

Contently: What kind of content does Domino’s produce on the web?

Lozen: We update our Twitter and Facebook pages on a daily basis, and we’ve spent more time recently creating applications specific to social media. Our recent Global Domino’s Day on Facebook is a great example. On Dec. 8 we had a one-day 50% off online orders deal on Facebook that was available in the U.S. as well as 18 other countries around the world. It was a huge success and a great way to give our fans a great deal while at the same time showcasing the global presence of Domino’s Pizza.

One other example would be the Noid’s Super Pizza Shootout we put on Facebook in the summer. We got a lot of positive buzz for that, and in the process people got to play a fun game with our beloved Noid and had a chance to win free pizza. Facebook fans played against each other in a Noid-themed arcade game and we gave a pizza away to the top score every minute. We gave away more than 10,000 pizzas.

Contently: What type of content does Domino’s focus on with its blog?

Lozen: is currently a place for us to centralize our web content that doesn’t specifically live on Facebook or, or for Facebook content to live on after we take it off our page. For instance, when we put customer reviews in Times Square last August, we used [the blog] to host that content. It’s not a blog in the traditional sense, by that I mean we aren’t putting new content on it on a daily or even weekly basis.


Contently: How often does Domino’s publish content on the web?

Lozen: We publish new content and engage with fans on Facebook and Twitter every day. Larger efforts (such as the Global Domino’s Day or Times Square promotions) happen less regularly, every 6-8 weeks maybe. We’re not aiming to put a certain amount of content out, we want to create engaging content for our fans and followers. Sometimes that might mean we have 3-4 events in a month, sometimes it might mean more time passes between our larger events.

Contently: What types of content have been the most well-received or gotten the best results? What’s flopped? And why?

Lozen: We do a pretty good job of making sure we don’t put something out that will flop (hopefully at least). But anyone will tell you there are things that work less than smoothly.

We ran a giveaway on Facebook a few months back that was well received. Maybe a bit too well received since it caused our servers to crash and we had some issues during the promotion with stability. The Noid game I spoke of before had some issues with people trying to use less than honest means to win that we had to deal with. But you learn from those things. We made some changes in the middle of both those events that fixed the problems, and we think that’s made us a much stronger social brand since we can apply those learnings to future promotions.

Our Global Domino’s Day was probably one of our bigger wins. We had a lot of people participate on Facebook from around the world, the application functioned wonderfully, and we generated a lot of buzz and got a lot of people to try some delicious Domino’s Pizza.

Contently: How do you determine the level of success for the content that you produce?

Lozen: We have a formula that we use here at Domino’s to determine our success and it blends a bunch of different factors including some different buzz metrics, sales numbers, interactivity and overall impressions both on the social side and the PR side. We’ll look at those factors to determine how well we think a promotion fared.

Contently: Who produces the content and what’s the workflow like?

Lozen: Our content comes from a lot of different places, including our agency partners, our internal team, as well as some fan-created content. I work with our digital marketing team to manage timelines and content. This works out extremely well for us at Domino’s as it ensures that both the marketing team and the PR team are in lockstep on our social efforts. It’s been a tremendous partnership.

Contently: How does social media play a role in Domino’s content strategy?

Lozen: Social media’s role at Domino’s has really evolved and grown over the past couple years. Social is now a part of the conversation at the start of every marketing and PR initiative we’ve had, and with things like Global Domino’s Day, the Noid game, and our Times Square event, we’re starting to see times where social is leading the way. Domino’s prides itself on being a transparent and open brand. We made a point of that when we introduced our new pizza in 2010. Social media is our best method for ensuring that we stay true to that promise. It’s vital to how we do business as a brand today.

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