What’s the easiest way to connect with your fans? To meet them on Facebook of course! The oldest pizza chain in T&T is a frontrunner of local social media interaction, particularly in the realm of Facebook, with a growing fan base of 60,000 plus fans on their Mario’s Pizza Fan page and 28,000 on the Boomers Tasty Subs & Salads Fan page.
Mario’s media-savvy Marketing Manager, Roger Harford, noticing the online successes of international Pizza chains, launched the Mario’s Pizza Facebook Fan page (www.facebook.com/mymarios) on June 12th 2009, just in time for National Pizza Day 2009. Harford imagined the Facebook platform would allow Mario’s to connect with and engage generations of fans who know and love the thirty-year-old brand. He estimated, at the most, the page would garner 10,000 fans.
Currently, the Mario’s Pizza Fan page boasts a daily average of 275 Page Views, 75 ‘Likes’ and 55 Comments, it is clear that Mario’s Facebook fans are a loyal, vocal bunch – engaging with the brand, sharing with respect and consistently providing essential feedback. With 66% of fans falling in the 13-24 age group, the launch of contests and prizes of Artisan Sandwiches was avidly welcomed. The Best Joke contest was a landslide favourite garnering hilarious entries and culminating in fans choosing their favourite joke by voting.
More than just customers, Mario’s fans are taste connoisseurs, contest judges and profanity police, moulding the page into a fun tribe of local pizza lovers. Fans regularly reminisce on childhood memories and admit die-hard devotion with stories of freezing slices to transport to locations abroad. Even though the majority of fans are Trinbagonians, Mario’s fans span the globe, engaging with the page from the US, Canada, UK… and even Scotland, India, Iraq, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The utilisation of social media has been mutually beneficial to both Mario’s and its fans, especially in every restaurant’s Achilles heel – customer care. With the establishment of a feedback loop, Mario’s is able to quickly respond to mishaps and correct them almost without delay when they are posted to the page.
But Mario’s exploration of the social media space only begins with Facebook. Fans can also chit-chat oneon- one with Mario’s on the microblogging platform, Twitter at www.twitter.com/mymarios. With it’s 140- character limit, Twitter is the perfect conversational tool for mobile phone users. Mobile phone penetration in Trinidad & Tobago is estimated at 1.8 million, with a sizeable portion of the population employing the use of 2 mobile phones.
Mario’s maintains a YouTube presence at www. youtube.com/ilovemarios. With almost 2,000 video views, fan submissions are posted side by side with TV spots. Plans are in the works for on-location interviews of customers & staff.
Mario’s continues to reward fans for their support with the release of E-mail-only coupons, scheduled to begin at the end of September. Fans can sign-up for specials under the MyMarios custom tab on the Facebook Fan page. The tab also conveniently lists the Mario’s menu, Mario’s locations and other ongoing activities.
Mario’s and Boomers have embraced social media as more than a corporate advertising tool and instead as a real time medium to care, connect and listen to their fans. As more applications and social media tools are developed, Mario’s strives to stay ahead of the curve, passing on the benefits to those who matters most, the fans. We send a big shout out to all our Facebook & Twitter fans. Your support and enthusiasm make us the #1 pizza in T&T, just the way you like it. To celebrate our success with Tech Live readers, visit mymarios.com/ techlive for a special treat. Buon Appetito!