Dallas Social Media Marketing: i Fratelli Pizza Cooks Up Lessons For Small Businesses

Jul 23 • Case Studies, Content Marketing, Facebook, Front Page, Providing Content, ROI of Social Media, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media for Customer Service, Social Media Marketing, Twitter, Twitter Business Marketing, Twitter Marketing, Using Social Media • 1304 Views

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This is part 2 of a blog post focusing on social media marketing success stories presented during the 2nd annual Social Media Showcase, sponsored July 19th by Social Media Club of Dallas.

The goal was to find a way to allow a well-known Dallas-Fort Worth chain of pizza restaurants to give back to the local community. It wasn’t really about jump-starting sales. “i Fratelli is killing it,” said Jeff Schick, director of integrated digital strategy at Online Performance Marketing, during his Social Media Showcase presentation.  “They’ve grown to 10 locations, received outstanding customer reviews. The brand is doing extremely well after 25 years of business.”

But wouldn’t you know it: by trying to help others, i Fratelli’s social media-driven strategy also helped its own bottom line.

Known for its thin crust, rectangular pizzas (ad tagline: “Never Trust A Round Pizza”), i Fratelli used Online Performance’s strategy for the i Fratelli Pizza DoughNation, a social media-based program. Customers would nominate worthy charities online, and i Fratelli would donate 15% of all Monday sales to that group.

The strategy’s components:

  • Content strategies for i Fratelli’s blog The Sauce;
  • Cross-pollination of posts on Facebook and Twitter to boost SEO performance;
  • Identifying influencers;
  • Seeded code words (usually non-profit/charity names) in social media that – when mentioned in pizza orders – would help with measurement;
  • Using i Fratelli’s owned media to generate earned media (local TV and print news coverage).

Now a slew of DFW non-profits and charities are indeed getting much-needed financial help, and i Fratelli has stronger ties to its communities. But Schick said his client, which started DoughNation in February, has never dipped below a 300% return on investment each month since then. “We’ve had an increase in sales, and we’ve been able to tie that to social media ROI,” he said.

Online Performance grew i Fratelli’s retweet percentages, receiving national and international shout-outs.  The Sauce blog’s unique views were 86% driven by social media and 14% from direct URL input, “so we were increasing brand awareness and recall.” Monthly impressions rose from 40,000 to 125,000.

“Social media results are not just for big brands,” Schick said. “Small and medium-sized businesses can see powerful results, whether it’s attitudinal behavior or financial. You just gotta know how to do it right.”

“It’s like having a built-in pep squad,” i Fratelli marketing director Rachel Black said. “I like keeping our name in front of customers via a platform they are already engaged in. Our company is local and many of our fans know the owners and have developed an ownership of their success over the years. Their enthusiasm for our product and our story really drives our success on social media.”

And despite the boost in sales that was a byproduct of DoughNation, “we do not spend any time worrying about return on investment,” she said. “Our marketing budget is small for a company of our size, but there has been no question that an investment in social is good business. We have halted print advertising almost entirely and focused on web and social. Though it can be hard to discern a measurable impact, we have agreed that an absence in the realm of social media would leave us behind the curve.”


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I have a small time marketing company in NY, and can attest to the small business growth through social media, with the right plan, and consistency, anything is possible.


Thanks Paul - what types of social media services do you offer?

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