Social Media and Domino's Pizza Chicago

I recently came across this video interview with Ramon De Leon, a managing partner of six Domino’s Pizza franchises in Chicago. De Leon offers quite a few hands-on techniques for marketing to local customers, and I’ll highlight some of the best here:

1. Use Print Marketing to Start Conversations

De Leon uses pizza boxes to get people talking about his products. Since a pizza box is sure to make its way into customers’ homes (rather than a direct mail piece, for example), De Leon puts messages and tweets from customers directly on the box. What creative ways can you think of to get print messages in front of your audience?

2. Use Twitter for Real-Time Monitoring

De Leon regularly monitors Twitter to see what people in Chicago are talking about when it comes to pizza. If he sees messages of praise for one of his stores, he immediately responds with a thank you message. When he sees an opportunity to respond to a negative situation, what he calls, “social media fires,” he goes into action.

For example, an unhappy customer used Twitter to vent about Domino’s giving her the wrong order. Along with the store manager, De Leon created a video apology just for that customer . . . but then something interesting happened. People began blogging about De Leon’s authentic approach to handling the situation, and eventually his story was used at social media marketing conferences!

3. Create Stories for Customers to Share

When you wow your customers, De Leon believes you also are giving them a story to share with their friends and coworkers. When a customer missed part of a football game because she was waiting too long for a Domino’s order, De Leon sprang into action once again. Not only did he compensate the customer for the delayed order, but he also sent her to a football game to replace the one she missed! Customers tend to share these stories with lots of people, giving you the perfect word-of-mouth marketing opportunity.

4. Use Photos to Create Online Experiences

Before the phrase “social media” was even coined, De Leon was using social media to promote his Chicago stores. He took plenty of photos at local events, embedded with the Domino’s Pizza Chicago logos, and watched Facebook users share the photos—and his logos—with their networks.

Another way De Leon uses photos for promotion is by creating a “photo opp” wall within his stores. While customers wait for their Domino’s pizza, they can take photos of themselves and their friends in front of the wall and then brag to their networks about how they’re getting fresh, hot pizza.

These creative uses of photos create experiences that people are willing to share online with their friends, giving you instant—and free—exposure.


Just like Ramon De Leon, I bet you have tips for turning local customers into fans. What tips can you offer other small business owners for promoting your products and creating fans for life?

Image courtesy of creative design agency Arrae.

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