Just Have Fun With It

Let’s face it, for most of us the work day sucks.  Overloaded email inboxes, filing, calls to customers, angry bosses, it’s enough to give anyone a case of the Mondays. So like any good modern office worker we take to the social networks to relieve some of that office space stress throughout the day.

Cashing in on these two items – the need for some good ole’ fashion entertainment and the always connected habits of the social networking generation, smart companies are learning that when it comes to branding online content equals marketing gold.

Ask yourself one simple question. Is your brand fun? Are your tweets, photos and Facebook posts engaging and smart enough to keep a customer glued to your profile for more than 30 seconds? Would you follow you?

At the end of the day, those who can manage to blend comedy with content and personality with promotions are the companies people want to follow.  One prime example of fun done right is Naked Pizza. The healthy pizza franchise is one of the fastest growing companies in the world and it got it’s start just two years ago in New Orleans.

With over 25 stores open (including three in Dubai) since its launch and 500 on contract, the brand prides itself on being “the social media company who also sells pizza.” Encouraging their employees and franchise owners to get in on the social media action, the LivNaked crew has set themselves apart as a model for launching a successful business with social media at the helm.

Even the Wall Street Journal lauded their embracing of Twitter as an effective tool to bring in not only new customers, but also new investors.

Owners Robbie Vitrano and Jeff Leach post humorous (and pointed) notes every day, on subjects ranging from nutrition to the state of the food business to out-and-out jokes like, “One more glass of wine and I will be buying pop tarts from that damn vending machine for dinner, again.” The New Orleans company says it has gotten about 8,000 investment inquiries in the past year and a half thanks to its online presence. Investors see the tweets—either on Twitter itself or another site that mentions the notes—and then get in touch.

Personally, I have a soft spot for Naked Pizza. Not only is their flagship store, affectionately known as The Lab, located a mere five minutes from my house, but their founder always responds when I tweet how much I love their branding ideas, which is quite often. From great slogans and logos on their pizza boxes driving customers to their Facebook and Twitter profiles, to witty napkins and humorous Flickr photos of their employees on the job, this company makes you want to be a part of their team. The “Live Naked” tag line doesn’t hurt either.

By giving your brand a personality you can begin to engage with customers on a more consistent basis. Peter Biro, the franchiser who brought Naked Pizza to Boston, actively advocates for embracing Twitter as an effective tool for not only sharing company promotions and deals but also to engage with your business’ community. When done correctly, both can drive people into stores

“We have a unique point of view on health/wellness, entrepreneurship, community and genuine food-made-with-actual-food that we try to talk about whenever possible. But really the best interaction is listening and trying to participate in other conversations where we think we can contribute.  I would rather train people internally [to run our social media] and have them share in the fun. Because, when done right, social media is a lot of fun. And, since our store managers grew up texting, expressing themselves in under 140 characters is totally natural,” Biro told BostInnovation.com.

Naked Pizza understands that transparency and sharing are what make utilizing social media for business most effective. And while it’s important to get your message out there, if you manage to remain humble, show some personality and have fun with it, you’re more likely to have engaged and loyal customers. After all, pizza is for sharing.