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Facebook Opening

Tasti D-Lite's coming to Arizona...and Facebook is helping spread the news. Jonathan Kaufman is the area developer and multi-unit franchisee for the state, where he's scheduled to open more than 40 Tasti D-Lite units. But it's his first store opening that has kept him busy this fall and Facebook has been one of his strategic marketing tools.

Kaufman's been right in the middle of a social media campaign to build awareness of his soon-to-open store in Scottsdale. He must be doing something right because he already has more than 500 Facebook "fans" and his first store is not even open yet.

"It's been a great way for me to create excitement and awareness about the brand coming to Arizona," he says, "and at very little or no cost." That's another advantage to social media: signing up and creating a page is free. And if you want to post company advertisements to a targeted group of individuals (the ads show up when they sign onto their own pages), it's pay-per-click or per impression and you can cap your level of investment.

Kaufman has been targeting Tasti D-Lite fans based on demographics--for example, people who live in the Scottsdale area, and those who have identified themselves as fans of "Sex in the City" (Tasti D-Lite appeared in two episodes of the show). And he likes the corporate marketing efforts of Tasti D-Lite, saying it gives "cohesion to what we're both doing."

While preparing to open his first store, Kaufman regularly posted updates to a Facebook page he created called, "Crazy for TASTI-D in AZ!!!" letting his "fans" know what was happening and creating fresh energy with every post. He continues to respond to questions and is building a guest list to invite to the store's grand opening this fall--and is offering a free small Tasti to all 500 members on the page.

Unexpectedly, his Facebook page has attracted local contractors and vendors inquiring about his new stores. "I've heard from people who want to help me build. I've gotten several bids this way and heard from various other vendors. It's been a big help," he says. He also intends to use the site to find employees when he's close to opening.

And he's discovered another interesting benefit to Facebook. "I've become a 'fan' of some of my competitors," he says. "It's always good for a business person to know what their competition is doing."

Kaufman says Facebook has been a great tool for him because "It takes so little time to do it and it's easy, there's no html or coding." He just now dipping his toes into Twitter, but can see how he could benefit from that as well.

Once the new stores open, he plans to use social media to keep the customers coming in with spur-of-the-moment offers to his online followers. "Social networking offers amazing ways to run 'immediate response' promotions, and today's younger consumers are all about jumping on those opportunities," he says.

"Social networking is one of those things where 'if you build it they will come' is true, but you have to push it and promote it and stay active in its development," says Kaufman. "You need to maintain active communications with your customer base and this an excellent way to do it. Your social networking efforts can't go stale, or people will quickly lose interest."

Published: November 3rd, 2009

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