AllFacebook Interview: Discussion With Pizza Hut About Their Facebook Strategy

Writing about large consumer brands is something that we typically don’t do on this site but recently we decided to reach out to a few brands to see what their experience has been with Facebook Pages. While Facebook presents a huge opportunity for businesses, each business needs to use a different strategy. We thought it would be a good idea to find out how other people are using the pages product and what would improve their experience.

The first person we spoke to was Bob Kraut, Pizza Hut’s Vice President of Marketing Communications. Pizza Hut now has over 790,000 fans according to our Facebook page statistics tool, which ranks them among the 200 most popular pages on the site. Below is a copy of our interview with Bob. If your company has an interesting story about Facebook Pages, please get in touch with us as we’d love to hear from you.

Nick O’Neill, AllFacebook: Why did Pizza Hut decide to launch a fan page on Facebook? Was it created by the company or did a fan first launch the page?
Bob Kraut, Pizza Hut: As a company we launched the first Pizza Hut fan page on Facebook and in October we updated the page to add more features, including an application that allows customers to order from Pizza Hut without ever leaving Facebook. We know that Facbook has become a preferred method of communication for thousands of our customers, so we wanted to create a presence on Facebook that gave us a way to interact with customers. We pride ourselves on being innovators in the category, so embracing the latest social media tools is something that’s in line with our company philosophy.

Nick O’Neill, AllFacebook: How many people join your fan page each day?
Bob Kraut, Pizza Hut: We’re seeing thousands of new fans join the page each day. In the last month, we’ve gone from 700,000 fans to 750,000 fans, which makes us the largest restaurant fan page on Facebook.

Nick O’Neill, AllFacebook: What promotional methods is Pizza Hut using for attracting new users to the fan page?
Bob Kraut, Pizza Hut: We’re currently running a “Passport to Italy Sweepstakes” through our Facebook page to celebrate the launch of our new Tuscani Lasagna. Anyone who becomes a fan of the Pizza Hut page on Facebook before March 7 is eligible to win. In 2008, we awarded $50 gift cards to Pizza Hut friends on Facebook on a weekly basis. We have more promotions scheduled throughout 2009 that are in development.

Nick O’Neill, AllFacebook: How much time does Pizza Hut invest in their Facebook fan page?
Bob Kraut, Pizza Hut: We invested significant time when we launched the site and when we created our latest sweepstakes, but on an ongoing basis, we’re looking to our customers to provide photos, videos and other content that will make the page a dynamic place, allowing us to check-in and see what our fans are sharing and discussing.

Nick O’Neill, AllFacebook: What information does Pizza Hut collect from the Facebook fan page and what does it do with that information?
Bob Kraut, Pizza Hut: We use the database of friends we have to send out promotional announcements and news about new products through Facebook. While we’re interested to see who our friends are and where they’re coming from, we’re not using their personal information outside of Facebook in any way.

Nick O’Neill, AllFacebook: What has been the biggest challenge for Pizza Hut on Facebook?
Bob Kraut, Pizza Hut: We want to strike a fine balance between communicating with our fans and giving them meaningful offers, without overcommunicating to them and becoming a nuisance. Finding that balance is always a challenge, but we think we deliver content to our fans through Facebook that is meaningful without being intrusive.

Nick O’Neill, AllFacebook: Does Pizza Hut also have a Facebook application? Why or why not?
Bob Kraut, Pizza Hut: Yes. In October we launched Pizza Hut Interface, which allows Facebook users to order their Pizza Hut favorites without ever leaving Facebook. We were the first national pizza chain to offer this method of ordering.

Nick O’Neill, AllFacebook: How has Facebook performed in comparison to other web-based promotional channels?
Bob Kraut, Pizza Hut: To have a live measurement of the number of fans we have interacting with our brand and the ability to create an ordering application within the site makes Facebook an extremely effective online channel for us. We’re very pleased with the results we’ve seen so far.

Nick O’Neill, AllFacebook: What would help improve your company’s experience with Facebook pages?
Bob Kraut, Pizza Hut: We want people to see our Facebook page not as something they become a fan of and then forget about, but a place they come back to on a regular basis for the latest news and deals from Pizza Hut. If we can continue to add features that will drive that level of interaction from our fans, our overall experience will improve.

Nick O’Neill, AllFacebook: Who are the people that are working on the Facebook page?
Bob Kraut, Pizza Hut: Pizza Hut’s digital team is lead by Bob Kraut, VP Marketing Communications; Bernard Acoca, Senior Director of Digital Marketing; and Tressie Lieberman Digital Marketing Manager with support from our digital agency, IMC2.

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