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The Transition to Being a Social Friendly Brand: Tasti D-Lite Tells All

I witnessed a compelling presentation from BJ Emerson, Social Technology Officer at Tasti D-Lite at today’s BDI Conference. The conference was dubbed “Mobile Social Communications” and BJ’s Case Study presentation was called “Using Social Technology to Reward Brand Loyalty.”

While far from purely focused on mobile, BJ recounted the path of his organization from analog entity to social media poster child, sharing a number of great insights along the way.

  1. Avoid Social Negligence: BJ explained that one of their first (successful) steps in the social space was to identify/locate existing brand advocates, connect with them and turn them into energized ambassadors. Engage with them directly and/or send them some freebies. This is a great way to get started.

  2. Leverage Search Engines: Cross-link between multiple channels (Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, etc.) for maximized search engine visibility in order to achieve the largest number of potential customer interactions.

  3. Use Targeted Twitter Searches: BJ told a great story about how he searched for “Empire State Building” within Twitter when they wanted to promote Tasti’s new ESB location. He hit the mother lode by identifying an ESB-dwelling blogger. Then, rewarded him with coupons and followed up with a delivery of physical goods to his office. This key influencer became a great ambassador/mouthpiece for the brand.

  4. Integrate Your Efforts: Tasti’s efforts peaked when they replaced their old-school loyalty punch cards with electronic smart cards that feed a master CRM database and even integrate directly with Twitter, automatically informing followers when you’ve made a purchase at Tasti.

  5. Foursquare Connections: Tasti D-Lite has effectively used Foursquare’s “Specials Nearby” engine to drive store traffic and spike sales.

Some of BJ’s final takeways included: “invest in relationships, “think long term,” “trust your customers.” From the mundane to the sublime, this set of actions has helped dramatically impact Tasti D-Lite’s growth. According their CMO, Bill Zinke, 90% of all of their marketing is now digital/social vs. 10% “traditional.”