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Restaurant Social Media Index: Ramon De Leon, Domino's franchisee

Restaurant Social Media Index: Ramon De Leon, Domino's franchisee

A Q&A with the marketing mind at a Domino’s Pizza franchisee

Ramon De Leon started with Domino’s Pizza in Chicago in 1986 as a delivery driver, but has since become widely known for his social media prowess.

De Leon is the marketing mind behind a six-unit Domino’s franchise group in Chicago, and he speaks frequently on how businesses can use social media effectively.

De Leon, who has more than 11,000 followers on Twitter under the handle @Ramon_DeLeon, was named “Chicago Social Media Person of the Year” in June by the Chicago Social Media Marketing Group.

He took time out of his busy Tweeting schedule to speak with Nation’s Restaurant News.

What advantages has social media given you and your restaurants?

Social media has given me a competitive edge that allows me to stay ahead of the pack.

What mistakes are you seeing?

Any brand competitor that enters the game now outsources too much. They aren’t doing it themselves, so it lacks authenticity. Someone that has already been doing it has a voice for customers. Fans of the brand want the brand to hug them back, and when it gets outsourced it’s not exactly like a robot answering them back, but there’s no love in the message.

See a pizza giveaway De Leon organized in Chicago; story continues on next page

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What makes that apparent?

If someone really has a big problem and you see it sent out on Twitter, you can tell how fast that problem is resolved whether it’s an agency or a whether it’s being handled in house.

How did you get started in social media?

I got started with AOL Instant Messenger. That was my Twitter before Twitter was invented.

What came next?

I started getting involved with students who were on Facebook in 2004 when it came to the Northwestern University campus. It was known as “The Facebook” then. … I could keep track of people’s birthdays, and I would surprise them with instant messaging. When Twitter came out, it was natural.

What’s on the horizon in social media?

I tell people to forget about what’s next. There are so many tools currently out there, just find one or two that will work for you. You can easily get overwhelmed otherwise.

What is your social-media approach?

I’d rather be able to give out content so people can share that content with other people. I like to build relationships.

How about for Twitter?

You have to be authentic and transparent. I look at Twitter as a personal search engine. Using or any of the host of tools that are out there for searches. You find things you are interested in and you start engaging. It allows it to be a source of information. When you apply that to your business, you get a wealth of information. I use it to monitor the conversation about Domino’s, where I can see positive and negative sentiments and see who is checking into our stores on location-based services. It’s such a powerful tool for engaging someone in a conversation during the day or even during the food-ordering process.

How about your impact on those consumers?

I can almost lead them in the direction that I want to go. They ask me what to order. You can insert yourself into their conversations. … Forget about people talking bad about your brand; you can find out what they are saying bad about other brands and then jump into the conversation and change their opinion of yours.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected].
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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