Industry News | October 9, 2013

Papa John’s Houston Chain Gets Hip with SocialCompass

Many restaurant owners use Twitter to gain followers and tweet their daily specials, but HipLogiq claims that may not be enough. The marketing technology company’s SocialCompass program helps restaurateurs find and engage new customers on Twitter in real-time, right as they’re about to decide where to eat or have a drink.

“Imagine the power of knowing exactly what a potential customer is looking for the moment he or she is looking for it,” says Adam Root, CTO and co-founder of HipLogiq.

Papa John’s is one example of a quick serve that understands that power. With a 52 percent conversion rate, its Houston chain uses SocialCompass to find local, geographically-targeted tweets about “love pizza,” “want breadsticks,” and “ordering pizza,” among other key words. When found, the tweets are flagged so the company can respond with a discounted offer or free gift to encourage new business.

“A lot of restaurants, be it national chains or local eateries, use direct marketing and ads in clipping magazines,” says HipLogiq CEO and co-founder Bernard Perrine. “But at best, restaurants get a 1 to 2 percent success rate on average for that investment. Papa John’s celebrates a 52 percent success with SocialCompass.”

Papa John's searches Twitter for local people who are about to buy pizza and uses SocialCompass to send an offer and remind them that Papa John's is a good option, says director of communications Bill Robinett. For example, the pizza chain might find a tweet from a mom about to go to the symphony and needs to get her kids and the babysitter fed. Papa John's can respond with a coupon.

"What's so appealing about SocialCompass is the opportunity to target a completely different kind of market than we hit with mass advertising or direct mail," says Robinett. "There is no way to mass market to just the right customer at just the time they are about to order pizza. SocialCompass lets us talk to customers one-on-one instead of one in a million."

Restaurants in a destination city may have even more reason to tune in to Twitter. Statistics suggest 85 percent of travelers use their smartphones while traveling, and searching for a restaurant is one of the top five uses. “Why not listen, engage, and entice those travelers with a discount to try you out?” asks Root.

SocialCompass’ patented Engagement Engine searches Twitter and looks for relevant tweets based on a restaurant’s keywords and location. When SocialCompass finds a relevant tweet, it’s flagged on a dashboard so the restaurant or their advertising agency can respond in real time with an offer to turn a potential prospect into a customer. This is called a location-based conversation (LBC). Every time a user engages with a LBC, such as responding to a tweet or flagging a tweet as not relevant, SocialCompass gets smarter. Over time, SocialCompass can predict which incoming tweets will be more important to the user. The conversion rate averages 25 percent, but some HipLogiq clients have found rates as high as 85 percent. Beyond the single sale, individual customers who receive an original offer also receive an incentive two days later to share with their friends, potentially creating even more sales for that restaurant.


HipLogiq also offers a sister software, SocialCentiv. The web-based, do-it-yourself version works basically the same way but without some of the more detailed features.

“Restaurant owners tend to focus on tweeting to their followers, but that’s the social media equivalent of preaching to the choir,” says Perrine. “SocialCompass will help restaurateurs expand their markets to find new customers—and after all, that’s how you grow a business.”

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