Social Spotlight Series: @blazepizza

There are lots of Instagram profiles. Few stand out.

Welcome back to the eighth installment of our Social Spotlight Series! We’ve decided to start highlighting accounts that stand out in our feeds so we can share insights about what makes them successful. Our Social Spotlights focus on Instagram pages that have valuable lessons for marketers, entrepreneurs, influencers, and anyone else who wants to optimize their Instagram.

 

There are countless pizza chains in the country, and Blaze Pizza certainly benefits from the popularity of celebrity co-owner LeBron James. Its Instagram page is a mouthwatering collection of — you guessed it — pizza pics. At the same time, this brand is a bit more nuanced than the heavyweight competitors of Domino’s, Little Caesar’s, etc. We see some unique content that ties into a strong sense of philanthropy and personal health — but we also see some opportunity for Blaze Pizza to optimize their brand. Let’s take a look.

 

​Featured Profile Overview

Blaze Pizza’s Instagram page is part community engagement, part #foodporn, and part behind-the-scenes content. It’s a good mix, although their feed does get a bit repetitive over time. The occasional videos with Chef Brad and “pizza postcards” from various cities are a welcome relief from the monotony of pizza photos, which do start to look “samey” no matter how delicious. 

 

Followers apparently come to the page looking for discount codes and pizza specials, which is definitely not a bad thing. And recent posts have made better use of both UGC (user generated content) and video content, so page engagement seems to be rising. It helps that the brand has refined its tone into a sassy blend of fiery challenges and groan-worthy puns. It works for Blaze’s irreverent brand and DIY attitude. 

 

The page also taps into social media holidays such as #EatOutsideDay and #NationalChickenMonth, as well as popular events such as sports games and awards shows. Overall, the message is clear: you need pizza today, and our pizza is the best.

 

Blaze Pizza leverages its Story Highlights very well, using them to promote their DIY Pizza Kits (which ties into the Chef Brad content in the main feed) and Keto-friendly crust. The Highlights also offer goodies such as Blaze GIFs, including some that feature LeBron James. Overall, there are a lot of fun things hidden in the page — but you’ll have to dig through endless pizza pix to find them!

 

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What We Think Is Working

As we see with many of the top brands on Instagram, Blaze Pizza has perfected its bio. The copy is concise and engaging, and it ties very well into the Story Highlights that frame all the brand’s core values: causes, DIY, keto, sports, and fun. The bio reads, “Fresh dough. Healthful, artisanal ingredients on an assembly line. Inventive to classic. You decide.” We find this copy highly effective because it places the consumer as the hero about to embark on their pizza journey.

 

This is a textbook example of StoryBrand, which we’re big fans of here at goodwin. Rather than talking up the brand, the bio keeps the focus on the customer. It lets them decide: which healthy artisanal ingredients do they want? Do they want a pizza that’s “inventive” or just a classic slice of pepperoni? 

 

Blaze’s brand voice is also very distinctive. They’re somewhere between sales-y and conversational. They talk to their followers as though they’re friends, using casual language and questions that invite comments, yet they also have a confident tone and sassy attitude. Blaze has positioned itself as its followers’ go-to pizza joint, and we can see that reflected in the comments. 

 

Finally, we appreciate how vocal Blaze Pizza is about its causes — of which it has many! From giving free pizza to first responders and healthcare workers to offering keto- and vegan-friendly options to acknowledging Juneteenth and #BlackLivesMatter, Blaze is very clearly passionate about its corporate responsibility. Unlike other big food accounts that only post when it’s trendy, sustainability and social justice are essential to the Blaze brand.

 

What We Like (And What Could Be Done Better)

We love how Blaze’s Story Highlights emphasize their differentiators. They’re organized by benefits rather than the type of content, e.g. their Keto-friendly crust, DIY pizza kits, and two key causes (RED, which supports HIV/AIDS research, and Earth Day). This is a great way to both introduce new people to the brand and reward loyal followers.

 

We also really enjoy the user-generated content and influencer posts. The original creator is always tagged in the post, yet the caption still keeps the emphasis on the follower. It’s a great way to build a sense of community, and these posts tend to get lots of comments and likes. 

 

However, we do think that Blaze could diversify their content a bit more. Up until recently, they had very few videos, carousel posts, or stylized graphics, so their feed was an endless grid of pizza photos. To their credit, the photos do illustrate their variety of pizzas, as well as their signature toppings such as the Blaze Chicken and pesto sauce. We liked the postcard campaign and the photos that include people along with their pizzas. We always recommend emphasizing the human element in social content! 

 

Their recent posts have been a bit more varied. We see more UGC and influencer posts, along with some great video content. They are still posting pizza photos, but they are mostly user-submitted photos and they are well lit and staged.

 

Still, we feel that something’s missing. Blaze has a distinctive voice and a bit of a cult following, yet they’re not leveraging all their brand has to offer. Their campaigns include worthy causes and intriguing models (e.g. DIY pizza), yet the path to action is not clear. Their Instagram feels a bit random, as though they’re trying new things yet ultimately falling back to yet more pizza pix.

 

As an example, their bio link directs to their homepage. Their website isn’t terrible, but as a rule of thumb, sending Insta traffic to a generic page will lose some conversions. When you first arrive on their site, the main call-to-action is to buy a gift card. We don’t think this follows from most of the content on their Instagram. What about the people who want to try a DIY Pizza Kit? Or who want to find a Blaze location near them? 

 

The website itself also has some problems. It has a small font size, its images are stylized and generic, and there isn’t much to do besides buying gift cards or order delivery/curbside pickup. It feels very disconnected from the content that works so well for them on Instagram. There’s no Chef Brad, no Keto diet, no Earth Day — there isn’t even anything about LeBron James!

 

Analytics / Insights

Despite Blaze Pizza’s efforts to blend promotional posts with user-generated content, the page has overall low engagement. We do see an upward trend, but we think that a bit more variety would benefit them. Linking their main campaigns among their feed content, stories, and the website would solidify their brand values and attract more customers.

 

The biggest problem is that their website is quite disengaged from their top-performing content. The Instagram page is already light on human-oriented content, and this is completely absent on the website. That sassy attitude and do-good feeling are nowhere to be found. The website seems like an afterthought. Also, there is no exit popup on the site, which makes abandonment quite likely! 

 

The funnels are also quite unrefined. We see a lot of comments on the Instagram posts asking about various locations, and no wonder: when you visit the website from Insta, it’s difficult to find a location to get the amazing pizzas you just saw. Another example: the amazing DIY pizza kit stories with Chef Brad have no counterpart on the website. The Instagram page gets its audience all fired up, then basically leaves it up to them to figure out how to enjoy Blaze Pizza. We’d love to see better conversion optimization and clear links among the various content and purchase points.

 

Key Takeaways

Blaze Pizza definitely has a distinctive and entertaining brand. It’s unique compared to other pizza chains, and its fans clearly love it. Unfortunately, we don’t see a lot of opportunity to (a) convert visitors from social or (b) attract new customers. There’s a heavy emphasis on insider knowledge and FOMO, yet Blaze’s digital presence isn’t leveraging that to drive more sales. 

 

In fact, the lack of digital clarity complicates their simple brand mission. When we leave Insta for their website, we go from “pizza is art, pizza is community” to generic marketing and order delivery. Even within Insta, we have to hunt for those moments of true brand connection. They’re buried within an endless feed of nearly 1,500 pizza photos. We’d love to see more human-oriented content and different post formats. 

 

Overall, Blaze Pizza needs to spend some time refining their social content and campaigns, but they do have some compelling hero copy, a passionate community, and several heartfelt causes. We think that with a few tweaks, Blaze Pizza could elevate its brand to fiery new levels.

 

Tune in next week to see our ninth installment of the Social Spotlight Series. Join our mailing list to get Goodwin knowledge and insights like this delivered straight to your inbox!

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