Erin Hogg

Social Media: Mellow Mushroom’s tips for engaging Facebook followers

March 6th, 2015

Two things come to mind for me when I think of the word social:

  1. Social media
  2. Pizza

Social media for brands is all about developing a thriving online community of fans and followers that engage with your content and (hopefully) become brand ambassadors. To do this, your content must have that “engage-ability” factor: what will make your content or social presence something that your audience will want to share and interact with?

Pizza is also something that we socially consume. Arguably, sometimes we don’t share it, but overall, when you have friends over or you don’t feel like cooking for your family, pizza is always a solid option. Social gatherings call for pizza.

In a way, you could say that pizza and social media go hand in hand — they definitely do for Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers.

I recently had a chance to chat with Steven Sams, Digital Content Manager, Dusty Griffin, Senior Graphic Designer and Robert Pierce, Social Media Manager, all of Mellow Mushroom, for a MarketingSherpa case study about their work with the brand’s email marketing efforts.

We had so much to talk about that I even asked the team for a second interview to discuss the brand’s social media efforts. Why? Mellow Mushroom has truly found a way to speak its audience’s language and cater to that via social media.

Even if you’re not a pizza restaurant, there are still great lessons to be learned from Mellow Mushroom’s efforts. Read on for those, as well as the team’s top tips for interacting with an audience on Facebook.


Facebook for Mellow Mushroom

Steven explained that for Mellow Mushroom, Facebook is the main social media channel. With more than 172,000 followers on the platform, average posts will reach up to 2,000 people — sometimes up to 46,000.

Mellow Mushroom has several elements of its Facebook strategy that the team lives by:


Frequency and timing

First, frequency is key. At the corporate level, the team aims to post twice a day. This was upped from once a day because of recent Facebook algorithm changes causing lower performance in posts.

“We’re trying out some different things with our frequency because not many people are seeing them in their News Feed based on the algorithm. We thought we should post a little bit more,” Steven explained.

Next, the time of day the team is posting is also important. If they are posting something food-related right before lunch or dinner time, they will entice followers to stop by Mellow Mushroom for their next meal.

mellow 1


However, a busy time on Facebook is later in the evening, between 8 and 10 p.m., and the brand will post more quirky content. This content isn’t aimed at driving people to a restaurant to eat, but rather, to simply engage and entertain their base.

mellow 2


Use unique images

As Steven explained, Mellow Mushroom loves images in social and has an art department to design unique and creative pieces for marketing. Steven, Dusty and Robert Pierce, Social Media Manager, get together and brainstorm how they will engage the Mellow Mushroom audience on a daily basis.

“One of the things we thought about is we want to get stuff that, if we’re asking to submit a photograph or something from their phones [to win a prize], we try to think, ‘what do they already have on their phone that they don’t have to go out and do? Or what’s something they could take right there and then?'” Steven said.

This could be a picture of someone’s best friend, a selfie (or an ussie — a selfie plus one), a pet or anything else the team thinks people will easily and readily have access to.

Sometimes, these requests for images from the fans and followers are even quirkier. Recently, Mellow Mushroom asked Facebook followers to post the backs of their heads for a chance to win a calendar.

mellow 3


While images can spice up a brand’s timeline and user-generated content, like the informal image contests Mellow Mushroom conducts, while being a great way to engage an audience, text-based posts are still important.

“Facebook really seems to be ranking images lower in their algorithm than they used to. So we’re definitely having to mix it up and put text-only posts as well, a lot more than we used to. We used to just consistently always do a photo. But now we do both,” he said.



Having a call-to-action in each Facebook post is a basic marketing principle the team at Mellow Mushroom is careful to follow.

“We always make sure we have some call-to-action or verb or something we want our guests to do because really engagement is our thing that we’re trying to get from our guests when we’re posting to social media,” Steven said.

For example, some calls-to-action in posts include:

  • Read our lifestyle magazine Mellow Life
  • Join our eClub to see what you’re missing
  • Post a pic of your favorite Mellow pets (but don’t feed them pizza)
  • Follow the Bake Bus, dude!

When a brand only informs its social audience about products, there really is no two-way conversation. Give customers something to do — a way to interact with each post.

“I think engagement really shows that interactions indicate they’re really learning what you are trying to express or that they’re on the same vibe as you,” he said.


Post length

Steven also explained that brands should not be posting all of the details of content in one post.

You have just a few seconds to catch a reader’s attention, if you’re lucky, and Steven shared that Mellow Mushroom’s posts are kept at one sentence long and only extend to two if it’s absolutely necessary.

“We really try to get that call-to-action in the first sentence and maybe it make it the first word if we can,” Steven said.
Top takeaways

Not every marketing team is lucky enough to have such an easy product to get their audience excited over. How can you foster engagement and a large group of followers if you’re in a B2B? Sell toilet paper? Here’s what Steven had to say:

You have to find something about it that’s going to appeal to people. I have a friend who works in waste management, and she finds a way to make that appealing as she focuses on things like recycling and sustainability. There’s always an angle of a particular industry that will get guests to engage with you on social media.

Even “unexciting” brands are there for a reason; they are satisfying some market need. Find an angle to interact with your audience’s lives.

For example, we heard from Wharton Business School Professor Jonah Berger, who also wrote the best-seller Contagious: Why Things Catch On, at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015. He discussed how one company took a boring product — blenders — and created viral content that made the brand a household name.

The “Will it blend?” campaign includes videos in which Blendtec attempts to see what the blender can blend, from iPhones to crowbars.


When thinking about ways to better engage with an audience throughout the entire customer experience, Steven had this advice:

It all interacts: your print collateral, your email marketing, social media, your press releases. It’s where you have to work to get things to be timely, accurate and relevant for people, and then at Mellow Mushroom, we throw in rich and engaging as well,” he said.


You can follow Erin Hogg, Reporter, MECLABS Institute, on Twitter at @HoggErin.


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Categories: Social Media Tags: , , , , ,

  1. March 6th, 2015 at 14:07 | #1

    There is such a wealth of information in this blog post. I feel like I could read it over and over and still find something new to utilize. Thank you, Erin!

  2. Erin
    March 10th, 2015 at 21:32 | #2

    Melissa, your comment made my day! I’m so happy you enjoyed my post! The marketers at Mellow Mushroom are a super creative and down-to-earth group, and I’m so glad you also found their insights valuable. I sure did, too!

    Thank you again for reading 🙂


  3. Phil
    March 26th, 2015 at 05:01 | #3

    Very cool stuff and some great advice in here – thanks!

  4. Stephany
    April 21st, 2015 at 04:19 | #4

    Very creative way of thinking, thanks. I need some advice on this, what do you think about reaching new social media followers via email marketing? I have a good base of emails but not sure how to redirect them on my funpage. I’d appreciate anything you might have to say.

  5. Kayla Cobb
    Kayla Cobb
    April 22nd, 2015 at 10:38 | #5

    Hey Stephany,

    Good question! A good way to connect your email list to your social media presence is to include links to your social media account at the bottom of your email sends. That’s a strategy we use for our MarketingSherpa newsletter sends.

    Another strategy is to ask your subscribers to follow you on social media, but be sure to only use this approach every once in a while. Asking subscribers too often can come across as too self-promotional. This Inc. article has excellent advice on how to increase your social media following.

    I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions, and thanks for reading.


  6. Stephany
    April 23rd, 2015 at 03:02 | #6

    Kayla, thanks for quick reply. Like Inc. article very much – you can never repeat the basics too often 🙂 will put social media buttons in my newsletter templates

  7. Kayla Cobb
    Kayla Cobb
    April 23rd, 2015 at 13:21 | #7


    I’m glad I could help! Please let me know if you have any other questions. 🙂

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