Video: How Olive Garden made their social media presence about their customers — not marketing

For a lot of people, social media is a direct line to a company’s customer service. But what happens when that company uses social media as just another place to advertise? According to Justin Sikora, Olive Garden’s Director of Brand Building and Public Relations, that promotion-focused strategy was leaving their customers ignored and upset.

To turn it around, he says they stopped thinking about how social media could benefit the company and started thinking about how it could benefit the customer. But that strategy shift didn’t come overnight.

In his presentation at’s Member Meeting, Justin shares the five steps they took to create a new social media plan of action that earned back upset customers, raving fans, and brand advocates.

He also explains:

  • Why they use photos from their test kitchen and local restaurants instead of ad images
  • How they earned a blogger advocate through gluten education
  • Why the social team moved their office location to the center of the finance department

Watch the full case study in the video below.

Darden: Social at Olive Garden, presented by Justin Sikora from on Vimeo.

Download Justin’s slides here.

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