Pride Stores Excels at Social Media


Pride Stores LLC, headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts, put an extra emphasis on its online presence by hiring a social media manager. After almost two years, Chris Szarek has grown the company’s digital profile by strategically using Google business tools, Facebook and more.

He closely monitors and responds to the company’s Google reviews using Google business tools. He uses the tools found by claiming the business at

“We get a handful of reviews a week for our 30 stores and two truckstops,” Szarek said. He explained that the reviews range from one to five stars and responding to both good and bad reviews help with their search engine optimization (SEO) rankings. “Transparency and interaction with your audience boosts your SEO with Google. It shows that you are an engaged business and that you care about your customers. Google likes that and rewards you with a higher SEO ranking,” he explained.

While they’d, of course, prefer to receive all five stars, he said responding to the lower star ratings has had positive results. “A lot of people just want to know that they are being heard,” he shared.

NATSO’s Vice President, Membership Darren Schulte, said, “Pride is doing an exceptional job with social media, particularly with Google. They were one of only a few truckstop members that have responded to my Google review.”

Szarek has also had good luck experimenting with ads using Google AdWords. “We have a $500 monthly limit. When I came on, we were running five or six different ads. We’ve spent a lot of care to craft the ads to bring in business,” he said.

In addition to having a big presence on Google, Pride Stores is thoughtful with its Facebook page. “When I started, there were 12 different pages, but we shut down the other ones so we could build up the one main page for Pride. You can’t monitor that many different pages,” Szarek said, adding that he includes a lot of pictures and videos of the company’s food offerings. “We do a lot of videos and go live frequently.”

Pride Stores also has Instagram and Twitter profiles, where they make sure to tailor the content to the audience.

Amy Toner's photo

Amy Toner

Toner markets NATSO products, services and meetings. She is the content editor of NATSO's core websites, Stop Watch magazine and Highway Business Matters biweekly articles. In addition, she provides creative services across all departments. Toner joined NATSO in 2006. Prior to joining the association, she served as director of membership services at an association for ambulatory surgery centers. Toner lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and son. More
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