It’s Better On Top

Source: graphicmania.net

Source: graphicmania.net

Search engine optimization, known as SEO, is an internet marketing strategy used to affect the ability for a webpage to appear within the top results in a search engine like Google, and others alike. This process or “trick” dives into how exactly these search engines work, what people are regularly searching for, and even the keywords that are typed into the search bar. Obviously, the higher the link is placed toward the top of the page, the more clicks it will most likely receive. Therefore utilizing SEO  is a smart way to help increase online traffic to your website, increase patrons through your doors, and  eventually possibly increase your overall sales profit.

This list cracked me up from a website that focuses on nightlife marketing…

SEO is NOT:

  • Magic
  • A myth
  • A fad
  • Pixie dust
  • Science
  • A magic pill that solves all of your business and sales issues
  • A Harry Potter invisibility cloak

There are many companies out there and an abundance online who will conduct your every SEO task or need, but of course in exchange for money. Yes, it’s better on top of the search engine results, and even greater to be in the top three. Though, marketing and branding a nightclub is pretty important to drive customers through the venue doors, it doesn’t take a wizard or genius to figure out how SEO works. Everyone that searches any word online deals with SEO whether they realize it or not. Anyone, including myself, can type in a word and have at least five different words pop up in the drop-down menu trying to basically finish my sentence.

If nightclub owners don’t want to pay these SEO specific companies to get their business’s website or social media sites top ranked, they may be able to do it for themselves. There are many pages that have walk-through tutorials to help you get to know SEO. With a lot of time and trial-and-error effort, any nightclub or bar owner could become their very own SEO specialist.

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Facebook FOMO

Like I’ve reiterated time and time again, making a presence on social media platforms is key to branding businesses and reaching out to potential customers. Utilizing multiple accounts can sometimes be confusing or seem like too much; however, it’s all about understanding who your audience is and how to cater to their interests using the websites that they enjoy most. Two of the most popular social media sites are none other than Facebook and Twitter.

Source: Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, February 2013

Source: Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, February 2013

As seen above in this bar graph, Facebook holds down the first place position, Twitter ranking just slightly behind in second place. Each one of the social media platforms presented in this 2013 graph are further divided into four bars expressing certain age groups. The two bars with the largest percentage, in both Facebook and Twitter, are users of 18 to 29 years of age. We all know that the legal drinking age is 21 across the United States, so a pretty good amount of users within the highest ranked age group for these two platforms are allowed to drink. If they aren’t old enough to drink, they can at the very least still go to a nightclub because they are 18.

Nightclub owners can easily find and put this information to use to promote and brand their establishment, or even specific events and specials being held for a limited time. I’ve previously elaborated on how Twitter has been used to its full potential by a bar in the town where I currently reside. It’s such a simplistic and quick networking device to connect with customers. But, what about good ol’ Facebook? Should nightclub owners make a presence on there if they already have other social media accounts up and running?

…hmm. How could we forget about Mark Zuckerberg’s greatest idea? Or stolen… idea…? Eh, whatever.

Using the specific age group statistics from above, nightlife establishments could focus on using Facebook’s numerous attributes rather than sticking to only Twitter, per say.  Wishpond gives five steps for bars and nightclubs to better market themselves and their businesses through Facebook.

  1. Target Your Audience.
  2. Share Photos.
  3. Promote Events.
  4. Create Buzz.
  5. Build Fans.

These five steps may seem rather obvious to some of you, but they are so incredibly important. Any social media site is going to of course get your name better known and build your brand. Though, going the extra mile by using fun-filled visuals to promote your events and create a positive buzz is essential. Personally, I love seeing pictures and videos with confetti, people smiling and dancing, along with so many fun-colored lasers that it looks like a Crayola box just exploded. Visuals like that make me want to just jump into them because they seem like so much fun. Using visuals like the type I just described probably have a much better shot at getting customers through the club doors than some boring picture of people sitting in a booth drinking. What’s the fun in that? Anyone can sit and drink on their couch instead of going out spending money. Presenting those potential customers with numerous, hyped visuals on Facebook makes it harder and harder for them to resist, possibly even creating some FOMO.

cursivecontent.com

cursivecontent.com

Get Bent Through Instagram

Alright, so I’ve chosen to write just one more short post on a Morgantown bar and the way they utilize their social media platforms. Mentioned on the map incorporated in one of my previous posts, Bent Willey’s is the other 21+ night club to visit on the weekends, and the new poppin’ spot on Wednesdays for the 18+ party animals. Just like most of the other bars, every night of the week is a different special and they use three social media platforms to promote these specials and themed nights: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Willey’s Twitter and Instagram accounts are used daily, where as Facebook kind of has fallen of the radar for them, but that’s alright. It seems to me that Facebook just isn’t the right tool anymore in this college town, tweeting is much easier and/or quicker, of course keeps our attention a lot better, and forces us to be rather witty at times, considering the 140 character count. Anyways, Bent Willey’s Twitter handle utilizes that small amount of space to let all of their followers know if there are deals that night, what DJs will be spinning, and they always seem to throw a little optimism in on the rainy days.

Photo Oct 17, 10 04 55 AM

They do an awesome job of keeping on top of things, usually tweeting every few hours daily. Though, their Instagram account, in my opinion, is put to use somewhat better than Twitter. I’m a visual learner and love artsy things, so for all you right-brained Mountaineers like myself, you may like to follow them on Instagram to get the daily scoop.

Photo Oct 17, 10 06 07 AM

Whoever in management runs this handle uploads all graphically-designed flyers for specific events, and even chooses to upload short videos taken during the actual event–kind of like a “live” feed. This is a great way to incorporate video, and when potential customers are sitting on their couches scanning through their feeds, they may see just how many people are there having a blast and decide to get off their butts and join in on the fun. This is a very strategic way to get customers through the door and I’m wondering why more nightclubs in town haven’t jumped on to this yet.

“I spent last night at Joe Mama’s” …no, but really.

To continue my brief Morgantown social media theme, I wanted to fill you in on some of these awesome specials we have and who I think uses social media the best. If I had to choose out of the locations placed on the map I compiled in my last post, I would 100% choose the infamous Joe Mama’s formerly known to older students as De Lazy Lizard. Besides the amazing, comical play on words used for the name of the bar and the funny captioned shirts they make the bouncers wear, they utilize social media better than I’ve ever seen anyone else do in this town.

Joe Mama’s has a Facebook, but it has a very small amount of content for customers to read and get informed by. They also have a Twitter handle, which is utilized daily. Even though only one platform out of the two is primarily active, sometimes less is more.

Personally, I think Thursday nights are by far the best at this nightclub. The line on these particular nights can get pretty intense sometimes, but it makes absolute sense when you think about it. Who wouldn’t love a draft beer special from 9:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m., $3 bombs from 11-1, mixed drink specials from 12-1, and ladies having free admission until midnight? Oh! I also completely failed to mention that they give out FREE food–score!

Naturally, there are other bars in town that have specials just as great as these, but I believe there is a very important reason why people go to Joe Mama’s: communication. Whoever is behind their Twitter handle has it all figured out, and does a rather amazing job at interacting with everyone of their followers. The Joe Mama’s handle is active daily and constantly favorites, retweets, and even replies to people. I’m sure a lot of people feel the same, but I’d be lying if I didn’t get an extremely miniscule boost in ego or excitement level when I get retweeted or responded to. Engaging customers makes them feel more comfortable and somewhat like a close friend, in turn, making Joe Mama’s bar more appealing and have a better reputation.

I mentioned my favorite night to party with Joe Mama, but my all-time favorite Twitter activity they have is the “RT for a chance to win..” Even though I’ve never won, it’s still such a thrill to see how excited people get. There is no set weekly schedule for this RT-competition, but when it does happen, two 50 dollar bar tabs are normally given out. Yes I said 50 DOLLAR BAR TAB. Those four words are comparable to a gift from the heavens when it comes to us Mountaineers. Do you know how much beer can be bought with that?

After a game Joe Mama's was feeling generous!

After a game, Joe Mama’s was feeling generous!

“We’ve given out four [tabs] in one night before.” – Joe Mama’s employee.

The most retweets this activity has ever received was 466, which is quite a large number for any establishment that isn’t a national chain, or for any person who isn’t a well-known celebrity.

They also respectfully engage in friendly conversation with the other local bars.

They also respectfully engage in friendly conversation with the other local bars.

They even help customers retrieve lost items!

They even help customers retrieve lost items!

The person behind this handle is obviously making a positive impact. Props to whoever you are, keep it up!

Morgantown Social Media: Intro

Today I’m going to break away from talking about bars and nightlife in the larger, well-known cities like New York and Miami for a brief period. I want to narrow my focus down to a more local standpoint and tell you a little about my favorite college town–good ol’ Morgantown, WV. Playboy just recently dubbed West Virginia University as the #1 Party School in the U.S., yet again. This wasn’t a surprise to most of us, but us Mountaineers still get pretty darn excited about it. I may be a tad biased, but we’re kind of a big deal.

wvu

Taken from CNN.com

Okay, enough about that. Had to gloat for a second.

One of the factors that helps us get placed at the top of the charts is our crazy bar scene. We have several bars within just a few blocks right downtown which makes it very convenient to go out and grab a drink any night of the week–perhaps too convenient at times. Saving a buck is very important thing for any broke college student, especially one who’d like to spend their miniscule amount of money on beer rather than groceries. Practically every bar here has irresistible deals catered to each different night of the week. In this town we normally kick off the weekend on Thursday instead of Friday like normal people, and there are a few places that help us to do so.

Like I’ve reiterated time and time again, utilizing interactive platforms and social media are key elements to the success of any business and helps to drive customers through the doors. Majority of Morgantown bars have, at the very least, one type of social media presence, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or sometimes all three.

Below is a map I put together showing the popular 21+ bars and their social media presence. I chose to pinpoint Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram separately for each establishment.

KEY:

Green Pin: Twitter        Blue Pin: Facebook      Red Pin: Instagram

Top 10 Google Glass “Pre-Bans”

Today I’ve decided that I wasn’t quite finished Tripping On Glassid, and would like to expand a little further on the controversies of Google Glass. Just to have a quick recap, the main issue with this technological advancement is whether or not the wearers of these glasses will, at times, infringe on people’s privacy. Another issue is whether or not the Glass-wearers will be safe, seeing as how basically having a computer on your face could potentially be somewhat distracting to some users.

One restaurant in Seattle has already banned the glasses before they even hit shelves for people to purchase. Though a bar is typically a setting for people to be seen, take pictures and associate with strangers, Google Glass seems to have already overstepped their boundaries, in The 5 Point owner’s eyes, and are not welcome.

A Google spokesperson responds: “It is still very early days for Glass, and we expect that as with other new technologies, such as cell phones, behaviors and social norms will develop over time.”

Hilarious picture taken from rockdoc.com

Hilarious picture taken from rockdoc.com

Maybe that spokesperson is right. Didn’t we find cell phones to be a crazy idea? Now we make fun of the huge, brick-sized cell phones a.k.a. the Zack Morris phone. When they added cameras and integrated video into those mobile devices, weren’t we a tad skeptical? The answer to both of these questions is YES! Though with some time and tinkering with the new gadgets, we’ve grown to love them and accept them as the complete norm. With society as a whole, I feel as if we rarely put them down. They basically have evolved to be part of our hands now–not really, but you catch my drift. So will this happen with Glass? Will we get used to it or will the fad die out after a few months? Nobody can find out until the specs are finally released, but honestly I’m not sure if many people will have the funds to purchase them anyways.

More and more pre-bans are surfacing, the top 10 places being:

10. Banks/ATMs

9. Sports Arenas/Concert Venues

8. Locker Rooms/Dressing Rooms

7. Movie Theaters

6. Cars

5. Hospitals

4. Classrooms

3. Strip Clubs

2. Casinos

1. Bars

Though some of these seem pretty obvious, people may never think to take them off and may record the wrong thing at the wrong time. There is a strong possibility for more places to be added to the ban list in the near future, and I’m sure there will be plenty.

Blog-a-day? Complete fail for this rookie.

This past week we were supposed to blog at least once each day, for all seven days, starting last Monday. I only ended up completing four out of seven posts–epic fail. Coming into this assignment I truly thought it would be easy, and not that time consuming.

It was difficult to balance my time for capstone, the rest of my semester’s class work, studying for exams, and my job. Finding the time to stop and write something actually worth reading seemed to be mind-boggling every time I sat down to write. Most of my problem was getting carried away with my schedule for each day and forgetting to post in between the prime reading hours of 1-4 p.m.

I clearly got my butt handed to me, learning that being an effective blogger is nothing to take lightly. My professor warned us about how daunting this could be, and even suggested that we take a couple hours on a free night to write two to three posts in advance to save as drafts. If we got busy and couldn’t sit down to write, we would have a few waiting there ready to publish. I definitely should have listened to him–rookie mistake.

FACEPALM.

FACEPALM.

Overall, I honestly think I failed miserably. Though, now after the week is over, I have a newly found respect for “professional” bloggers, especially those who post multiple times every single day. Props to you bloggers out there that I just described, this is so much harder than I thought!

Tripping on Glassid: The Latest Fad

I’m sure we’ve all heard of Google Glass by now, but if you haven’t, it’s basically a computer that can be worn on your face. It has the capability of reflecting projected images while allowing the person to still be able to see through the lenses. You can take photos and short videos with voice commands, along with features like asking for directions and actually seeing the map. On April 4, 2012, the concept of these glasses was introduced  on a Google+ page. Google named the project for research and development of these augmented reality glasses, Project Glass. The video below from the official Google Glass page shows how the eyewear can potentially be utilized.

A few thousand pairs have been set out into the wild by Google, for testing purposes of course. Though they still remain unavailable for people to purchase, these Google Glasses are already creating somewhat of a negative reputation for themselves. It seems as if there are some major concerns being raised about the intrusion of people’s privacy.  Breaching a person’s privacy is a big deal and can cause many issues to arise. Recording people without their permission could easily bring up debate about the use of this device in public, from an ethical standpoint.

In an article, on NY Times’ Bits Blogs, Nick Bilton tells a personal story about his experience at a Google developer conference he recently attended, and how he eventually felt like he was running from the Glass-wearers instead of associating with them.

“My world came screeching to a halt. There they were, a handful of people wearing Google Glass, now standing next to me at their own urinals, peering their head from side to side, blinking or winking, as they relieved themselves.”

Wow. That had to be one of the most uncomfortable things to be involved with. Huge supporters of privacy are also concerned that Glass-wearers will somehow be able to record and broadcast private conversations amongst strangers, and even possibly be able to identify random strangers using facial recognition properties within the eyewear. These privacy scares have already persuaded a few companies post anti-Google Glass signs in their establishments.

Anti-Google Glass sign from stopthecyborgs.org

Anti-Google Glass sign from stopthecyborgs.org

This past March, the 5 Point Cafe, a dive bar and restaurant located in Seattle, was the first business to ban Google Glass in advance. Once these glasses hit the market for sale, they will no longer be allowed in due to the fact that customers go there to not be recognized, which these glasses could obstruct. The bar owner, Dave Meinert, posted a humorous status update on their Facebook page that received over 150 comments of praise and criticism.

“For the record, The 5 Point is the first Seattle business to ban in advance Google Glasses. And ass kickings will be encouraged for violators.”

These augmented-reality glasses are said to possibly be released for sale in 2014, though, I’m not sure if anyone seems to be really positive on that. Regardless, I’m sure there will be more and more businesses like the bar mentioned above who will eventually ban these glasses to protect the privacy rights of their customers. I guess we’ll see!

Promoters: How do we track their progress?

Promoters are a normal element associated with every nightclub or venue, and help to create successful nights, week after week. Each promoter is paid to take the reigns of inviting a certain amount of customers to the club, filling multiple VIP tables for big events, making deals with those important people on bottle service, and so on. But the common question is:

How do the managers of these clubs know if their promoters are actually living up to the set standard?

If the establishment doesn’t have some type of tracking service for their promoters, there is no sure way of telling exactly how many people the promoter reached out to and how well his or her job was done. This is where integrated technology is said to aid in tracking each promoter’s work much more efficiently than simply looking at the point of sales system.

Me on my birthday with my friend Reggie, a promoter for E-Rock in NJ and NY.

Me on my birthday with my friend Reggie, a promoter for E-Rock in NJ and NY.

“Today’s technology can track the referrer of an individual customer, VIP reservation, or guest list party, making it easier to identify who’s bringing in the most traffic.”-Whitney Johnson of Book Bottles.

Book Bottles actually just launched a smartphone app (iOS & Android) for their services this past June. This mobile app was created to track reservation management, customer relationship management, and point of sale. Ah, at last, a solution for this problem with monitoring promoters.

After the promoter has invited each guest through any type of device he or she chooses, the customers within that guest list who show up will be tracked under said promoter’s name. Because of the specific name associated with those certain guests, bar owners or managers will finally be able to discover just how much traffic and money each promoter is bringing through their doors. Knowing exactly how much each promoter is helping or hurting a business is very important, and makes it much easier to make the right decisions regarding how activities are conducted inside establishments.

Klout for Business? Even better.

Yesterday I posted about a social influence service called Klout. Today I will be furthering my discussion on this topic, focusing on the recently added section of this platform, Klout for Business.

“Klout has the largest consumer base of any influence marketing platform. Our business tools empower marketers to identify and engage with millions of top influencers increasing earned media and improving brand lift.”

Like I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Klout can easily be used to make a name for your business. With Klout for Business, Klout developers are making it so much simpler to build your brand that you’ve worked so hard to establish, and keep your social presence booming by making it easier to engage customers. The Klout Perks are still a huge part of the Business section, offering brand trials for top scored Klout users, and making it easier for companies to hold special events and contests.

Through a case study, Klout for Business aimed to increase the conversation of the Chevy Volt by hosting drive-up events, allowing users with a score of 40 or above to loan the vehicle. This one case study had an amazing outcome creating over 95,000 impressions, and even helped to sell 7 Chevy Volts across 6 target cities! With this case study, it is obvious that the Klout for Business platform can be used to drive sales through the roof, especially if used for less expensive merchandise.

CIRQ

In an article by Tim Peterson of AdWeek, he explains in further detail how Klout is becoming one of the most serious marketing platforms, and mentions their possible ideas for the future. What they’re working on is using geofencing locations so that merchants will be notified when Klout mobile app users with a high score walk into their establishment. If the app user accepts, the merchant can then see exactly who the person is and approach them. Klout CEO, Joe Fernandez, said they tested it among a few small restaurants in San Francisco and also during SXSW with Cirque du Soleil where influencers were upgraded seats for performances. It was said to be taken very well.

The testing with Cirque du Soleil opens the doors for all nightlife establishments to use this service. I believe it would drive more users to post on social media sites about their favorite nightclubs, bringing in more money from customers–happy customers.