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.

Uh. What’s a… Klout?

Image

For those of you who have no clue what this is, don’t worry, I honestly had no clue what it was until just a few days ago.

Klout is a website and app service that was launched in 2008 to discover certain patterns of social media influence. Using these social media analytics, this service ranks its users with a “Klout Score” which is a number between 0 and 100. These scores are based off of each user’s influence on other people through social networks. Scores are updated everyday from the interactions you have, including retweets from Twitter, likes on Facebook and Instagram, etc. In the past few years, Klout has even started to partner with different companies, giving out what are called “Klout Perks” to users based on their scores. Some of the perks include free products and discounts from brands  like Microsoft, Sony, Samsung, etc. Pretty cool, huh?

Image

Inside the Playhouse. Taken from LAX-Magazine.

Just last year, Playhouse Nightclub located in Los Angeles was the first club to begin working with Klout to better the experience of their customers. They decided to reward Klout users who have a score of 50 or higher with VIP access. First, the door man checks users’ scores on an iPad and if they meet the requirements, the special treatment begins. Customers are able to cut the entire line, receiving free cover before 11p.m., and 50 percent off afterwards.

This is just another example of how social media is working to change nightlife, allowing regular customers to feel one in the same with the other famous people that frequent the Playhouse every weekend. Klout didn’t catch on with nightclubs as easily as predicted, though I do think they could still revive it. Its services could still be used for promoting by inviting the top-ranked Klout users to certain events held, offering perks for coming. All of the retweets and likes could easily increase traffic through these popular clubs, and possibly even help the smaller establishments make a name for themselves.

It’s crazy to think a single person’s posts have the potential to influence such a large group of people, simply through social networking. In the end, I guess it pays to be yourself!

How can one star change revenue?

In my last post I focused on the question of whether social media can affect a business and its success. Blogging and review sites, like Yelp, can be used by customers to voice their opinions, whether negative or positive. But how can a single person’s opinion posted on just one of the popular review sites affect a business and its revenue?

The answer is yes! No doubt about it.

As stated in an article about a 2011 Harvard Business School study, “A one-star increase on Yelp leads to a 5 to 9 percent increase in revenue.”

STARS

In a post from Review Trackers a study from the University of California suggests, “a half-star improvement in online ratings makes a restaurant 30 to 49 percent more likely to be fully booked during peak dining times.”

It clearly pays to pay attention to your reviews!

Social media has flourished so much in the past few years, along with these review sites. Even though almost 10% may seem like such a miniscule number, and doesn’t seem as if it’d be that big of a deal–it can surely add up with every customer’s input. It is absolutely essential for all bar and restaurant owners to be monitoring customer feedback, whether it be in the form of a review, tweet, or comment on a Facebook page.

Seeing as how probing the the internet can be rather time consuming and taxing, it’s almost impossible to find every single comment or review written about an establishment. To make things a tad more simple, now there are a few free marketing tools to aid these owners and managers in monitoring what customers are saying.

BLOG2BLOG

 

I’m sure there are numerous sites out there that will keep track of any acknowledgments of a business–for a price. Though, Google Alerts and SocialMention* are two FREE tools offered to help that are pretty simple to set up.

Is Social Media Killing Business?

There will always be that voice in the back of my head asking, “Is this ever going to stop? I miss the old days when things were less complicated–less digital.”

Taken from Forbes.com

Taken from Forbes.com

Many blog posts I have come across talk about the many perks of social media and how it’s helping to flourish their business’s reputation and the most important thing, increasing sales.

Though, in a recent update post from Notes On Nightlife: NYC, writer Daniel Bortz goes on quite a rant at the end about how this venue he had visited, that seemed awesome as far as set-up and looks went, but the DJs always sucked, for the most part. Stating: “Can people just not tell that the music is shamefully bad or don’t care?”

I also recently came across an article from BobbyWestMusic titled “How and When to Request a Song from a DJ“. He goes on and on, explaining and listing why it’s so annoying when customers come up to request songs at the worst times possible. He gives some tips for when it’s safe to place a request, as well. Hilarious–because it’s so true.

Picture of a DJ taken from PM Productions.

Picture of a DJ taken from PM Productions.

Yet, I digress.

So here is where social media comes into play for both of these instances. Daniel and Bobby easily posted their blogs, complaining about the establishment’s choice of DJs along with getting annoyed by customers, but do those businesses even care? Or do they brush it off as one bad review on some kid’s blog? Will there be changes made so the DJ won’t be bothered? Probably not.

Yelp is one of the many free apps you can download onto your smartphone to read reviews of restaurants, nightlife, etc. that makes it so simple to fly off the handle and immediatley write a bad review about a place. For example, this very comical post I read from AtNYNightlife is based on a horrible review submitted on Yelp about a rooftop restaurant, and how ridiculous she had written it.

The questions are: Does social media and its many websites help or harm business? When should an establishment actually take a review seriously and make changes? When should they brush it off and think, “That’s only ONE customer’s opinion”? These lines are so blurry.

I’m all about second chances, so here’s my take on these issues.

Management should be searching for reviews of their establishments all the time. They should take notes, and take time to respond to the customers whether they were nice or rude. For the requesting of songs issue, if you have the money to blow, think about making some type of app that only appeals to your nightclub, where the customers could request songs through that instead of having to go up and bug the DJ. That would get customers’ opinions without them having to leave their seats/parties and would add some flavor to your club, as well.

With an app like Yelp, some restaurants and clubs get ripped apart after a customer going once. It would be awesome if these businesses could set up an app just like Yelp or Urbanspoon, that only allows a customer to post a review if they have been there more than once–I’m assuming that could be tracked by receipts or something. Seems silly kind of, but I feel as if it would help save the reputations of a lot of businesses. It’s all about the second chances.

Feeding My Noggin

These are a few blog sites that I have chosen to follow that I “feed my noggin” with to give me inspiration for my blog posts. These help further my opinions on how nightlife is ever-changing and is starting to incorporate social media to help us party animals have better experiences.

The ones I have posted are from the larger nightclub infested cities, but I’m sure I’ll be adding some more, so check back in:

AtNYNightlife is an extension of @NYNightlife on Twitter and gives a rundown on everything happening in NY nightlife.

Discover Los Angeles is a blog created to help party-goers of LA find the best clubs and deals to have fun at, all in one night.

Thomas Nagy great blog site to read exactly how social media can aid so much in branding and success for businesses.

Alex Vojdany from Learned Media is a go-to platform for event planners to help them organize sensational times for their customer’s night out on the town.

Laurie Charles from Miami NewTimes has many blogs concerning the hottest music and promotions going down in Miami, a well-known nightlife town.

Notes on Nightlife-NY is a blog created that gives input on events around NY, and tells her absolute honest opinion.

San Diego Nightlife ranks among the best in the country and this blog gives reviews, advice, and discussions about different areas and places around town.

BarSmash

Taste Your Party lists the hottest venues of the city that never sleeps, NYC. Reviews the latest apps and fads helping to entertain NYC inhabitants.

The FeedBak is a collection of many blogs all focused around nightlife etiquette, rants, reviews, and stories about this crazy nocturnal scene we call nightlife.