Interactive Maps, bro!

I’ve been exploring Athens and the surrounding area as often as time permits since I was a freshman here. A couple summers ago, I rode my bike about 40 miles every day up and down the bike path and discovered some pretty neat things. I found this soul food restaurant called Jana’s (which has since been destroyed), a bunch of abandoned rail cars, an iron bridge that looks like its older than my grandparents, a bar called the Ice House Tavern where you may or may not be able to buy meth but they still let you smoke cigarettes inside, and Larry’s dog house. I also have been lucky enough to always know they people who live at the balcony above Subway and it is definitely my favorite place to people watch. One of the main reasons I decided to attend Ohio University is because of all the outdoor activities you can partake in and a bunch of really unique businesses. I can’t get enough of Athens, and I’m sad that my time here is nigh.

 


Avalanche Pizza

Photo via Avalanche Facebook Page

O.k., so most of the posts that I have done have been on organizations excellent use of social media practices but today I’d like to focus on one that could use a little improvement. I would first like to say that I am in love with Avalanche Pizza, love that they use organic products, have amazing pizzas and boulders and deserve every award they have won. That being said, they could do a lot of things to improve their social presence.

The first problem I see is that there are two different Facebook accounts with the Avalanche name attached to it. One is fan made and the other is the official page, however, the former has more than double the amount of fans of the latter. If you are the owner of a business, you can have competing, unofficial pages shut down; I might suggest this to them.

It’s been almost a month since they have posted anything new to their Facebook page and it looks as if they make about one post a month. This means that unless people that “like” their page are looking for information about Avalanche, the posts probably wont be noticeable on most peoples feeds. Even when they do make posts and people “like” them or comment on them, they don’t generally have anything to say back. They don’t do a very good job of holding the ever important social media conversation.

In their defense, the posts that they do make are about deals of the day, new pizzas and coupons which are all valuable for the business. Just looking at the pictures of the breadsticks, boulders and pizzas on their wall made me super hungry but not enough to order one of the pizzas. Another problem is that there is no link to their Twitter account from their actual Avalanche Pizza website, Facebook page, or the owners Pizza Goon blog.

They actually have the same problem of double-identity on Twitter but it doesn’t seem to really matter in this instance. Their actual Twitter page, @Avalanche_Pizza, only has 67 followers, while the other fake account, has 10 followers; not really posing a threat.

But again, with their Twitter account, they haven’t Tweeted anything in almost a month, so there’s nothing for people to have a conversation about on this platform. I checked to see if anyone near me had Tweeted anything about Avalanche recently and I only found one and there was also no response to it.

I  like the Pizza Goon blog a lot, it gives a face to the company and the owner and helps you appreciate all of the thought and love that goes into the creation of their product. You can tell by the blog posts that he obviously knows what he’s talking about and that a lot of trial and error goes into the creation of these pizza masterpieces.

You get to see the owner, John Gutekanst, as a family man, competitive pizza maker, a person committed to the community, a locavore, and the things that inspire him in life. I love that he has recipes and shows his trips to Italy and the odd foodie creations he makes. Like, look at this asparagus and prosciutto pizza…a little slice of heaven.

Photo via Pizza Goon blog...or Heaven

His blog is updated frequently enough considering how substantial most of the posts are with all of their pictures, wit, stories and descriptions. It would appear that he only makes posts when there are things worth making posts about, which is a good thing. I think that he should promote all of the content of his blog on the Avalanche Facebook and Twitter accounts because it could draw a lot of attention to his business.

Their biggest problem isn’t that they haven’t taken the steps to be active in social media, but rather, whoever is doing it isn’t keeping up with their tasks. They should also work on linking all of these mediums together so that you don’t have to actively search them out on all the different platforms.

Klout is a website that provides you with in-depth information about how influential you are in your social networks. Unfortunately, Avalanche Pizza has a very low score of 10, which pales in comparison to my score of 45.


KegFly: Creating Value for their Customers by Creating Values for their Customers

Photo via kegfly.com

Ahhhh, Kegfly! Your idea is so good and so simple it makes me wonder how I didn’t think of it…aside from the fact I would have no idea where to begin. Borrowing their business model from another deal-of-the-day company, Groupon, KegFly is quickly expanding to other universities and states offering very attractive discounts to students from local businesses.

The service was brought to Ohio University’s campus last year by Maxx Blank and Zac Sebo (former OU students) because they saw a market that wasn’t being serviced and seized the opportunity. In less than the span of a year, they have become a notable name around campus by organizing their own engagements and appearing at various student events and festivals (aided with the help of their KegFly girls).

The way this website works is that they offer promotions from a certain business and a set number of people have to bid on it before the deal is activated. If the set number is not met, the customers credit card isn’t charged and the businesses don’t lose any money; win-win! If the quota is reached, you are sent a printable coupon via e-mail or can opt to have an SMS message sent to your phone…it couldn’t be more convenient.

The fact of the matter is that the products promote themselves; if the deal isn’t active yet, then people are going to share it with their friends through either their Tweets or Facebook posts.

This weeks deal is for 50% off two eyebrow waxing sessions at Raphael’s Salon which is normally $24 and in case you’re dumb, that means you only pay $12. I could honestly stand to have my eyebrows waxed, they’re very burly, like my chest, but I’m to proud to take care of them.

Here’s a little video they produced for the deal (via KegFly’s YouTube channel):

Their Facebook page currently has 3,091 likes which is a pretty decent percentage of our campus; kudos, guys. They obviously use this as one of the venues to display their deals but they also make a point of talking to their supporters. For instance, their previous deal was for $10 dollars worth of O’Betty’s for $5 and someone took a picture of them eating it and they re-posted it on their wall. It’s very important to use your social media outlets to create a conversation by making your pages and posts seem very personal, as if they weren’t just a company fiending for money.

They make a point of showing up at various student events and holding their own promotional events, such as their highly lauded Kieser’s BBQ give-a-way at Baker (amazing). I actually found out about the event because I saw that many of my friends had Tweeted about it and, as a man, I can never refuse free meat. At these events they talk to people about their company and its benefits and then get the people to “like” them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter (see picture below). They also tag people in the pictures of their events which exposes their page to innumerable others that view that person’s pictures; smart move.

Photo via KegflyOU's Facebook page

Another way they drive traffic to their page is by offering incentives for people to “like” like their posts by offering the chance to win something for free. Essentially, they’ll say “Like our post and the 60th person will get a free (item of the day),” or something to that effect. Offering rewards for promoting their cause is a really great way to get people interested and involved.

Also, now that Facebook pages can post on post’s as if they were a person themselves, the KegFly people make a concerted effort to promote other local organizations and posting their posts on their own wall.

Their most current deal for Raphael’s Salon has been liked on Facebook by 27 people which isn’t too shabby considering the deal just launched today. It’s apparent that people spreads their word more openly on Twitter because the deal has been tweeted 357 times which I think is pretty insane.

It’s makes sense that the company’s creators are especially savvy with social media because of how young they are but a lot of people have no idea how to effectively use them as powerful marketing tools.

Nothing gets my goat more than people that say “Twitter is dumb, it’s just a bunch of Facebook statuses. I don’t care when you’re eating a sandwich.” Obviously those people haven’t joined the conversation or they’re following people without anything interesting to say; my tweets are hilarious and informative. It’s a better way to connect with people because you can search for people that are interested in the same things as you and talk to whoever.

The guys at KegFly frequently tweeting from their KegFlyOU account to tell people about their deals, respond to peoples praises of their surrogate products and offering reasons why you should use their services. Since they’re still young guns themselves, they understand what appeals to the Ohio University crowd: drinking. They made this post last night about their previous deal “@KegflyOU The #Obettys deal is off-line tonight, get it before you go out so you can have a drunk snack late night!” Does that sound like a good idea to me? Yes!

My roommate took advantage of this deal the other night, tweeted about it and they responded back to him. It made him feel special, I could tell by the look in his eyes. It’s the little things in life that people appreciate and tweeting back at your customer is usually an effective way of making them return to your site for your services.

In addition to being active on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, they have a Tumblr blog that offers sound financial advice, random information, quotidian observations, music critiques, etc. It doesn’t have a concise topic but it gives you a glimpse into the people that run the company and the things they enjoy. For instance, I have a new found appreciation for them because one of them has a post about Big K.R.I.T

The genius of the thing is that they are offering both students and businesses a great value by providing us with coupons that double the value of our money and by doing social media marketing for the participating companies.

Klout is a website that provides you with in-depth information about how influential you are in your social networks. KegFlyOU has a decent score of 49, but that isn’t much better than my score of 45


Ohio University

Photo via ohio.edu

Today, I am choosing to focus my attention on Ohio University and their rather impressive use of social media outlets to keep students informed about whats going on at the university and abroad.

Ohio University: Twitter

The university’s Twitter account, @ohiou, currently boasts an impressive amount of followers at 10, 356 tweeps, while only following 1,771 themselves. The Twitter is updated by University Communications and Marketing, Monday through Friday, from 8am to 5pm, and they are extremely informative and make sure to hold a conversation with their audience.

I try to tweet about @ohiou every once in a while because they’re actually very good about responding to peoples questions and comments. I think this is great because if you have a quick question that you want answered and you don’t know who to contact, there’s a good chance that they can point you in the right direction. Last week I tweeted at the university with a message that I crafted with the hopes of it being retweeted and sure enough, they did. The conversation went as follows:

  • @HumbleMumble: Making a Top 10 list of Co’s I want to speak to at the @ohiouCareer and Internship Fair tmrw. Research the companies. They’ll be impressed! (They retweeted it; I was excited.)
  • @HumbleMumble: Ooh, @ohiou RT’d me. I feel so honored. Boy do I know how to craft a message to my intended audience
  • @ohiou: Thanks @humblemumble! That was good (and timely) advice for@ohiou students preparing for tomorrow’s career fair.http://ow.ly/3Nxx1

They showed an active interest in their students and went on to provide more information about something that would be beneficial to them. Because they were kind enough to retweet me, my tweet obviously appeared on their Twitter timeline and some friends from freshmen year I hadn’t talked to in a while saw that and started following me.

Ohio University: Facebook

The university’s Facebook page provides a wealth of information about things that are going at all of the different campus branches such as different sporting events, educational opportunities and campus closings.

The page has 23,020 fans, which means that they have the potential to reach the largest audience out of all of their social media platforms. The way they use most of their social media is to provide meta-data from all of their affiliate sites, which ultimately brings traffic to their main web pages.

Ohio University: MySpace

Sooooooo, the university has a MySpace page that isn’t updated very often and has 39 friends. I’m not 100% sure but I think they should chalk that up as a loss and stop wasting their time updating it, albeit infrequently. I’m pretty sure MySpace is dieing any way; they completely re-branded/changed their layout and I have no idea how to navigate it any more and they’ve been laying off people at a feverish pace.

I don’t want to nay-say the entire Ohio University MySpace page so I’ll say some positive things I think about it. While it doesn’t have many friends, it does provide a lot of useful information all on one page. It has links to university events, blogs, their YouTube video content, pictures, and a calendar of sporting events. Overall, I think the continuation of the site is a fruitless effort, but that decision isn’t up to me.

Ohio University: YouTube

I found Ohio University’s YouTube page to be very informative and would have been something I would have found beneficial when I was searching for a school to attend. The YouTube channel was started in 2008 and has 146 friends and 211 subscribers. The channel, OhioUniv, has gotten 232,586 views and people have watched the various videos 111,347 times, which means that they are reaching a large quantity of people with their channel.

The channel is instrumental in providing incoming freshman or potential applicants with information about day-to-day life and activities at Ohio University. They have several playlist categories such as Admissions, Green Ohio, First Year at Ohio U, Sights and Sounds of Campus, Ohio Events and Activities, Ohio Research, Ohio Arts, and a few other categories.

Additionally, this page contains a news feed from Ohio’s COMPASS magazine which is another great resource for finding information about the university. It also links directly to the familiar Ohio University homepage via tabs for Current Students, Future Students, Parents/Families, Alumni/Friends and Faculty/Staff.

Ohio University: RSS Feed

It’s cool that they have this available for you to use but it’s actually just an RSS feed to Ohio’s COMPASS magazine; a useful resource nonetheless.

Klout is a website that provides you with in-depth information about how influential you are in your social networks. On the website, Ohio University scores a 59, which trumps my measly score of 45.


Goodfellas Pizza: Funny, How?

Photo via eatcollege.com

The use of social media outlets as a marketing tool is still in its early stages and is a territory that no one
has been able to master quite yet; everyone’s still exploring. From small businesses to large corporations, people have begun to see how beneficial it is to rally their customers in the digital world and get them to enter a conversation about their product.

Hands down, Goodfella’s Pizza is one of the most popular establishments for students to get their weekend pizza night cap and is a part of the Athenian culture. The pizzeria’s, with one location on Court Street and another on Union, have done a pretty good job of engaging with their customers using both Twitter and Facebook. They use both platforms to advertise their product, talk about special promotions and prizes, and talk about their new offerings.

Their Twitter account, @goodfellaspizza, has a good follower-to-following ratio of 1,607/1,268 and are listed by 85 Tweeps. They often respond to customers queries and praises and tell about special deals of the day.   Just yesterday I learned that they serve a spicy chicken pizza and a chicken pesto pizza both topped with blue cheese during the day and I am most certainly going to have to indulge.

They encourage their followers to post Tweets and Twitpics about their satisfying Goodfella’s experience and RT them for doing so. That is an important aspect of Twitter, making sure that you return the favor to your followers to let them know that you’re listening and that you care. For me personally, if I go a day without an @tag or a retweet, I die a little bit inside, because then it seems like all your Tweets were for naught.

On their Facebook page, Goodfella’s Pizza Lovers, they have a following of 1,187 members which is a healthy amount for a local college eatery. You might expect it to garner more attention for how much of a staple it is in Ohio University culture and the fact that it has been open since 1995, meaning  generations of students have  some memory of it.

They have an apt description of their company, its various accolades, assurance to the quality of their ingredients, and prices by-the-slice or larger orders. Their information page draws attention to one of the most over-looked items on Goodfella’s menu, the pepperoni and spinach rolls, which are available only at the Union Street location.

Though they don’t update their Facebook page as often as they should, but they do an overall good job at promoting themselves otherwise. They could begin to utilize mobile apps such as the new “Foursquare for Universities” program that allows people to get a “Munchies” badge for checking into different university dining facilities, giving people an incentive to stop by.

http://foursquare.com/button.html?tid=4d7914c84def2c0f1bd37680&color=dark

Klout is a website that provides you with in-depth information about how influential you are in your social networks. Goodfella’s Pizza scores relatively low with a score of 35. I really only say it’s low because my score is 45. Check to see how influential you are in your social networks.


Hello world!

Here’s a little video for y’all to watch…