What do Chicago and prison have in common? There's no shortage of bars. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
So how does one local watering hole stand out from the crowd? Social media. Like many businesses, bars have taken the Twitterverse to better connect with current and potential patrons. The always busy sports bar The Fifty/50 is among the tops in social media land. Below, where "The Fifty" succeeds in converting followers to customers, and where we think they could do more.
The Fifty/50 has an advantage in the social media space: a valuable asset known as Dave Andrews. Dave runs public relations for both locations, and also acts as liaison between the Bleeding Heart Bakery when cakes and goodies are requested.
The Fifty has great events and promotions, and utilizes social media to help get conversations happening around their brand. I know more than a few people who have won parties for themselves and a few friends just because they had tweeted back and forth with @TheFifty50. Dave is really good about getting the social communities offline and IRL on-site.
I wish that Dave was a bit more involved in the actual physical events. Sometimes there is a bit of a disconnect between the message of the promotion and they way it's executed. I recently attended Halloween and witnessed a costume contest that was based on crowd applause. The problem was the announcer running it didn't do the best job of keeping everyone's attention, not to mention no one really knew it had started, and some didn't sign up from lack of communication. I think if Dave were involved, it would have gone a lot smoother.
The Fifty/50 gets what social media is about: engagement. If you talk to or about them, you'll get a response. Beyond that, it will be in a voice you would expect from a raucous sports bar. It's clear that there's a human behind that feed and they probably like a good party. (Which, if you have met Dave or the Fifty staff, you know is pretty true.)
Like many of the social media accounts we highlight here, the Fifty/50 doesn't do much for us to harp on, but there's definitely potential improvement in the report card. While the Fifty really nails the basic concepts, I would love to see them run with their active follower base and do something more innovative; offer special discounts to those who reference a tweet, have a Twitter drawing for a partially-comped tab to be used that evening, etc. Get those who may not frequent the bar a reason to become a regular patron and brand ambassador.
We give @TheFifty/50, part of @GoodlifePR three and a half hashtags for having a fun, conversational voice that engages followers. We think they're primed to pull into a perfect five with a few out-of-the-box campaigns and personal touches.
Jen Healy is a Global Social Media Specialist for a really big international (go figure) company on the Northside of Chicago. Her claim to social media fame involves a stint as the social media intern for the RedEye, America's Test Kitchen, the title 2011 Downtown Dash Champion and “Top 10 World's Coolest Interns.” (Yes, it's real, and it's spectacular.)
Katie Holland is a Social Media Supervisor for a really big international (different from Jen's) company out in the west suburbs of Chicago. Her claim to social media fame involves a mention in the bestseller Groundswell for a Twitter interaction in 2010, and serving as co-chair of the Social Customer Care subcommittee for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. She is also featured in Rebecca Black's video for Friday. (Okay, not really)