Friday, December 17, 2010

Are you using social media to drive "real" traffic to your downtown?

Your position as a commercial district manager is about utilizing economies of scale. District management entities are in an excellent position to serve as the portal for social media - serving business owners who don't want to have to deal with learning how to effectively use and maintain relavent social media context. I came across a recent news article [Read more: How Eight Major Franchises Are Using Social Media For Customer Service] about how franchises are using social media for customer service. The same concept can and should be applied to commercial district managers in their social media efforts. Franchisees pay franchise operators for the marketing support they provide - making it easy for individual franchise owners to particate and benefit from the social media strategy that their corporate parents manage and maintain on their behalf. There is no reason that these strategies can't work for commercial district managers.

Some examples that are particularly appropriate include:
  • Tasti D-lite offers "treatcards" that allow customers to accumlate points that can be redeemed at the store. This is linked to Foursquare and Twitter. Customers who register their card get extra points with every purchase.
  • Dunkin Donuts offers occational specials and free items via it's Twitter account
  • Church's Chicken launced a Twitter account. Customers who signed up were matched by a $1 donation to a pledge fund. This sounds like a great way to build a Twitter account quickly, and give to a local cause at the same time. I'm sure this could be leveraged to get some good local PR as well.
In general, these franchise operators are using Twitter and Facebook to send out marketing information, specials and other benefits on behalf of their many franchisees. The same concept can be applied to a commercial district social media strategy on behalf of its many businesses. Here are a few downtown's that have Twitter accounts for some ideas...
Go ahead and post a link to your downtown twitter account for others to view!



Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More Holiday Promotion Ideas...

These just keep on are a few additional holiday promotional ideas. I like these promotional programs because they suggest good relationships with local retailers and are specifically designed to drive traffic into stores. Both are from Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in New York City.

Holiday Coupon Book
Union Square Partnership works closely with neighborhood businesses to offer promotions through a holiday coupon book available at a local information booth and at participating restaurants and retailers. Shoppers can also go directly to the BID website to see the wide variety of specials available and download discounts directly. From discounts on meals to eyeglasses to yoga…each retailer defines the promotion they are comfortable with.

Barcode Promotions
The Downtown Alliance is taking their holiday marketing to a whole new level. They are using Scanbuy 2-D barcode technology to direct shoppers, diners and other visitors to their shopping destination of choice. Posters for the promotional event are located throughout the district—as well at bus stops and on the Downtown Alliance’s free bus service, the Downtown Connection. 2D barcode technology allows shoppers to scan bar codes using their smart phones. Users can download the ScanLife code reader app texting SCAN to 43588. These bar code direct users to shopping and dining guides and a special holiday page featuring specials, event listings and more on the Downtown Alliance’s holiday Web page.

The Downtown Alliance is also offering a “Downtown Culture Pass.” The pass offers three-day unlimited access—with gift shop discounts—to local museums and tourist destinations. A good idea for increasing visitation to the district, with the added benefit of a spillover effect for local restaurants and retailers.

Any one else have good ideas to share with readers?