“Inn-Bedded Resorter”-Sharing the Experience through Social Media

The BALSAMA Grand Resort Hotel

The BALSAMS Grand Resort Hotel

The BALSAMS Grand Resort Hotel launched a campaign for the summer to show potential customers all that the hotel has to offer.  The elegance of the resort keep people coming again year after year but instead of displaying the many great adventures through modeled pictures, the resort started a campaign called “Inn-Bedded Resorter.”  The goal of this campaign was to show people  the many adventures they could come across while staying at the resort through social networking.

The campaign started off by choosing two people to stay at the hotel for free for two months.  The only thing these people had to do was use social networking to share their experiences while staying at the resort.   One lucky couple that got chosen to stay at the resort for free were Luke and Alex, social media travel superstars who already had thousands of followers on their website www.alexandluke.com.

The first resorter of the campaign was Martin Earley who stayed at the resort in the summer months of June and July.  “Guests of the hotel and BALSAMS social media followers really enjoyed following Martin Earley, our first-ever Inn-Bedded Resorter this summer and we’re excited to be welcoming Alex and Luke for January,” said Jeff McIver, President and General Manger of The BALSAMS.  “By expanding the Resorter and including two people we think followers will have an even greater opportunity to experience the magic of a BALSAMS winter.

The BALSAMS Grand Resort Hotel welcomed Alex and Luke as their first couple and the first winter Inn-Bedded Resorters during the months of January and February.  For each week they were there they documented the best food, people and activities they did for that week.  In their blog they also asked people to send comments about what their followers want to see them do, or even if there was a certain room they wanted to see.  Every Monday evening they would reveal their videos of the past weeks experiences.

The campaign was created by the resort’s marketing agency bobdonpaul.com.  The purpose was to give followers a sense of what it is like to experience everything the 8,000 acre resort has to offer.  “I personally have followed Alex and Luke since very early on in their journey, and not only do they bring a wealth of social media experience to their roles as the first-ever winter Resorters, but as Canadians, they represent an important market not only for The BALSAMS but for tourism in the State of New Hampshire,” said Bob Manley, Head Chef and Bottle Washer of bobdonpaul.com.

After the first resorter, Martin Earley, shared his time at the resort there was a 20% increase in bookings for that following August month.  Then once Alex and Luke’s journey started to come to an end, traffic to the Resort’s site doubled.  Everyone wanted to experience the BALSAMS Hotel.  Before the campaign the resort was still doing good with business, but now people are begging to get a room.  Now if you are thinking of checking out the website, don’t just take that into consideration, also make sure to check out real footage of the majestic atmosphere of the resort.

Wow Bao- Small Store Gains Lots Of Attention With Social Media Strategies

Wow Bao

Wow Bao is an Asian restaurant with three different locations in Downtown Chicago.  During their time as a business Wow Bao has received a lot of attention based on their innovative strategies to use social media to bring new customers into their restaurants.

In 2003, Wow Bao launched their first location at Chicago’s Water Tower Place, a shopping mall that attracts tourists.  After doing so well the restaurant later opened two more locations in 2007. Geoff Alexander, Vice President of Wow Bao’s parent company Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc. , noticed true potential in the restaurant and took over operations in 2009 becoming their managing partner.

Alexander went straight to work setting up Facebook and Twitter pages and launching a bicycle delivery service.  Also, in two of the three locations he set up electronic ordering kiosks which remember a customer’s four previous orders and accept credit cards for instant payment.  Later in 2010,  Alexander launched an iPhone application for Wow Bao allowing customers to make orders and pay for them directly from their phones.  The app also went nationwide allowing customers to purchase an order that ships right to them.

When the Twitter account for Wow Bao was set up Alexander admits in the beginning his team, including himself, were not too sure of what to do.

“We just told people to do this or do that, and nobody talked to us,” Alexander said.

After doing a little research on what Twitter is all about he finally understood what it was he was supposed to do.  He realized that in order to engage his customers he must start conversations with them and not go the corporate route by just tweeting daily deals.  That is when the voice of Wow Bao on Twitter was born, @BaoMouth.  “@BaoMouth has a little more sass, enthusiasm and personality than a corporate Twitter account or even myself could have,” Alexander says.

@BaoMouth interacts with users daily talking about anything from politics to the weather, jumping into any conversation where Wow Bao is mentioned. One user mentioned he was hungry and said he was going to try out Wow Bao for the first time.  @BaoMouth tweeted back to him telling him to tell his server @BaoMouth left him something special.  The special gift, turned out to be a free lunch.

Wow Bao does not believe in spending thousands of dollars in billboard advertising.  Instead they use that money to give away free stuff to loyal and potential customers, hoping that will be enough to get them hooked to come back for more. If a customer checks into a social network using Facebook, Foursquare of Scvngr, they automatically get a deal for a buy-one-get-one bao free. On Wednesdays Wow Bao fans on Facebook can look for a secret word to tell the cashier to get a free bao.

Not only is Wow Bao’s Facebook fan page a place for fans to leave comments, but is another place where ordering is made easy.  Fans can submit orders straight from Facebook.  Once an order is made, that order is automatically shared with friends, getting the attention of more people and having them wonder what is Wow Bao?  Then they look the restaurant up and make the decision to try it out.

Since the beginning Wow Bao has come a long way using social media to connect with their fans. They care greatly about their customers and want to treat them to free stuff as often as possible.

Beads and Dangles-Refer a Friend Program Catches Attention

Glass Bead

Starting a loyalty program for your business is a great way to reward your most loyal customers.  Marji Bitterman, President of Beads and Dangles thought the same thing and recently started one of her own.  Beads and Dangles is an eCommerce store with a large collection of European beads that come in sterling silver, silver plate, enamel, Murano glass and much more.  Marji’s mission at Beads and Dangles is to help people look and feel great with quality jewelry and exceptional prices.

A few years ago when Marji first started Beads and Dangles, her main goal was to bring in high quality but affordable beads. She strived to provide the best customer service she could.  In the beginning she went with the traditional sales method of discounts, coupons, and promos to bring in more customers to her website.  As her business started to grow she noticed her customers saying how great her site is.  They would go on to tell how much they love her beads and that they have been telling their friends about it.

“I’m all about not just customer service, but creating fun and happiness with anybody that I work with,  and so the happiness part meant giving back to customers who were loyal to me.”

This is when Marji began searching the web for good loyalty programs to reward her customers for sharing with their friends about her products. Soon she stumbled across NextBee, a program that offers referral and loyalty solutions for businesses.  She immediately got started with NextBee because they offered exactly what she was looking for.

The first step was to install a viral building mailing list, a widget put onto the website that any customer could click on called Join E-List.  Once a customer clicks on the widget they fill out a simple contact information form.   After hitting submit they are automatically rewarded with a coupon code of 15% off their first order.  They can even save the coupon to use anytime because it does not expire.

Soon Marji’s business really started to take off and became very successful because customers understood the value of what she was doing.  She then realized that one component was missing.   All these  loyal customers were telling their friends about her website, however,  this went unrewarded.  NextBee then helped Marji install an Invite a Friendwidget on her website.  This widget allowed customers to click on it and enter a friends e-mail address.  Once they submit their information, the friend and the referrer immediately receive a coupon code for 20% off their next order.

“I was happy, everybody was happy because they saw that I was giving back, they appreciated the value of what they were getting and the orders really continued to grow with that program.”

Beads and Dangles began to grow very quickly.  Marji was getting great feedback about how much customers loved her professionalism, the quality of the beads and the prices.  Marji wanted to share this feedback with other customers, and with the help from NextBee, a widget was added onto the home page. This allowed everyone to see the great reviews that were being written about Beads and Dangles.

The success from this campaign shows how much social media can affect a business.  Marji Bitterman’s decision to reward her customers was a great way to improve brand awareness, while keeping her customers coming back again and again.  She succeeding in her goal to create not only beautiful jewelry, but also created a fun, happy environment for her customers.

Facebook Users Vote in New KSL Social Media Campaign

KSL-TV launched a new social media campaign for local charities allowing Facebook users to vote on which charity is most deserving of $20K. The donation was made possible by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Foundation.

The two week campaign, KSL Cares, gave five organizations a chance to win the money including Catholic Community Services of Utah, Primary Children’s Medical Center, The Road Home, the United Way of Salt Lake and the YWCA of Salt Lake City. “They are local charities that we feel are in need or that serve a great community need,” KSL’s Tanya Vea said. She also stated that the goal of this campaign was to raise awareness for the organizations either by getting people to donate or even volunteer.

It was all up to Facebook users to decide the winner of this campaign. Whichever charity received the most likes on KSL-TV’s Facebook page, as well as the amount of links shared on individual Facebook pages, would win the $20K donation. They did not want the losing charities to go empty handed, so the four that did not win the grand prize still received $1,250 each from the foundation.

Every night, for five nights, at 5 p.m. KSL-TV dedicated that spot to one of the five organizations, highlighting what their purpose is. Viewers were then able to learn background information on each organization deciding which one they thought deserved the grand prize.

Many users showed their support throughout the two week campaign giving Primary Children’s Medical Center the win. “We have 15,000 friends on Facebook, and I think that was a show of support from the community that we dearly appreciate,” said Primary Children’s CEO Joe Mott. “Surely that money will be a blessing for children’s lives in the community”.