Before the paint had dried on Scene75 it had attracted 23,000 Facebook fans — more than any nonchain entertainment center in the country.
Ten months since opening and reaching that first social media mark, the $5-million entertainment complex in the former Roberds furniture warehouse on Poe Avenue, had attracted more than 60,000 fans.
Jonah David Sandler, chief entertainment officer of the business, has single-handedly managed the account from the beginning, an account that has garnered the interest of Facebook itself.
“Facebook dominated e-mails as a key form of communication with our customers. It proved to be a two way communication tool that I felt, if used properly, could help create a brand from the beginning,” said Sandler. “I was willing to take a risk on Facebook and show who I am and share in the journey. Some corporations may not be willing to blur the line between personality and business. For me I put one hundred percent of myself into this (business) so it was hard not to.”
Sandler has made nearly every post on the Scene75 Facebook page with no training. He says his success has been a combination of personal use, observation, trial and error and an understanding of the importance of social media.
The entertainment center’s social media efforts have not only garnered the scrutiny of a social media giant, but also of industry peers including the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), which recognized it as one of three Digital Marketing Award Finalists at the 2012 IAAPA convention. The winner, Ocean Park Corporation, is a 30-year-old water park in Honk Kong that attracts 5 million visitors per year and operates with a full-time marketing staff.
It also won the Dayton Business Journal’s 2012 Social Madness Competition coming in first out of 60 corporate contestants and ranked in the top 16 in the contest nationally out of thousands of other businesses.
“Scene75’s page publishing is something that many brands and businesses, large and small, should take note of. A page works best when it has a two-way conversation with your fans,” said Katy Castleberry, small business team specialist for Facebook. “You can tell that Scene75 cares about the community and uses Facebook to engage with its customers. Its fans are constantly interacting with the page and use it as a forum to learn more about the business, engage with the Scene75 team, share their experience at the facility, and give feedback on what they want more of.”
Castleberry says a great example of this occurred last Halloween when Scene75 fans began posting on the Facebook Page suggesting that the business host a trick-or-treating event indoors since the weather was bad for kids to be outside.
Within two hours Scene75 responded to the feedback writing simply, “Alright, Let’s do it.”
Sandler’s team went to work to get candy, costumes and set up trick-or-treat stations inside of the building. By 6 p.m., Scene75 had a line out the door and welcomed an estimated 2,500 people in.
“My team saw the event unfold on the page’s timeline. People were so thankful and excited that a business listened to their feedback and responded in a meaningful way. What’s even more powerful is that many of the fans’ postings showed up in their friends’ news feeds, which spread this word of mouth about Scene75 to more potential customers,” said Castleberry.
With an interest in helping spread the word to other small businesses, Sandler set up several training events to share his compelling story and train others in the community how to harness the power of social media to gain traction with customers.
Castleberry came to Ohio to attend one of Sandler’s sessions and speak with him personally about his efforts to market via Facebook.
How they did it
Scene75 CEO Jonah Sandler’s key drivers to grow audience with social media:
Unique content: Share stories, anecdotes and information followers can’t get anywhere else … be different.
Emotional ties: Establish a relationship with customers. Appeal to their hearts and minds with real conversation.
Personal yet professional: Share your experiences, share yourself and unveil your personality.
Live on the edge: You want to post content that you question if you should be posting, Sandler says.
A fan is a person, not a number: Be human, share the struggle, share the victories and show your strengths and weaknesses.
Own your page: It’s your home court. Take the time to make it what you want it to be.
Unveil your passion: You wouldn’t have started a business without it, right?
Be considerate: Show kindness, humility and appreciation.
Respond quickly, personally and effectively to everything: Shock fans with your responsiveness.
Appreciate the negatives: Turn negative social media comments from others into positives and build a stronger connection with supporters.
Paid advertisements: Create several ad types and restrict expenditures per day. Learn from the results and focus your efforts on the ad types that generate the greatest response.