Win Tickets to Neon Trees Concert

Neon Trees AnimalSummertime is here and that means local county fairs are in full swing.

Being in Orange County, I’m fortunate enough to have many generous local vendors offer goodies to give away!

The OC Fair opens this weekend and features an awesome concert series at Pacific Amphitheatre.

This Saturday, July 16, Neon Trees will be taking the stage.

“Like their name, Neon Trees are a combination of slick pop hooks and sturdy organic rock, both melodic and hard-hitting, their anthems of adolescent angst, longing, love lost and found, delivered with the kind of heart-on-the-sleeve passion that only comes from hard work and commitment. Their first single’ Animal’ was hugely popular and reached at #1 on Billboard’s Alternative Rock Chart.”

We have a pair of tickets to give away! To enter, just leave a comment below and a winner will be chosen via on Thursday at noon.
*Please be sure you either submit your contact information when you sign in or in the comment itself so we can get in touch if you’re the winner, and please check back on Thursday afternoon the winner will be announced here as well.

Thanks and good luck!

Socialize with House of Blues

Social media outlets are a great resource for entertainment venues, both in terms of relaying information and personalizing the relationship between your brand and its fans.

House of Blues (HOB) at Downtown Disney considers social media one of their most valuable marketing outlets. It provides brand awareness as well as an open forum to communicate with fans directly.

Similarly, it provides a space for HOB fans to converse with others of similar interests, and they see the value of allowing fans to share personal thoughts and experiences with each others.

HOB periodically asks their fans questions to gain feedback about how they can make guest experiences at their venue even better. The key is to actually listen to what they have to say, what they want and expect from you, and then actually do somethingHouse of Blue Anaheim Brew Master Dinner about it.

On the flipside, a potential downside is that people can use social media to share negative thoughts and experiences; it’s uncensored and leaves businesses open to criticism. But with the good, it’s important to take the bad and learn from your fans.

HOB takes a lot of pride in knowing that the fans they have on these portals have CHOSEN to “follow” on Twitter and/or “like” on Facebook; fans that are genuinely interested and WANT to know what HOB has to offer.  They also have an outlet for easily sharing news about music and events in the community, things that are relevant to their audience.

Additionally, HOB is able to use Twitter and Facebook for promotional purposes to distribute information about upcoming shows, pre-sales/on-sales and restaurant promotions. They post all upcoming events with a direct links to purchase tickets, or a number for more information, making the purchasing process direct and seamless.

They also provide more “exclusive” offers like ticket giveaways, which ends up benefiting them as well since they typically see an automatic ticket-sale increase for those shows with ticket giveaways.

Rena, their marketing manager, believes it’s important to have some type of call-to-action when posting an event, especially nowadays when most people have smartphones and can purchase tickets right from their phone.

“There are endless opportunities with social media,” Rena noted, “and it’s important to be creative and keep it interactive.”

Have any other entertainment venues caught your attention as being really proactive via social media?


Social Media Success Story

In under a year, Orange County’s first enomatic wine bar, OC Wine Mart, has received many praises. Owner Julie Lim was recently named one of OC Metro’s “20 Women to Watch,” and the tasting bar is rated one of Orange County’s top 10 wine bars by Zagat, a leading restaurant review guide.

Julie recently spoke at the Harvard/USC Business Growth Summit and her presentation is a perfect sample of how a restaurant or similar venue can succeed in social media marketing.

Anaheim Shares their Sunshine

Another city that’s doing some awesome things with social media is the Anaheim Visitor & Convention Bureau.

On March 1, they launched their 50th Anniversary Facebook Sweepstakes. The six-week “Share our Shunshine” sweepstakes includes 50 destination prize packages valued at approximately $70,000, and offered a package to a different winner each week.

They’re also one of the few destinations to feature their own iPhone app, allowing guests to easily navigate the city’s happenings to plan their vacation.

Their Facebook page, nearly 14,000-fans strong, features a “deals” page which offers fans exclusive deals for So Cal venues like Knott’s Berry Farm, Legoland, Universal Studios, Medieval Times and more.

With National Travel & Tourism Week, the organization took the time to create a video highlighting the positive influences of travel on the local economy as well as talk to numerous businesses in the area to discuss why it matters. The video featured the common thread of oranges amongst all the speakers, highlighting their common thread – Orange County.

Travel Matters in Anaheim

Hotels and Restaurants Benefit from Hosting Social Media Events

Social Media events are a great way for hotels and restaurants to gain easy, free exposure. Though offering up freebies to a large audience could initially feel like a loss rather than a gain, the potential ROI of doing so in this context is uniquely unprecedented.

A little over a year ago, the Hilton Orange County/Costa Mesa hotel was interested in hosting and garnering some attention from the social media sphere.  A handful of Orange County businesspeople, all of whom met initially through Twitter, came together to begin planning an event. The group established their mission: to connect people that met online in real life. They coined the name “ConnectOC” and got to work.

ConnectOC: A Social Networking Group in Orange County, California

What started out as a small get-together ended up turning into a massive networking of 400 attendees, goodie bags for the first 200 along with thousands of dollars in donations from local businesses for the goodie bags and silent auction. 100% of the money raised went to a local charity. The first event took place in February 2010 and another similar one of greater caliber (more attendees, money raised, etc.) took place in September.

Hilton sponsored the event for free, and also donated a fantastic buffet with a huge variety of options. They staffed the restaurant and bar areas and created specialized, social media-themed drink menus. The out-of-pocket expense for the hotel was hefty, but the value in having hundreds of social media-prone people checking in and tweeting all about their experience at the hotel made it worth it.

It may seem counter-productive to invite locals into a local hotel, as hotel business relies on over-night visitors and obviously, people who live in the city where the hotel resides aren’t going to be staying over there. But many hotels also require business in other fashions, like renting out their meeting and conference space, and drawing customers to their restaurants and bars.

The majority of the people who came to the first ConnectOC event had never previously set foot inside the Hilton, because they never had to. But because of the event, they now can visualize the hotel’s gorgeous restaurant. They’ve now tasted the food. When considering where to dine in the future, the restaurant is going to stand out in numerous ways: in terms of ambiance, taste of food and generosity in donating so much to promote people coming together for a worthy cause. Many people tweeted about returning to the Hilton at later times to dine.

Hilton Lobby and Restaurant Packed During Social Media Event

The event also familiarized people with abundant amount of meeting space the hotel has available, and several parties ended up booking future meetings. Prior to actually going to the hotel and actualizing all of its amenities outside of the guestrooms, these businesspeople hadn’t really thought about it being perfectly suited for their future business needs.

The fascinating thing about this particular kind of event is that it was promoted and leveraged entirely through social media. ConnectOC doesn’t even have a website; their main form of contact is their Facebook page, as well as their Twitter and LinkedIn portals. While the events did receive great local media coverage, those articles were circulated on the web via social media. The audience they reached is numerous and broad, and its members were subsequently able to both meet new people and expand their networks, all while helping a worthy cause. And because Hilton supplied the venue, they were able to reap a ton of benefits from this local, expansive introduction.