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Friday, August 20, 2010

Social Media Case Study # 2 - AskAsheville

Situation/Problem: There was no overall website that freely distributed business profiles and information through social media about the city of Asheville, N.C. in a way that was neutral and non-competitive. Anyone looking for general information would eventually wind up in the traditional marketing spin or on a site that promoted someone’s product or service. Almost any web site that mentioned the city was in support of one brand or another. For example: there was a real need for independent restaurant reviews, club reviews, and event reviews that didn’t involve the owners’ touting their own products or services. *Note: There are several great resources in the Asheville area, but AskAsheville took an open networking approach to media distribution by giving businesses a complimentary platform and visitors a free resource. For example: AskAsheville freely advertised thousands of local businesses through their custom search engine and Quicklinks when the site was originally launched.

When was created by the owner’s of G Social Media it was intended to be a neutral source of information for anything that involved the city of Asheville, N.C. and serve as a showcase example of how successful social media can be if done right. The site specifically targets social media users and the sites main platform is social media and how the site is promoted. The target was anyone who might have a question about Asheville but didn’t want a specific sales pitch.

Results to Date: has become one of leading sources of independent information about the city of Asheville, N.C. The site serves as an example of how social media can create a business from nothing more than an idea and proper use of the platform as a marketing vehicle. Because of its success the web site is now connected to the Asheville Citizen-Times, the largest daily in western North Carolina. Today the website has 1,300 Facebook fans, and more than 10,000 followers on Twitter out of a population of just (70k) for the city of Asheville. The site also has the biggest YouTube channel in western North Carolina with over 413,000 combined views, 352 subscribers, and over 450 different videos showing the many different angles of life in Asheville, N.C.

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Social Media Case Study # 1 - Highland Brewing Company

Highland Brewing Company is the largest and oldest brewery located in the mountain brew town of Asheville, N.C. With regional distribution into eight southern states the company is considered a major success in terms of micro-breweries. With a great reputation and following in the local market Highland wanted to increase sales through their established distribution network while maintaining local loyalty in an ever more competitive market place.

Although Highland had distribution into seven states they were struggling to build a following and increase sales through their distribution network. The company needed to establish the same positive brand awareness regionally that they had been able to do locally thereby increasing sales and brand loyalty. The options were to do to an expensive traditional advertising campaign or to re-evaluate their social media efforts and revamp those efforts into a serious campaign effort targeting the craft beer drinker in the region.

Highland brought in G Social Media to re-evaluate how their social media was being conducted. G Social Media quickly realized they had no strategy, a small presence on Facebook and on Twitter they were virtually non-existent as a business. G Social Media put together a social media campaign that was consistent in supporting the brand and building loyalty. G Social Media rebuilt upon their Facebook and Twitter accounts, integrated into several other social media platforms such as You Tube so potential microbrewery drinkers could see how the beer was made inside the brewery. They established a Picasa photo album, RSS feed, Friend Feed, Twitpic account and then trained the staff on how to update the campaign going forward.

Results to Date:
Highland Brewing is now able to interact immediately with their customers in any number of ways that allows the brewery to keep a pulse on marketplace and its brand. Their sales force is able to post photos immediately supporting the brand from around the region. The marketing department can make an announcement and get feedback immediately on a number of topics. They have almost 2,000 video views on YouTube alone, almost 2,000 Twitter followers and 4,667 Facebook fans almost reaching the 5,000 limit.

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