How is LOL, that’s Lower Oak Lawn, using Social Media?
How is LOL, that’s Lower Oak Lawn, using Social Media?
By J.R. Atkins, February 18, 2010
As I speak to business owners and social media practitioners they want to hear about success stories from local companies using Social Media. Pegasus Ablon is a real estate development company using social media to drive awareness and leases for their Lower Oak Lawn development.
During a recent visit to the “LOL” project, Kendall Shiffler, Social Media Networking and Marketing Associate, provided some insights as to how she uses social media.
The Design District has long been a Dallas’ haven for art galleries and interior design showrooms. Pegasus Ablon has branded a portion of this district as LOL or Lower Oak Lawn with the main cross streets at the intersection of Oak Lawn Avenue and Hi Line Drive. The geographical branding describes a place where creative businesses, trendy apartment renters, and discerning shoppers coexist and enjoy the unique urban landscape of the area.
This branding is key justification for a full time social media and marketing employee at Pegasus Ablon. The real estate leaders recognize that by promoting the entire district, they will drive leases in their properties. Or in other words, all ships rise when the tide comes in.
Kendall was hired in September 2009 to begin promoting the area using social media. Until that point, PegasusAblon had done absolutely no advertising or marketing to the general public about the Lower Oak Lawn project. With the blog infrastructure already setup, Kendall got to work generating content and preparing the blog, LowerOakLawn.com, for launch. She also began building networks for the area on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. She utilized her existing personal networks on these sites to build momentum for the new blog. By connecting these sites Kendall improves the SEO or Search Engine Optimization, which is important when building an online community. These sites also help in reaching members of the various audiences that the blog targets.
While Matchbox Studio, a Dallas-based firm, produced her blog’s design, Kendall can do most of her routine work using the tools provided by the WordPress platform. Notice that Kendall is not using a traditional web site at this time. The main reason is so much of the communication with her audience can be done with the blog. Another reason is “you work with the tools you are given”, prove yourself, and then go from there.
Managing her time is one of the greatest challenges Kendall faces each day. To help organize the content, Kendall developed an editorial calendar, much like you would find at a magazine or other traditional media outlet. Maintaining an editorial calendar allows Kendall to organize her ideas, plan ahead, and work with her colleagues to prioritize content opportunities. It also serves as a reminder about what content has been posted and discussed in the past.
Another time management strategy is to balance the results with the content. For example, Kendall can spend an entire afternoon on Twitter. She might increase the number of followers but only generate a small amount of traffic to the blog. The key to success is to finding the right balance of posting content that will excite people, at the right time and on the right platform. We are looking for that interesting valuable information that will go viral.
Justifying marketing and advertising is important to continued funding in an organization. Since the social media aspect is so new, the reporting so far has consisted of:
- Social Proof: How many fans, followers, subscribers, etc.
- Amount of Content: How many tweets, wall posts, blogs, etc. have we published.
- Success Stories: One of the early success stories came from the use of Flickr. In October, Kendall attended Slocum Street Style — an annual open house event hosted in the Design District. She took pictures of guests and passed out business cards with the Lower Oak Lawn blog site address. Traffic spiked on the blog and Flickr the following few days as everyone went to see their personal pictures and make comments.
Another success story comes from Kendall’s comments on the blog. When someone commended on a post about an apartment complex in the Design District inquiring about the safety of the area, she was able to give an honest opinion from her experience of working in Lower Oak Lawn. She commented back relating that she feels safe working there and enjoys the extra security of 24/7 armed security patrol provided by the developer. The person went on to lease an apartment.
The next round of reporting will likely include numbers from Google Analytics on where the blog traffic is coming from and more.
How Kendall got here
As Social Media positions are so new, both potential employees and business leaders are eager to learn how to make a connection. Word of mouth is very common and so is listing on job boards, especially technology and social media oriented sites. This method worked for Kendall.
Her proven job success with the City of Dallas, in Economic Development, and her experience running her own web business contributed to job qualifications. When a friend emailed a job posting on LinkedIn she applied and the rest is history.
Two other big projects are contributing to the excitement and buzz in Lower Oak Lawn. They are completion of the South End Improvements of the North Dallas Toll way and the preparation for the Trinity River Corridor Project.
With the redesign of the South end of the toll way a new exit was added for Oak Lawn. This allows for easier access to Uptown, Victory Park and Lowe Oak Lawn. Easy access has got to account for at least one of the “locations” in the phrase “location, location, location” for real estate success.
As the building is underway for the new Trinity River Bridge it’s the first proof that the Trinity River Corridor Project is really going to happen. This project will put the Trinity Strand within walking distance of the Lower Oak Lawn area. The strand and the Katy Trail will be connected by a walking and running path. In December, Lower Oak Lawn sponsored a fun run and a 5 k run to celebrate the temporary running path from the end of the Katy trail along High Line Drive.
Kendall blogged took pictures, video and posted comments before and after the event to create buzz, awareness and potential renters for the Lower Oak Lawn area. All in a day’s work as a Social Media and Marketing Associate
J.R. Atkins is a Social Media Speaker, Strategist and Consultant with Something Different Companies LLC. He lives in Frisco Texas with his son and wife.