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Pittsburgh Social Media Conference: #SoMePgh

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Last Friday, our client and friends at VisitPittsburgh hosted their annual Pittsburgh social media event: Tweet, Like & Be Social. This is an event featuring the best in the ‘Burgh on how to engage the community and customers using social media – and I was able to snag a front-row seat. A few of the main speakers included Margee Kerr and Scott Simmons from Scarehouse, Alex Moser, Director of Marketing for Seven Springs & Hidden Valley Resort and Anthony Vennare from Fittsburgh. The following rundown makes clear why these brands are considered local leaders in the industry.

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1. Scarehouse 

“25% of users turn away from a YouTube video if the video doesn’t start within 5 seconds” – a stat keynote speaker, Margee Kerr from Scarehouse opened with on Friday. With a PhD in sociology, Kerr began by offering a bite of basic human behavior on why this may be. We learned humans have evolved to be drawn to novel experiences. We seek out and pay attention to shiny, interesting, startling and instantaneous things – it’s how we survived. Sure, back then it meant discovering a wolf nearby, but today it’s how we discover content.

These marketing perspectives inform Scarehouse’s every social media/content marketing move

  • Know what images and colors will be most impactful
  • Use visuals that don’t contribute to distraction, but engage and keep attention
  • No one likes to be sold to, entertain them instead
  • People want to form connections, give them content they can connect with, engage with and share

What works for Scarehouse 

Scarehouse publishes video and images on a daily basis. These videos aren’t just sneak peaks. They use videos to teach people how to do things, discuss their expertise, offer behind the scenes footage, meet the team and more. The clip below for example features a look behind the mask of one of Scarehouse’s popular actresses. Customers want to know the people who make up the brand on a personal level. These tactics present Scarehouse as a company of people who know people, not just a brand trying to sell tickets.

Scarehouse is also known for their instantaneous social media posts that connect people with the brand all-year-round. Their iconic bunny figure shows up a lot in such material. You can see this in the picture below – when Fifty Shades of Grey came out, Scarehouse jumped on the opportunity to sneak their brand in with the trend.

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“The Bunny will see you now” inserted into Fifty Shades of Grey movie poster

2. Seven Springs 

Alex Moser, Director of Marketing for Seven Springs and Hidden Valley Resort zoomed in on the importance of branded video today. Moser opens with “transparency is paramount and video can help with that.” His marketing team pushes out branded video and photography daily, especially in the winter, to connect with their audience. In the winter, their audience wants to know one major question each day, how much snow is there? Instead of posting text updates, Moser’s team finds creative ways to show the conditions of their slopes like the one below. These videos are snackable and sharable, making the audience want to come back for more and buy tickets when they’re ready – creating not only brand awareness, but also brand loyalty.

3. GetFitPGH

Brothers Anthony and Joe Vennare combined a passion for Pittsburgh with extensive knowledge of health and fitness and how to reach people. Their product is called Fittsburgh – launched in May of 2014. Now with thousands of followers, customers and subscribers, Anthony gave the #SoMePgh audience a look into his marketing success.

Anthony focused most on the phrase “delivering value.” As a start-up with no following, Anthony’s first mission was to build an audience. He communicated his brand’s mission was to make sure being healthy becomes part of what it means to be from or live in Pittsburgh. He did this by not focusing on the clicks, but by growing his audience one door at a time, literally. He went door-to-door, meeting people, introducing himself and giving branded materials and educational info on being fit. He asked over and over gain, how can we add value? He found his answers here:

  • Joining in the conversations – if the conversation related even just a little, he added insight, was grateful and gave help for free
  • He delivered hand-written letters about the brand and as a way to say thanks for taking interest and engaging
  • He built trust and credibility through influencer marketing and branded articles in trusted publications like Mens HealthScreen shot 2015-06-22 at 8.48.15 AM

From starting with a “pay what you want” sales model, Anthony and his brother noticed people giving large amounts of money. Why? People saw the value in the brand and wanted to pay for it. His philosophy continues to be: make the best brand, make the best product, add value and share what makes you the best with your target audience. And they key, he adds – “to listen.”

4. Visit Pittsburgh 

VisitPittsburgh brought us back full circle at the end of the event with a reminder to focus on your goals and your audience.

  • Publish posts that audience can connect with – find something in your content they can personally relate to
  • Interact with your audience on every platform you’re on
  • Be consistent and interesting, but not pushy – no one wants to feel like they are being sold something
  • Share other people’s content in your industry
  • Show your audience a personal side

Want to join in on the conversation? To share your social media marketing tips or for even more highlights from Visit Pittsburgh’s event, search with the hashtag #SoMePgh.