The Social Media of Paradise by Joshua Ness – December 5, 2011 SummaryThis case study was written to demonstrate how Paradise Spirits and Fine Wines (aka Paradise Liquors)was able to increase community engagement, bottom-line sales, and physical store traffic through the useof social media and streamlined location and review information over the course of a 6-week period. Thestudy also postulates on further growth through targeted activities, both online and within the physicalcommunity. Contents • Background • Proposal • Strategy • Results • Recommendations
BackgroundParadise Spirits and Fine Wines was established in 1995 as part of the Paradise Travel Stop complex inCorral City, TX, a small municipality within easy reach of larger communities such as Argyle, TX andDenton, TX, a large semi-dry city, containing two large universities, which offers no local full-serviceliquor retailers. It is an independently owned, full-service retail and wholesale liquor store offering a wideselection of spirits, wines, beers, and other beverage products and supplies. The location of Paradise Liquors on a rural section of Interstate 35W makes organic discovery of its location by customers in the Denton community more difficult than other liquor stores on the urban side of Interstate 35E. Although Paradise Liquors is closer to the universities and general populations of Denton, many potential customers are not aware of its existence or its regular specials and promotions.The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) has laid out strict rules and regulations regarding theuse of print media and advertising available to retail liquor establishments. As such, Paradise Liquorsability to reach out to new customers is hampered, and their new customer attraction program reliesheavily on word-of-mouth advertising. Before this case study, Paradise Liquors maintained a stand-alonewebsite and a Facebook fan page with a total of 5 fans and 1 update since its creation. ProposalJoshua Ness, a local independent social media consultant, reached out to Paradise Liquors on October 17,2011 with a proposal to streamline their existing online presence and to create additional social mediachannels for Paradise Liquors to reach out to the local community and potential new customer base.In addition to establishing a community identity across all available social media platforms, the proposalincluded creating and refining Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare accounts to build a consumer followingand maintain customer loyalty. Due to strict TABC guidelines, the development of contests andpromotions was limited to offering a discount on certain days of the week and to certain demographics.Branded merchandise giveaways and other promotions were not considered.The goal of this social media proposal was to attract a larger customer base of Denton residents and toenable Paradise Liquors to continue a productive social media campaign that will generate an increasedfollowing of new consumers. A minimal budget and a 6-week timeline were established as a pro bonotrial.
StrategyInitial actions were to take control of the existing Facebook fan page and to establish aGmail address for all social media communications so as not to impede the day-to-day E-mail communication required for store operations. All duplicate Facebook places (used forcheck-ins) were integrated into the main Facebook fan page, and a vanity URL was createdfor the Facebook domain (http://facebook.com/ParadiseLiquors). Store information wasadded and updated to the page. Wholesale clients who use Paradise Liquors as theirdistributor were located on Facebook and “liked” in order to facilitate interaction within thebusiness community. The initial number of connections (fans) was 5, including the storesgeneral manager and employees.The main purpose of the Facebook fan page was to showcase new offerings, photographs,and to answer customer questions as they arose. In addition to daily postings regardingnew product arrivals, store displays, and product reviews, a price-per-click (PPC)advertisement campaign was created to run the length of the trial. Users of appropriate agewere targeted within the outlying community. Total impressions were 86,882, while totalcampaign reach of unique users was 18,799. 64 clicks were achieved resulting in a click-through rate of 0.074%. In total, 24 new connections were made as a result of the PPCcampaign. The Facebook fan page continues to grow with a total of 75 fans at the time ofthis publication and 92 places check-ins. A Twitter account was created for Paradise Liquors (@ParadiseLiquors) in order to engage with the local student community. Users were sought out based on self- identifying location information and were followed by the Paradise account. New tweets were made showcasing the stores convenient location, student specials, and new product arrivals. The Twitter timeline was scanned several times per day and direct tweets were made to users who showed interest in products and services provided by Paradise Liquors. Replies and retweets grew, as did the Paradise Twitter following. At the time of publication, 232 original tweets have been made (an average of 5.5 tweets per day), and 87 targeted users follow the Paradise Liquors account.Paradise Liquors account was claimed on the location-based socialnetworking and review application Foursquare. Window decals wereobtained and displayed encouraging visitors to check in to Paradise Liquorson Foursquare and on Facebook. Total Foursquare check-ins at this time total313 by a 151 unique users indicating a significant number of repeat shopperswho are publicly sharing Paradise Liquors as their choice of spirit vendors.
Finally, accounts were claimed and streamlined on business location and review sites, such as GooglePlaces, Yelp, Superpages.com, etc. Pictures and store information were added where applicable, andexisting reviews were addressed where necessary. Performing a web search for “Paradise+Liquor” yieldsa page of claimed and fully-managed websites offering accurate store information, current photographs,and links to social media accounts. Searching for “Liquor+Denton+TX” yields several results with theParadise Liquors website on the front page. Search results on sites such as Yelp and Citysearch.com willimprove as more social media users discover Paradise Liquors and write reviews. ResultsIn addition to measurable results on social media and business review websites, physical results of thecampaign have been calculated. In the 6-week period of this social media trial, store managementestimates an increase in store traffic of 5%, with an estimated increase in new customers of 15% overprevious months.Total invoice increases measure 7% over prior reporting periods, and targeted product sales have seen anincrease of 12% over previous months.While the introduction of active social media management cannot fully account for all of these increases,the store manager and employees believe that the community engagement achieved through online socialmediums will be helpful in building customer loyalty and brand recognition in the future. RecommendationsGoing forward, Paradise Liquors stands to benefit from increased attention to social media and digitalmarketing, especially given the strict advertising environment put in place by TABC. In addition toengaging the local community on standard social media outlets, Paradise Liquors will see an increase inbottom-line sales if it can achieve higher search engine ranking for customers searching online for“Liquor” in “Denton, TX.” This can be done by expanding digital media in the following ways: • Website development • Weekly blog announcing new product offerings, reviews, etc. • Bi-Weekly video productionThe current website is not optimized for customer interaction, and potential consumers do not have theability to see current products or view all relevant content in one location. The revision of the website andthe addition of a blog and video channel to highlight specialty items and services will allow social mediachannels to drive customer traffic to the website, and will also increase page ranking through SearchEngine Optimization (SEO).Over the next three months, it is recommended that Paradise Liquors continue to participate in activecommunity engagement, both online and at the many special events held in Denton every month. It is alsorecommended that additional incentives and promotions be extended to customers who interact withParadise Liquors on social media channels and location-based applications. Finally, it is recommendedthat Paradise Liquors perform the suggested website overhaul in order to more efficiently engage withconsumers and rank higher on search engine results.