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Posts Tagged ‘Kennywood Park’

While at the PodCamp Pittsburgh afterparty, I had the opportunity to meet David Fisher (@Tibbon) and have a chat about social media over a Smores martini (me) and a cheesesteak (him). As I recounted my own struggles the past year with consistent blogging, David offered up some great suggestions and advice to amp up my posting and continue to expose myself to different facets of social media while I’m looking for a new position. So, I’m starting another series called Social Media 101 (as I said – one of many) to examine how companies are utilizing social media or could they could be using social media to engage their stakeholders. Thanks, David!

My first topic is Kennywood Park.

Kennywood Park, located near Pittsburgh in West Mifflin, PA is one of the oldest amusement parks in the country. From its humble beginning in 1898 as a small trolley park, Kennywood has grown over the years to become a unique park marrying both rides from days of yore with those of the present and future. It’s an institution that conjures memories from Pittsburgh’s older crowd who now take their children and grandchildren, reminiscing of their youth while making new memories with the next wave of Kennywood thrill-seekers.

My goal is to share my thoughts about what I think Kennywood could use to its advantage when considering Web 2.0 community-building as part of its public relations strategy. Plans may already be underway, but I’m just going to pretend we’re working with a clean slate.

Twitter

Twitter is probably the most popular microblogging site right now and allows its users to connect and communicate in real time. Most users are those who have a vested interest in social media and technology, but major corporations have also started to catch on to Twitter and utilize the service as part of their communications strategy.

Kennywood is on Twitter (apparently), but there are zero followers, zero following, and zero updates. It’s quite possible that the park decided to hold its name until it figures out a game plan, but the account may have been created by someone not officially affiliated with the park. Either way, it’s time to put the service to use. How can the park do it? Here’s some ideas:

  • Sneak peeks and major announcements – Include your friends. Announce a new attraction or initiative as it simultaneously goes out via traditional media outlets, OR build suspense and make your friends the first to know. This is going to help create buzz and establish a word-of-mouth movement both online and offline.
  • Trivia and fun facts – Capture the joy of the amusement park experience by creating a trivia contest or posting fun facts about Kennywood and the amusement park industry.
  • Make memories – Part of Kennywood’s messaging is about making memories. Encourage friends to share their stories and engage in conversations about what makes Kennywood unique and why they return year after year.

Facebook

There are 116 groups on Facebook that make some sort of mention of Kennywood, yet none are officially administrated by the park. Instead, dozens of employees and fans have taken initiative to create community around the park, whether its a means of organizing trips or discussing favorite attractions and quirks. Hundreds of individual users also mention the name Kennywood in some capacity in their own profiles.

A close competitor in Ohio has a Facebook presence although I am unsure how many, if any, pages and groups are officially affiliated with the park. There is one page, however, created by a fan that is most impressive with more than 29,000 fans.

Here’s an opportunity. Fans of Kennywood are obviously there and would surely rally around an official page or group. All it takes is an intern, for example, to invite his or her friends and the power of word-of-mouth will take over. Facebook has the capabilities of importing information from other platforms, which makes it easy to link many social networks together.

MySpace

You can also find a page on MySpace, but I’m uncertain if it’s official. It’s very bare-bones, but has the potential to reach the 18-34 demographic. The unfortunate aspect of the site, however, is that there tends to be a lot of spam at times (though it has significantly decreased in recent years) and the administrator of the profile will have to carefully monitor who is being “friended” since not all profiles are exactly “family friendly” or legit.

YouTube

The site featured two podcasts, but they recently disappeared. What I do like is that Kennywood has its own video devices called KTube, which allows users to share their memories with others and K-Clips, where users can create their own “videos.” I would also recommend a presence on YouTube to allow for easy sharing and commenting. In addition, the Park can easily gauge just how many people are watching videos, subscribing and “friending” their channel.

Miscellaneous

Flickr – There are more than 8,500 tagged photos and one group dedicated to the park. A presence on Flickr would help contribute to that conversation and showcase fan photos on a consistent basis.

Blogging – Not every business has to blog, but it could be an opportunity for guest posts from fans, historians and staff so that everyone can learn a little more about Kennywood’s history and what makes it unique.

Social ads – Myspace and Facebook are offering ad placements, which could benefit the park. Maybe it’s a special promo code for discounted tickets, or a generic ad for Phantom Fright Nights. Either way, the appearance of the Kennywood logo is bound to attract more attention than most of the ads we typically see on these sites.

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The important thing to keep in mind with any SM venture is that a little time and attention should be devoted each day to make the community better. It doesn’t necessarily mean that a dedicated position has to be created, but someone must be diligent in monitoring and contributing to the conversation. I don’t advocate deleting user-created content unless it’s spam, obscene or abusive toward other community members. It’s a learning experience for everyone. Positive comments generally outweigh the negative and there’s always a way to turn those negatives into positives. The trick is remaining open-minded and willing to implement change.

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