Facebook is proving itself a small-business marketing force. Here are three examples of how it’s working.
No movie theater in America understands the importance and business value of social interaction better than the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. The 11-theater chain headquartered in Austin, Texas, has featured marquee attractions that have transformed moviegoing into a communal experience: a quote-along screening of Pulp Fiction, the Tough Guy Cinema series (which revives action hits like the Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle Predator, complete with complimentary cap gun giveaway) and the HeckleVision showcase (offering quick-witted patrons their chance to eviscerate misfires like M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening), for example. Events like these have earned Alamo Drafthouse the adoration of film geeks as high profile as director Quentin Tarantino, who holds his semi-annual QT Fest movie and multimedia event at the downtown Austin location.
“We’ve developed a unique fan base, and our patrons are very respectful and knowledgeable about movies,” says Alamo Drafthouse founder and CEO Tim League. “All of our special events are hosted by members of our programming staff, and we hang out with the audience after the movie ends. That kind of conversation and dialogue is very important to what we do.”
So is Facebook–now. Alamo Drafthouse has relied on digital marketing since its inception: League assembled an e-mail list soon after launching the company in 1997, and also built its first website. He later made his first foray in social media via Myspace but had a less-than-spectacular experience.
“I felt obligated to use it because so many other people were using it, and I felt we had to get involved,” he says. “But I hated it. It never clicked. When a friend pointed me to Facebook, I stayed up most of the night checking it out. It clicked immediately.”
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