The following is a guest blog from Scott Wise, a Chamber member and owner of Scotty’s Brewhouse. All of the views and opinions expressed in this post are solely Scott Wise’s and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. To submit a guest blog e-mail DeJohn Rose for more information.
Since opening the first Scotty’s Brewhouse in Muncie in 1996, I have experienced the highs and lows of the restaurant business. After the initial success of Scotty’s, I opened a fine dining restaurant in 1998, where I lost nearly a million dollars in three years. Needless to say that was one of my low points, but I think I learned more from that failed venture than I’ve learned from any of my successes. When we closed that restaurant down, we opened our Bloomington Scotty’s Brewhouse location in 2001. West Lafayette opened in 2004 and the northside Indianapolis (96th Street) location opened in 2007. We opened our downtown Indianapolis location (at Virginia & Pennsylvania Streets) in 2009. Scotty’s Lakehouse just opened this summer and we’ll be opening our Brewpub, Three Wise Men Brewing Company in Broad Ripple in late 2010. We also have a project we are planning to launch in 2011 in Fort Wayne. We’re looking to locate in left field of Parkview Field, home of the Minor League Fort Wayne TinCaps.
A big part of our recent success and expansion, despite the down economy, can be attributed to our presence on social networking websites. A year and a half ago, when the economy crashed, we were looking for ways to cut costs without laying employees off. At the same time social media was really taking off, so we eliminated every single piece of outside advertising, no print, no radio, no other types of traditional media, and shifted our focus to e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. In the past, we would spend about $250,000 each year in football ads, newspaper, and radio during Christmas time to promote gift cards. We eliminated all of that.
I realized that without a marketing budget, my use of social media was the only way to get our message out. You can’t walk into a business and say, “If you spend $500 on this ad, I can promise you that you’ll generate X amount of dollars back”, that’s why marketers rely on impressions and views and all of those similar metrics. The reason that social media has been so successful and the reason I jumped on board was not just because I had to, but I felt that the world had already shifted over to social media. Recently I gave a talk to a young professionals group in Muncie about social media and I asked the attendees to raise their hand if they subscribed to the newspaper. Of the 50 people I was talking to, only 2 raised their hand. Then I asked them to raise their hands if they had a Facebook account. Every single person raised their hand. I said “You guys just made the point for me – I could leave right now and this would be a successful talk”. The world changes and you have to change along with it. Continue reading