From Socially Challenged to Socially Gifted - First Fridays of Florida

Nightclub & Bar

Editor’s Note: A popular presenter at our Nightclub & Bar Convention in Las Vegas, Maria Miranda and her colleague, Nicole Anllo are in the process of helping Clubs/Bars of all markets/sizes “makeover” their social media messaging with the goal to convert the socially challenged to the socially gifted. In the months ahead, this column will share the real-world examples of the Bars/Clubs who competed to win a free makeover in exchange for sharing their experiences to benefit others. How can this column help you? You’re not alone in your challenges, and here you’ll find challenge related advice. And, if you’d like your Bar/Club to be featured in this column, share your challenge/needs with us: 

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Helping a Social Club with Social Media:  A Look at the Social Butterflies at First Fridays of Florida

One of the most unique organizations we’ve worked with recently is First Fridays of Florida. First Fridays is not a bar or a restaurant, rather it’s a team of two awesome promoters that host a huge Caribbean music event 1-2 times per month at a hotel in Pembroke Pines, Florida. This pop-up social club atmosphere has been enjoyed by a crowd of anywhere from 400-1,000 30-something year olds for over 13 years. However, in recent years, the First Fridays team has seen a dip in attendance. They’ve experimented with traditional media ads and are now ready to invest in social media as a new area for growth.

Starting dashboard for the First Fridays of Florida:
Facebook Likes: 2,049
Facebook Check Ins: 18
Fans Talking About Page: 40
Twitter Followers: 233
Tweets: 421
Following: 77

Top five challenges:

  1. Getting “discovered” by new audiences
  2. Maintaining communication with current customers
  3. Promoting the look and feel of their events
  4. Getting everyone involved in social media
  5. Measuring the effectiveness of advertising


Initial recommendations:

Getting “discovered” by new audiences – When you have a restaurant, club or bar that caters to a certain age group, you always have to be on the lookout for new customers. It’s a fact we all have to face: customers will age out of certain events and places. First Fridays of Florida knows this very well, and they are always looking for new audiences who may be attracted to their fun musical atmosphere. A great place to find new audiences is online, specifically on online review sites. Yelp, the user review site, has an incredible following. If a new potential customer between the ages of 25-45 wants to find out who you are, chances are their first stop is First Fridays of Florida did not have a profile on Yelp, and were therefore missing out on an opportunity to get important information out to the public and potential new customers.

To get “discovered” you have to make sure you’re discoverable online. Yelp will help, and so will updating your Facebook profile and Google Place information to make sure your location, contact information and photos accurately represent your business.

(First Friday’s initial Google place appearing in search results. This features incorrect address information and no photos. Updating this information and adding photos would be a great way to enhance your appearance to potential new fans.)

Maintaining communication with current customers – When your business relies on attendance at monthly events, you have to make sure every one of your past customers knows when your event is happening. Facebook posting and emails are great forms of communication, but in today’s world you have to be ready to go one step further. SMS or text messaging is the most direct way to connect with a person, but collecting phone numbers can be challenging. One awesome tool to help you get started with SMS marketing is Trumpia. This service allows you to create mobile keywords that customers can text to a certain number to receive rewards. For example, you can set up a program that allows customers to text “PARTY” to 55555. In return, you can give everyone who texted the number a discount on admission or a fun free giveaway. Rewarding customers for connecting with you is a great way to promote a mutually beneficial relationship.

Another way we encouraged First Fridays to engage with their fans was through their voicemail. Including information about the social media channels they are on in their voicemail is a good way to get those who are calling you to interact with you socially. It also gives them another way to contact you if you’re not around to answer your phone all the time.

Finally, to better communicate with new followers on Twitter specifically, we recommended that First Fridays of Florida use an auto responder message sent to new individuals who follow their account. We usually DON’T recommend auto responders (these have been seen recently as somewhat cheesy). However, for First Fridays, sharing a message about one of their upcoming events via an auto responder shows that they update the message frequently, are therefore active on Twitter, and also gives relevant information to the new follower (as opposed to just a generic “Thank-you” message).


Promoting the look and feel of your event – One of the most important aspects of social media is the visual impact of your profile. On Facebook specifically, your profile picture, cover photo and photos your business posts tell your story. The best way to show off your restaurant or club’s atmosphere is to capture it in photos. One of our top recommendations for First Fridays of Florida was to post more photos of people enjoying themselves at First Friday events on their social media feeds. Whether you hire a professional photographer for one event, or set up a step and repeat wall at all of your events, you always want to make sure you have a variety of fun, exciting pictures from your venue for social media. In addition to photos, refreshing your graphics and logo elements are a great way to stay relevant and attract new audiences.

(A sample of current First Fridays of Florida photos. It’s hard to tell from these images what the actual events look like. Is there a dance floor? Do people sit down and watch a show? Is there food? Adding photos of an actual event would help answer these questions.)


Getting everyone involved in social media – A social club like First Fridays of Florida always has new people involved in the planning for every event. From musicians themselves to their promoters and friends, there are lots of people around that can help you spread the word about an upcoming event. However, it’s important that the performers coming to your venue promote not only the single event, but the club as a whole. If the musician uses their social media feeds to tag your club’s social media feeds, you are being exposed to a whole new group of potential fans. However, if the musician only posts about the event, not mentioning the name of the promoters and organizers, you lose out on great, natural exposure. Our recommendation here is to always make sure you have a social media conversation with your musicians and performers. It’s important to make sure they know how to promote your social media profiles when they post or tweet messages to their fans.


Measuring the effectiveness of advertising – Measurables can be a challenge for anyone in any business. From traditional advertising to social media, it can be difficult to estimate an exact ROI for a marketing campaign. Our solution for First Fridays of Florida is effective, and wonderfully simple. We recommended that, at the door to their club when individuals receive their entrance wrist bands, they ask their customers how they heard of their event. Yes, it’s an old fashioned at the door survey, but it’s still effective today!

Watch the First Fridays of Florida makeover in the coming weeks and stay tuned for further updates as we share revised dashboards and introduce new “Socially Challenged” entrepreneurs in the weeks/months ahead.

Maria Miranda ([email protected]) and Nicole Anllo ([email protected])

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