Here’s a tale of two local bars.

A tale in which two bars set out to engage in the local Social Media community of Calgary. Both bars are of similar statue and manner. Both are located at cross-sections of popular nighttime destinations. Both are new ventures, which have taken over from _Classic_ and well known establishments. And this year both bars reached out on Twitter (and to an extend Foursquare) to attract new customers.

Bar Number 1

Let’s briefly talk about the first one. Last March it established a “Twitter presence”: and proceeded to follow the Calgary community. The account page was bland, generic and didn’t provide any insight into the culture of it’s clientèle or even an hint at it’s overall image. Instead the bar made two comments along the lines of _we’re open_ and _we’re hiring_. It didn’t try very hard to engage the community and didn’t create a two-way form of communication; rather it just broadcasted a simple one-way message to an uninterested audience.

Since those two posts … well the account has sat dormant.

In all likelihood the account will never resurface in any form. Which is unfortunate, as it was one of the first restaurants to venture into the Twitter community. It had a leg-up on the community and could have been poised to potentially leverage this new clientèle. *But it failed*.

There was no commitment to the campaign and _more importantly_, it didn’t give back to the community it was interacting with. Instead, their tactics probably left most members of the Calgary online community with a sour taste in their mouth.

For their image, their soft attempt at leveraging Social Media *probably did more harm than good*.

Bar Number 2

Now, let’s look at the second bar. It’s a fairly new concept bar, which took over the reigns of the old Fox and Firkin. Their goal is to sell locally produced food and _Brewskies_. This bar of course is “The District”: Opened a few months ago, it is a place that is slowly becoming an after-work destination and an enjoyable niche hangout.

Similar to my previous example, The District also embarked on a “Twitter campaign”: Unlike the aforementioned establishment, The District began engaging in the growing Calgary Twitter community through a simple organic campaign – offering specials, promoting it’s bucket of bacon and (recently) it began encouraging organization to use it’s location for a variety of meet-ups. Over time it has grown it’s audience to well over a 1,000 followers and now appears to be a destination within the online community.

In addition to all this wonderful Twitter exposure, it also took the plunge on the newest Social Networking craze “Foursquare”: In the past few weeks it became one of the first venue partners in the city and now offers “discounts to mayors and some secret discounts for frequent visitors”: As a foursquare user, it’s become a place to visit to ‘achieve’ the next status of discount.

Subsequently, The District has created an identity and presence within these two networks *that is unique to its competitors*.

It’s positioned it’s self as a destination place for the people engaged in the community and a quick look at either network shows it’s success. This level of interaction has change the community’s opinion, from a bar on the outskirts to a place to meet and be seen.

In The End

I’m not going to speculate on the success of either establishment, I’m not by any means a restaurateur. The point of this post is to look at the difference in Social Media strategy and the change to the online perception of both establishments. The one thing that I do know about the _Food and Drink_ industry is that *optics are a key element to success*.

Buzz and word of mouth are invaluable.

When we look at the rewards of these two Twitter campaigns, it’s pretty obvious which of these bars came out on top.