NonProfits Use Fire Power of Social Media: One Condominium Tries Social Media Marketing

by Peg Corwin on July 10, 2009

Lake Point Tower, an iconic Chicago condominium, is harnessing the power of social media to promote its upcoming 40th anniversary and, longer term, its property values.  This nonprofit is in good company.  The New York Times recently ran stories about the American Museum of Natural History promoting its new fossil discovery with a documentary film and media campaign, and the Methodist University Hospital in Memphis using YouTube clips of brain tumor operations to increase visibility of its services.

Dipping Their Toe Into Social Media

Lake Point Tower has just launched a 40th anniversary blog, a Flickr account, a Twitter account, and Facebook promotions on fan pages of local realtors.  Their YouTube account has not only the video embedded above but also clips of visual tours of units of sale and movie trailers from shoots in the building.

Recently the Lake Point Tower board discovered Yelp reviews and added this link to the blog.  They also link to an interesting 3-D version of the building from Google.

While they want to build awareness to celebrate the building’s 40th anniversary this fall, the board hopes in the long run to increase awareness of, and demand for, condo units in the building, and their prices.  Competition is stiff from new condominiums in downtown Chicago, and this far-thinking board wants to use all the fire power of social media to showcase their extraordinary structure and community.

What Are the Initial Results?

After only a month or so, the board already reports increased visibility.  Here are the numbers:

The board also runs Google Analytics on their website to monitor long-run increases in page views.  They get feedback on Twitter, including a comment from an architect on imperfections in the exterior walls.

Here’s another Twitter comment where the Chicago Architecture Foundation is “retweeting,” or sharing with its own followers, Lake Point Tower’s tweet about their favorite Flickr photos from strangers.  (See especially this photo:  Firey Lake Point Tower and Icy Lake Michigan.)

ChicagoArchitec RT @LakePointTower: There are 986 pics of Lake Point Tower on Flickr, most the Chicago bldg? Here are our favorites: http://bit.ly/12xp2i

This is what Twitter is all about:  Getting into a conversation with the world, your public, your prospects, your observers.  And learning from it.  The meaning is in the listening.

While they love the page views of their blog, video and pics, the board finds it less comfortable to listen to feedback from strangers.  But that’s what this social media stuff is all about.

Please Leave a Comment

How are you using social media to increase your visibility beyond your website?   Or maybe you would like to leave a comment on their blog to tell the Lake Point Tower board what you think of their social media campaign?  Or follow them on Twitter– @LakePointTower — to keep up with their activities?  In coming months, they’ve got an architectural history and posters up their sleeves….

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Learn all about how to use these largely-free online-marketing techniques for your business or nonprofit in my Online Marketing Series, covering 18 different techniques.

A PS on Stories

When you dig into social media, you get involved in stories about people.  The Lake Point Tower board discovered trailers from the 1992 movie “Straight Talk”, where Dolly Parton’s character lived at Lake Point Tower.

This led long-time resident and then building manager Nelson Nix to recall a scene with Dolly in a hot tub:  “It was shot on [floor] 42 and something funny happened there.  The water was cold and a call went out on the radio for a solution.  People were running around with hoses and buckets of hot water until I flipped on the water heater breakers.  Then the water was too hot and she looked like a lobster. Unfortunately, the spa scene did not make it to the reel.”

There is a still photo, however.  Check moment 5:56 of this video clip, with Dolly and lots of bubbles in that hot tub.