How Social Media Saved the Saco Drive-In

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Ry RussellThe Saco Drive-In was at risk of going out of business. New movies were being released in digital format, requiring a nearly $100,000 investment in a digital projector.

However, Honda’s Project Drive-In was going to provide the needed projectors to five drive-ins around the country. Ry Russell, one of the owners of the Saco Drive-In went to work, leveraging social media to get the word out.

Hear how he used social media to save New England’s oldest drive-in in this episode of The Marketing Agents Podcast.

Big Ideas:

  • To save the Saco Drive-In, Ry needed to win a popularity contest by leveraging social media.
  • Honda was donating 5 digital projectors to drive-ins across country with contest.
  • The Saco Drive-In had 19,000 fans on Facebook, but the competition could pull from a bigger population compared to Saco, Maine.
  • In 4 weeks, the drive-in added 8,000 fans. The also alerted people through a regular dose of reminder posts, calls to votes, and asked people to just share the message to save New England’s oldest drive-in.
  • Ry also gave away free drive-in schwag, and added 250-500 shares per post. Each post reached 35-85k people!
  • To build up the fan base and list quickly, Ry spent $20-$40 on promoted posts on Facebook. Those promoted posts showed up in fans’ news feeds. It’s critical to get into the news feed, and spending money to get there was required.
  • When thinking of ads, promote your message and think of the Facebook news feed. It’s easy for fans to click “like” or share message. The drive-in asked people to share and contribute to “making history.” Shares skyrocketed because of this approach.
  • Many Facebook users see promotions as just part of regular news feed without standing out or being pushy.
  • Ry had to make it easy for people to access info for campaign. Got new website up and running and drove traffic with social media chatter. Had a sales page that encouraged a “partner” status for fans. They also mixed online with offline strategies.
  • Every marketing strategy should build commitment and open dialogue with fans/customer base.

Juicy Links:

Rich Brooks
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  • J Sandifer

    Great episode Rich and Ry!

    • Thanks, J! It’s a compelling story, that’s for sure.