SoMe Inaugural Insights Event Features Stephen Strong, VP of Marketing at ParkWhiz

Posted on June 28, 2013

SoMe kicked off its Insight event series on Friday, May 31, with a talk from Stephen Strong, VP of marketing at ParkWhiz. Aalap Shah & Madhavi Rao, co-founders of SoMe Connect originally conceived SoMe Insights as an opportunity for the team to learn best practices and other meaningful tactics from companies and organizations that were successful on social media. However, as planning began and speakers were selected, both co-founders realized that there was an opportunity to create meaningful dialogue around social for the greater Chicago community and opened up the series to the public. The focus for the event now is to showcase successful companies and actionable insights on a monthly basis and providing a forum for the greater business community to ask questions and talk with these thought leaders.

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Strong and colleague, James Sims, ParkWhiz communications manager, discussed consumer advocacy and the integral role it plays in marketing a company. ParkWhiz, a Chicago-based company that allows you to reserve parking spots online, has an impressive online following with over 7,000 vocal and active Facebook fans. But a good company knows, Facebook ‘Likes’ are just the beginning, which is why Strong and Sims stressed the importance of giving a voice to your users.

One way ParkWhiz equips their users, is by providing a forum for them to review parking garages where they’ve reserved spots. ParkWhiz uses these reviews to collect information on consumer preferences, which helps them better understand their users. In addition, ParkWhiz reports their findings to parking garage staff, who are historically disconnected from their users.

When reviewing or creating a new online marketing plan for your business, consider how easy or hard it is for your users to express themselves. If you’re not getting much in the way of consumer feedback, dig deeper. Strong and Sims say they make a point to shout out all the parking garages they work with, especially the smaller ones. While these garages don’t have the biggest following, they’re often more receptive and vocal than their larger competitors. The takeaway: Your audience may be scattered across smaller networks and forums, but they should not be discounted. ParkWhiz has found success in pulling fan content from smaller sites and sharing it where they have their biggest online presence, Facebook.

SoMe Insight events will take place each month at Enerspace Co-Working conveniently located right off the Morgan Pink/Green lines. Need more motivation? Chicago food truck staples, Bombay Wraps and Flirty Cupcakes food, were on hand to feed the events 60+ attendees. Mark your calendars for our upcoming speakers! You do not want to miss this all-star lineup. Info on sign-up and topics to come soon.

July 26, 2013: David Gardner, ColorJar

August 23, 2013: Tim Bruno, Corporate Execute Board

September 27, 2013: Maria Katris, Built In Chicago

October 25, 2013: Mike McGee, Starter League

November 20, 2013: Ankur Thakkar, Chicago Mayor’s Office