Cedar Park: Local Businesses Use Social Media to Promote the Arts

Jon Bekken sits behind the counter.
Jon Bekken sits behind the counter.
Jon Bekken sits behind the counter.

Like many businesses on Baltimore Avenue, those in Cedar Park often use social media to reach out to customers and to promote the arts. Tools like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare can be particularly useful to business owners who wish to inform customers of store sales and special events.

The Marvelous! Records, formerly located on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus at 40th and Locust streets, moved to 4916 Baltimore Ave. in July 2012. David Koch and his fellow co-owners have used social media tools to get customers in the new neighborhood better acquainted with the records store and the musical culture it offers.

“We had Facebook, and slowly it started picking up,” Koch said. “All the followers click on you, and they ‘like’ you. You put up YouTube videos and sales pictures. Stuff that’s playing in the store, stuff you have in the store. If you get new releases, stuff you order, just lay it out on the floor and take a picture.”

While the Marvelous! Records does have a Twitter account, it has not been updated in over a year. Koch said the social media site was not particularly effective at providing the visual aspect the store needs for its promotion. He explained that the store’s old website design was “archaic” and its email lists proved ineffective.

“[Facebook] was way easier than sending out mass emails which is what we used to do,” Koch said. “Facebook was just kind of the easy way to go.”

 A customer browsed in the children's stacks at Bindlestiff Books.
A customer browsed in the children’s stacks at Bindlestiff Books.

Bindlestiff Books, located at 4530 Baltimore Ave., is a volunteer-run, independent bookstore which has discovered the benefits of using social media. Co-owner Jon Bekken described Bindlestiff as a “community” bookstore that has reached out to its customers with the help Facebook.

“We have a Facebook page, which we invite people to ‘like,’” Bekken said. “We post events. Sometimes if we’re doing a sale or something like that, we’ll put that on the page. A new arrival of remainder books . . .”

The most recent event promoted on the store’s page was free and featured author Pete Jordan who was on tour with his new non-fiction release, In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist.

Unlike Koch, Bekkon said he has seen some benefits from the store’s emailing lists.

“The email list is low-traffic, but a lot of customers have given us their email,” Bekkon said. “We’ve got a few hundred names on it.”

Although both business owners have differing views on the emailing lists, both of their stores use Facebook as its primary website and marketing tool to reach a broader clientele base.

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