Situation/Problem:There was no overall website that freely distributed business profiles and information through social media about the city of Asheville, N.C. in a way that was neutral and non-competitive. Anyone looking for general information would eventually wind up in the traditional marketing spin or on a site that promoted someone’s product or service. Almost any web site that mentioned the city was in support of one brand or another. For example: there was a real need for independent restaurant reviews, club reviews, and event reviews that didn’t involve the owners’ touting their own products or services. *Note: There are several great resources in the Asheville area, but AskAsheville took an open networking approach to media distribution by giving businesses a complimentary platform and visitors a free resource. For example: AskAsheville freely advertised thousands of local businesses through their custom search engine and Quicklinks when the site was originally launched.
Target/Solution: When AskAsheville.comwas created by the owner’s of G Social Media it was intended to be a neutral source of information for anything that involved the city of Asheville, N.C. and serve as a showcase example of how successful social media can be if done right. The site specifically targets social media users and the sites main platform is social media and how the site is promoted. The target was anyone who might have a question about Asheville but didn’t want a specific sales pitch.
Results to Date: www.AskAsheville.comhas become one of leading sources of independent information about the city of Asheville, N.C. The site serves as an example of how social media can create a business from nothing more than an idea and proper use of the platform as a marketing vehicle. Because of its success the web site is now connected to the Asheville Citizen-Times, the largest daily in western North Carolina. Today the website has 1,300Facebook fans, and more than 10,000 followers on Twitter out of a population of just (70k) for the city of Asheville. The site also has the biggest YouTube channel in western North Carolina with over 413,000 combined views, 352 subscribers, and over 450 different videos showing the many different angles of life in Asheville, N.C.