When it comes to social media marketing, a lot of businesses focus on the marketing and the media and leave out the social. But if you want to see what a difference social media can make for you, try putting the “social” front and center.
One business that does this better than just about anyone in the Central Valley is the entertainment monthly newspaper ModestoView, driven by its senior editor and social media manager Ruben Porras and the alterego he has created, ModestoFamous.
“I've sort of made it not just my job but my life to promote the Modesto area,” Porras said.
Porras’ strategy is to make it seem as if he is everywhere his followers want to be. He takes them behind the scenes to give them access to information they might not get anywhere else.
“The biggest thing for us is that people feel special,” Porras said. “Our posts take them on a ride. We take them on an adventure with us wherever we go. We're playful with it.”
ModestoView hosts contests and special events for Brenden Theaters, the Gallo Center, the State Theatre and other businesses in downtown Modesto and posts them on social media platforms. One party at Serrano Social Club, a coffee shop in Modesto, was especially popular online.
“I took some pictures, and then I went 'hey we're at a private party,'” Porras remembered. “People really love that place. It's a hipster, popular place. We got a ton of feedback on that on Facebook. People kind of felt like they were invited to that private party. Like they were looking behind the scenes at a business to see what goes on. People really enjoy that kind of thing. They want to know what's happening.”
While Porras has built a following on Facebook and Instagram, he said the local community there has slowed down, and he’s run into too much drama and spam. In the past couple months, Porras has noticed activity in Modesto has caught fire on Twitter.
“I just think Twitter is the greatest because it just makes sense,” Porras said. “Short easy posts, people can grab them and share them easily. You can put the feed on your website. It's a great way to get things going. But the biggest problem I have is explaining to people that, sure, you can set up your Twitter accounts, but you need to keep them thriving. And a lot of people get discouraged right away because they don't get a zillion followers.”
One reason Porras, 37, is so popular is that at a time when so many things are manipulated or fake online, he openly shares his personal life, including his struggle with cancer and liver disease. He underwent a transplant four years ago and has suffered a setback recently. He has written about it online, and people have responded.
“One day I was having a really crappy day, and I posted it on Facebook: 'This is one of the hardest days I've had to deal with,' Porras recalled. “And a local musician showed up to play for me in my apartment.”
Porras gives much of the credit for his success to ModestoView’s publisher Chris Murphy, who started the paper in 1997.
"We bring social media to life. And Chris allows us to do it. He gives us the resources. Any success that I've had in the community is not me. I'm good at what I do, but it's all teamwork,” Porras said. “In a situation like mine where I am sick and time is short and time is precious, getting to do these special things is pretty nice.”
You can follow Porras on Twitter at @ModestoFamous and the newspaper at @ModestoView.