Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Product Update: Admin Features, On Sale Filters, Show Papering, Giveaway Emails & More!

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Our regular Product Updates give you a rundown of the features and bug fixes that were rolled out over the past week, plus a look ahead to some of the bigger changes that are on the way.

Farewell, Old Features!

Radmin or Admin? One can get confused about where to do what - especially since a lot of the features up and running in Radmin are still alive in Admin.


So, we've decided to put an end to that nonsense.

Tomorrow morning, we'll be removing many of the duplicate features from Admin to cut down on the mumbo jumbo and ensure that you won't be wasting your valuable time on obsolete processes:
  • Adding Events
  • Editing Events
  • Adding bands
  • Setting up RSVPs
  • Setting up Giveaways
  • Setting up Slideshows
  • Custom CSS
  • Voting
  • RSVP Lists
  • RSVP Emails
  • Setting up Advertisements
  • Editing Giveaways
  • Accessing Opt-in Emails
Say hello to a cleaner world of content management! And please give us a shout if you or any member of your team has questions about where or how to access these features in Radmin.

Hello, On Sale Filters!

Each metro should be pushing out a new 'Just Announced' or 'Big On Sales' list weekly (example) - and we're going to save you a ton of time in building yours: You can now filter Approved Events by 'Upcoming On Sales' to see all of your events with an on sale date any time in the future.


Then, all you need to do to build your user is vote on the headiest shows and you're ready to roll. That's a quality content feature in 10 minutes, yo.

Updates Updates Updates:

You can now select all visible giveaway winners at once. This is going to be crucial when papering shows. Simply check the 'Mark All Displayed Winners' box to select every visible winner and you're set. The days of checking each individual box are over.


Please note: The 'Pick Winners' module displays every entrant selected as a winner plus 100 random entrants. So, if you had 300 entrants for a giveaway and you need to make everyone a winner, you'll need to:
  • Load the 'Pick Winners' screen
  • Select 'Mark All Displayed Winners'
  • Refresh your screen
  • Repeat the process until all 300 winners are selected
  • Click 'Notify Winners' and send.

Content Grouping:

We implemented Content Grouping in Google Analytics. Content Grouping allows you to pull together and analyze reporting data across a certain type of page on your site (event, venue, user, etc). To access these content groups in Google Analytics, go to Behavior --> Site Content --> All Pages, and then select the Page Type content grouping. From there, you can click any of the content groups to see traffic to only those types of pages.

Please note: This just went live yesterday, so you'll only be able to use it for data from here onward.

Home Improvements:

You can now edit the Advertiser field on a Featured Venue Widget. In the past, creating a new widget also created a new advertiser that was linked forever to that widget. Now, metros can easily assign an advertiser to a widget in the same manner as other ad units - and metros can also assign multiple widgets to the same advertiser, if so desired.

Did you make an awesome list? We can now transform that user into a national user in a matter of seconds. Profile information, photo, artist follows and vanity URL (if possible) will all carry over - so if you spent your morning building a 'Pitchfork's Most Anticipated Artists of 2015' user and want to save other metros the trouble, just slack the user our way.

The 'Ask if Minimum Age?' box for giveaways is now unchecked by default. Now you only have to check the box if you need it. Note - this box becomes unchecked the moment the giveaway becomes 'active' - so if you're scoring this product update at home, make sure you're only checking this on active giveaways. ;)

Big Bug Fixes:

Emails added to the Giveaway Email(s) fields will appear correctly when notifying venues. The 'To' field in 'Notify Venue' emails will now display the sum of all emails added to both of the Giveaway Email(s) fields - in the giveaway module and the venue's page.

Event descriptions will always carry over whenever copying events. There was a bug that was causing copies of events to be description-less, which resulted in more work for CMs. No longer, though!

We fixed two bugs caused by sharing Spanish-language events - and also made an edit to HazDF's band notifications.


We've adjusted our bounce rate to only include users who have been on a page for 15 seconds or less. In the past, a bounce included any single visit to the site - no matter how long. However, we wanted bounces to only reflect visitors who didn't seem to find what they were looking for. Now, for example, a user who clicks on a p/page from social, spends 10 minutes reading it and then closes the site to go back to work will no longer be counted as a bounce.



Who has questions? Who has comments? We hope these new features make your day, week, site and city considerably more awesome.
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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tools & Tricks: Improved Comedy & EDM Scrapers, Plus Page Makeovers

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Our regular Tools & Tricks updates bring you badass tips from the Delivery team for making the most of the DoStuff platform, growing your audience, and improving your daily workflow.

For this Tools & Tricks update, we've got a hack for adding more comedy and EDM Events, plus some tips for improving content on your site while building up local relationships at the same time.

Improved Comedy & Nightclub Scrapers Through Cvent

Through a conversation that came to us from Jay up at Do206, we were approached by Cvent about improving Events that they sell tickets for on their sites -- TuneStub.com, LaughStub.com, and ElectroStub.com.

Their rep did an audit of our Network and found that some venues that they do ticketing for have partial Event listings, or no Event listings at all. Two weak spots of ours — comedy and EDM/nightlife listings — are especially susceptible.

See LA nightclub, Emerson Theatre, below. The current page on DoLA shows zero events, while ElectroStub.com lists at least three ticketed events per week.


Scraping Events From Cvent Sites

Obviously wanting their ticketed Events to show up correctly on DoStuff sites, Cvent offered us a little extra help in setting up Scrapers for their venue pages and fixing these discrepancies.

First, their rep emailed over a comprehensive list of every venue on their platform so we could compare their listings to their own. Then, our team set up scripts for every metro so that new Scrapers can be set up instantly for any venue on the Cvent sites.

Before you start setting up any of these improved Scrapers, however, you’re first going to want to check them against your current set up. Open up the venue list from Cvent and sort alphabetically by city or state to find links to venues in your metro (keep in mind that more than one city may apply here -- like Brooklyn or Santa Monica).

If you compare the venue page on TuneStub/LaughStub/ElectroStub to the one on your site and find that you’re missing a lot of Events, you should set up a new Scraper in Radmin to scrape Cvent's site from now on.


Using the Emerson Theatre as an example, you would go to the Scraper page in Radmin (Radmin > Events > Scrapers) and click the “New Scraper” button. In the form above you would want to add:

  1. Venue: The venue that this Scraper will be attached to on your site
  2. URL: The URL for the Cvent site where the Scraper will pull from
  3. Category: The Category for the Events that are being scraped
  4. Script: Choose the script for the corresponding Cvent site (the correct Tunestub script is named “Tunestub (shows)”

Then check “Active”, hit “Next”, and you’re ready to go.

It will take some time to browse through all the Venue pages to compare listings, so there is no rush here. We just want you to know this is available as a way to improve your Event listings, especially for comedy and EDM Events.

Event, Venue, and Artist Page Makeovers

Inspired by an article we read about About.Me’s CEO personally improving up to 50 random user profiles per week, we thought we’d suggest adopting a similar “makeover” initiative for user-created content on your sites.

It’s just a fact, user-added Event pages often look pretty shitty (see below). It’s great if people are using your site to promote their Events, but if the page looks like it was put together by your grandma it’s going to make you -- and them -- (and you) look bad in the long run.



If you spot an Event page, Venue page, or Artist profile on your site that looks like it could use some TLC, reach out to them 1-on-1 and offer to give it a makeover free of charge. Oftentimes all that's needed is to swap the Event poster out for an HD cover image. Or sometimes the Event description just needs some work.

Same goes for Venue and Artist pages. You can’t expect local bands and venues to share links to a page that looks ugly. Offer to overhaul their page with high-quality content and then share a few tips for making the most of the DoStuff platform.  If an artist or venue doesn't have HD, magazine-quality images that you can use, offer to send one of your photographers to a show and share the photos with them afterward. Nine times out of ten you will get an enthusiastic “yes”.

This 1-on-1 outreach not only improves the look of your site, it builds up good will that will pay off in the long run. As your local community gets more familiar with your site, they'll link to it more often -- driving up your audience numbers and SEO rankings. 

We try to automate as much as possible around here, but sometimes there’s just no substitute for the old-fashioned white glove treatment.
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How You (and the network) Did Last Week - 1/26/15

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Happy Monday,

Today marks the 30th edition of the Weekly KPI Report, and with each passing update, we get more and more interesting (to me, at least) data to sift through.

So if you're not too busy creating your Super Bowl Lists, take take a trip to the Pacific Northwest for this Winner of the Week:

Do206's Year of the RSVP. Screw the sheep (not literally); 2015 is officially the year of the RSVP in Seattle. Do206 had their highest week of site traffic to date by far, beating their previous weekly record by 33%. Far and away, the largest culprit for this increase was their Car2Go RSVP event, which had nearly 3X traffic compared to their homepage during the week.

The fact that this surge in traffic happened exactly a year after Do206's soft launch made me think - how big of an impact did RSVPs play in Seattle's first year?

To gauge this, I took the number of each on-site interactions (Win/Buy/Add/RSVP) and computed the correlation with Do206's amount of site traffic. A correlation of positive 1 would mean that site traffic would increase perfectly in line with the number of clicks on RSVP/Win/etc. A correlation of negative 1 would mean that site traffic would decrease in direct proportion to the number of clicks on RSVP/Win/etc.

The results:

Correlation w/ Traffic
RSVP0.73
BUY0.56
ADD0.15
WIN0.09

You can see that clicks on RSVP has the strongest positive correlation with traffic. Of course, this won't be the same for every market. For example, Do617 just had their highest week of traffic thanks to a viral NKOTB giveaway, so their traffic is much more correlated with giveaways. What this does say though, is that when Seattle ran RSVPs, their traffic was high. Simple as that.

And that's a lesson that applies to old markets and new alike. Just ask Do312, who had their highest week of traffic in 4+ months primarily due to this RSVP.

With all of that in mind, check out the updated Weekly KPI report, and think about ways that you can start increasing the number in that RSVP column.
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Friday, January 23, 2015

Metro News: Reorganizing Your Giveaways For More Clicks, Do502’s FREE WEEK, and more

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Our regular Metro News updates highlight big wins, cool ideas, and notable events from around the Network so you can stay up to date on what your counterparts around the U.S., Canada, and Mexico are doing.

It’s been a while since our last metro news update in December so we have plenty of catching up to do. Here’s what your fellow metros have been up to over the past month.


Do512 Reorganizes Their Giveaways Page

By default most of your giveaways pages (a.k.a. “WIN STUFF”) are sorted by date. This makes sense, right? Users want to see what giveaways are coming up the soonest.

Wrong.

Do512 ran a test to see if sorting their WIN STUFF page by popularity instead would have any effect. Their hunch was that users are more interested in winning stuff that’s badass than they are worried about what’s being given away this week.

Their hunch seems to be right. Since switching the WIN STUFF page to sort by popularity, the exit rate for the page has slightly decreased while the time on page has dropped by 25%. That means that people are finding what they’re looking for faster, and then visiting other pages on the site at a higher rate. Win, win, win.

Doing the same thing on your giveaways page is simple. Just go to that user’s details page in Radmin and click “Edit”. At the bottom click on the Promo Options drop-down for advanced settings and check “Sort by Pop”. All done.


Do502 FREE WEEK Coming

Inspired by what goes down here in Austin every January, Do502 is co-producing Louisville’s first ever Free Week next Tues-Sat.

Do502 has teamed up with WFPK and LEO Weekly to put on 5 nights of shows, each at a different venue. It’s a great way to support the local music scene at a time when big, national tours are traditionally at a low.

AND since Do502 organized the event series, all the RSVPs go through their site. As of the time this was written, they’ve gotten over 300 RSVPs for all shows.

It’s a humble beginning, but Do502 certainly has big plans to grow the series as the years go on. If the first annual Free Week has 5 nights of shows and two co-sponsors, just imagine where this will be a few years from now.

If you want to find out more about how this project got off the ground, hit up DoStuff Support or Jeffrey and Lizi at Do502.

Other News

Here's a quick rundown of other big happenings around the Network.

  • Mandrella Gets Interviewed: Speaking of Free Week, did you check out Matt Mandrella’s interview on Austin’s KXAN?
  • Do617’s Budweiser Bru Cru Pitch: Do617 put together a proposal for the Boston Bruins and Anheuser-Busch for game watch parties that feature live music. If you’ve ever thought of something similar, check out this pitch deck.
  • Do512’s A-B 2014 Recap: Do512 did a TON of programming with A-B in 2014. Check out this nice recap they put together for their partners over there.
  • Do214’s Fashion Boutique: Do214 did a sponsored blog post series with a local boutique that went really well. Check out this deck to see the results.
  • Do416’s “Discover 416” Series: Do416 sold a “Discover 416” event series to a local brewery this April. Check out the deck they used to pitch it.
  • January Anniversaries: We have a lot of DoAnniversaries this month
    • Do617 turned 1 on Jan. 7th!
    • Do415 turned 3 on Jan. 20th!
    • Do206 turns 1 on Jan. 24th!

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Product Update: Artist Clean-Up Edition

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Our regular Product Updates give you a rundown of the features and bug fixes that were rolled out over the past week, plus a look ahead to some of the bigger changes that are on the way.

We are cleaning up our network's 'Artists' lists.

We're rolling out a plan to hide bad artists from search. Read on to find out how.


Not every 'Artist' in our network is an actual artist.

No, this is not an argument for musical authenticity or artistic integrity.

What we mean is this: There are quite a few duplicated, misspelled or otherwise incorrectly created artists - many of which are actually collaborations between artists (see above).

These artists clog up the list of suggestions when searching our sites or adding artists to events - and they make us look bad.

But we're putting an end to all that.


Tomorrow, we'll be running a script to sort all Artists into two groups: 'legit' and 'non-legit.'

A band is 'legit' if any of these conditions is TRUE at the time of checking its legitimacy:

1) The band is part of ANY festival
2) The band has ANY of these things: a facebook ID, a facebook URL, a description, a hometown, or an image
3) The band has ANY events from the past 6 months forward
4) The band has MORE THAN ONE event ever

Legit artists will behave the same way that you're used to.

Non-legit artists will behave the same way except:
- They will not appear when adding bands (front-end and radmin)
- They will not appear in front-end search
- They will not appear in Radmin search unless 'non-legit artists' is checked or (coming soon) you're searching for the purposes of merging artists.

Non-legit bands will still have pages and links on the front-end - you just won't be able to find their pages through search.

Want to make a non-legit artist legit? Simply edit the Artists' page in Radmin and check the 'Legit' box,



We'll be kicking this off tomorrow - and updating these lists every night so your metro stays updated.

None of this will effect your day-to-day work at all. It will just make your life easier and your site more awesome.

What does everyone think? Let us know! We want your feedback - and, as always, please let us know if anything looks incorrect to you once this gets rolled out.
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How You (and the network) Did Last Week - 1/19/15

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Hi League of Do,

I'll cut right to the chase and showcase an interesting email phenomenon in this mid-January Winner of the Week:

Do214 - The New Location for Bonnaroo (kinda). Dallas' previous high water mark for unique clicks in their newsletter was 685. They average 474 weekly clicks in their newsletter. Last week? They got 1,161 unique clicks. They also received more opens than ever before. 

This kind of jump isn't completely unprecedented. Ticket giveaways to really important festivals or other similar HUGE announcements can often cause clicks and opens to spike. What's interesting about Do214 is that 74% of their clicks came from a link to their list of Bonnaroo acts that were playing shows in Dallas. So that's 859 clicks to a piece of content about a festival hundreds of miles away.

So what caused it to be a success? It's not going so far as mentioning the festival in your email. New YorkLouisvilleSan Francisco, and Chicago alldid that without similar results. And it's more than just leading with that piece of content, as Toronto did this as well without out-of-the-ordinary results.

Instead, Do214 not only opened their newsletter with the Bonnaroo In Your Town content, but they also made it seem like Bonnaroo was actually happening in Dallas. Their email subject line started with "Bonnaroo in Dallas," and the copy was repeated in the very opening of their email. And while this may seem a little click bait-y, bounce rate for the content was only 47%, which is slightly lower than their site-wide bounce rate, so their audience found the content plenty useful. And the end result was that their Bonnaroo in Dallas content got more traffic than any other of the "Bonnaroo in [Metro]" content pieces across the network.

We create, design, and automate these kinds of "[Festival] In Your Town" content pieces all the time for all metros, so next time you have the opportunity to push them in your newsletter, think about following Do214's lead to get maximum clicks and opens.
And with that, check out your stats for last week, and hit us up if there were any big wins in your market that we missed!
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How You (and the network) Did Last Week - 1/12/15

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Hello!

Despite the frigid temperatures sweeping the country, people still found time to do some pretty great stuff last week. 

But before we dive into that, one update note about the Weekly KPI Update spreadsheet. Now that a majority of our metros have been on the new site platform for a year, you'll begin seeing year over year numbers for the Win/Buy/Add/RSVP clicks.

This should hopefully be helpful as you're looking at what your metro did last year to successfully drive traffic, and comparing it to your content plans for 2015. Reach out if you have any questions on how to best dig into that data.

With that, the Winner of the Week this time goes to....

Do502! There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but Louisville is proving that doesn't apply to shows. Do502 took it upon themselves (as well as partnering with a few other local media properties)  to start the inaugural Free Week at a handful of venues in the area. And while starting small made the organization of the events manageable, the 5-day extravaganza is already paying dividends on Do502's site. 

Not counting their launch party week, last week had the highest traffic to site and largest increase of new users since Do502 went live. Also, their promoted Facebook post touting the week's festivities resonated above and beyond any of their other posts, getting 190 likes, 43 shares, and 95 Do502 page likes.

All of this shouldn't come as a huge surprise, since Free Week has long been an institution in Austin, and Do512's Free Week page has been their 5th most popular content piece on their site since we began tracking weekly stats in early June.

Since this is the first year for Do502 to pull off a free week, they're looking to prove its success to the venues/artists/partners involved. Then they can move on to the ultimate goal of creating a Free Week in their market - selling a presenting sponsorship for serious cash. And at the least, they'll be able to run RSVPs to all the free week shows they put on in the future, and capture the influx of users.

Think you could start a Free Week in your city, run some RSVPs, and sell it to a brand? Reach out, and we'd be happy to provide you with even more details on how it works in Austin and Louisville.
Check out your updated stats in the Weekly KPI report below, and continue to start off a strong 2015!

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Why Would You NOT Fucking Do That: Do312’s Targeted Email Lists

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This part of a series lovingly titled WWYNFDT?! -- or, “Why Would You NOT Fucking Do That?!” This series highlights great ideas that were conceived by one of your fellow metros and turned into a big win. Every one of these ideas is easy to copy in your own metro -- and will hopefully earn you similar results.

This WWYNFDT?! post comes to us from the team at Do312. As one of the older metros in the Network, Chicago has built up a ton of subscribers to its weekly Top Picks email. At last count Do312 had nearly 170,000 emails.

There are a lot of promoters out there without the budget to pay for a dedicated email blast to their entire list, so Jeremy and his team have come up with a creative way to sell dedicated emails targeted at only a segment of subscribers -- and make both their advertisers and users happier in the process.

The Problem With Dedicated Blasts

While they’re an important source of revenue no matter what size your metro is, dedicated email blasts become increasingly costly for your partners as you grow.

We strongly recommend you set your rack  price for dedicated emails at a $100 CPM (cost per thousand subscribers). That means you’re asking five grand per email at 50,000 subscribers. At 150,000 you’re asking fifteen grand. There are not a lot of straight up event promoters with that type of per show budget, unless you are looking at a festival or other major event. .

The other problem with dedicated blasts that we’re all familiar with is that they can really hurt your unsubscribe rate. Your users understand that they’re going to see some advertised content in addition to your curated top picks, but if dedicated emails start showing up in their inbox too often or feel irrelevant to them they’re going to tune out.

Do312’s Targeted Email Campaigns

Do312’s new dedicated email strategy attacks both of these problems by segmenting out smaller lists that fit the advertiser’s budget and only target relevant users.

When an advertiser comes to Do312 looking to buy an email blast, instead of starting with a quote for their entire list Jeremy talks with them about their budget and their intended audience.

With this info, Jeremy can then tell them about how many emails they can expect to reach and what a package would look like. The CPM is always consistent, but he can craft a campaign that works for both the advertiser and Do312 instead of squeezing them into a one-size-fits-all email blast.


How Do312 then picks the emails to target is the really important part. Just pulling 2,000 or 5,000 emails out from a list of 170,000 at random can be risky. You don’t really know how well the campaign will perform and there’s a chance you could piss off one of your partners -- not to mention annoy users and hike up your unsubscribe rate.

So Do312 looks to data that’s already sitting in front of them -- past events and RSVPs on the site -- to pull together a list of usernames and emails that would be interested in the promotion. It’s a way of cherry picking the best demographics for a promotion so users see dedicated blasts that are relevant to them and Do312 gets to report better than expected engagement.

Everyone walks away happy.

How to Create Targeted Email Segments

According to Jeremy at Do312, the most crucial part of this strategy is finding the right emails. It takes a bit of creativity and a bit of scrappiness to pull together a targeted segment of the users on your site.

If the dedicated blast revolves around live music, the easiest place to start is by searching for past events in your metro that included that band or bands. You can be fairly certain that if someone voted on a show with that band in the past, they’re going to be interested in knowing when that band is back in town.

To pull the emails for everyone that RSVP’d for a past show, log into Radmin* and head to the Approved Events queue. Use the Filters drop-down to search for the Event, being sure to check the “Recent Past Events” box.

*NOTE: RSVPs have been moved completely over to Radmin, but exporting votes have not. For now you will need to use old Admin to find votes. This post will be updated in the coming weeks once exporting votes has been integrated into Radmin.

When you find the show you want, click on the cog icon on the far right and select “RSVP” from the drop-down to open up the RSVP modal. Select the “List” tab and click on “Download Email List”. This will download a .txt file to your hard drive that can then be copy-pasted into Google Sheets or Excel to sort out the emails.


If you want to pull emails for everyone that voted for a show -- or if the show didn’t have an RSVP -- you can now do that through Radmin as well.

Once you find the right show in Radmin, click on the cog wheel icon in the Approved Queue or on the Event details page and select “Export Votes”. An email containing a .CSV file will be sent to your inbox immediately.

If you can’t pull enough emails by searching for just a single band, think of other similar bands that might have a common audience. Promoting a show for Arcade Fire? Try pulling emails for fans of other big indie rock acts like The National or Interpol.

If the event non-music related, like a restaurant opening, you’ll have to get really creative. What are past RSVPs or festivals that you could pull from to find the right audience for this campaign? Which events in your metro tend to pull the type of crowd you’re going after?

In the end, you’re going to want to build a list with about 30% to 40% more emails than what you sold to advertiser. This is because MailChimp will automatically scrub duplicates and users that have since unsubscribed, leaving you with a smaller list than you imported.

Creating Your Segments in Mailchimp

Once you have your list of emails, the next step is creating a new list segment in MailChimp. It’s important that you use the segments feature in MailChimp instead of creating new lists each time or you’ll start getting charged for more users.

To create a new segment, click on your primary list and under the “Manage subscribers” section click the segments button (see below). Create a new segment and click on the link in the top right that says “create a segment from a list of emails”. Paste in all the emails you downloaded from Radmin into this box and press “Save Segment”.


Once the segment is created, you’ll be able to see how many emails you’re left with after duplicates and unsubscribed users have been omitted. If it’s less than you sold, you’ll need to find more users in Admin to target. It’s it’s way more than you sold, you should pare down the segment to match what the advertiser paid for.

When you’re ready to send the dedicated blast, just select “Send to a saved segment” when you set up the campaign and find the proper segment.

The End Results

Not surprisingly, Do312 has reported that these targeted email campaigns well outperform their weekly Top Picks emails. A recent targeted blast like this produced an open rate of 20% -- roughly double what they see for the list as a whole.

A Goose Island email blast targeted only at users who RSVP'd for a previous Goose event had a 40% open rate!

That's some serious value for your event partners, and the type of numbers that are going to keep them coming back well into the future.

And before you think this is a strategy to try when you hit 150,000 subscribers, we're confident that this will work in any metro. There are promoters and brands all over your city that are looking to reach new fans but don't have an easy way to do so.

By putting together a targeted segment of your users that's sized to their budget, you're providing a service that no one can match in your city -- not even Facebook.

Why would you NOT fucking do that?!
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Monday, January 19, 2015

Product Update: January 19th Edition

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Our regular Product Updates give you a rundown of the features and bug fixes that were rolled out over the past week, plus a look ahead to some of the bigger changes that are on the way.

Also - a quick note before we begin: These posts will be coming from me (Johnny) from now on - and I'd love your feedback. Let me know if you'd prefer this information presented any differently!

Dev has been working some magic. We're rolling out a bunch of changes later in the afternoon. Read on to see what's up.


Giveaway management is coming to Radmin.



  • You can now pick winners directly from Radmin. Be careful. The 'Notify Winners' functionality works correctly, so no messing around.
  • You can also send your winners directly to promoters. Want to save a promoter's email for easy reference? You can store that information on the respective venue page under 'giveaway emails.'
  • You can now check whether winners have been picked, winners have confirmed or guestlists have been sent. Just peep the teal, yellow and black buttons (respectively) below the event titles.

Also, side note: the 'Giveaway End Date' functionality works now. Giveaways will cease to remain active on the day of their 'End Date.' 

And we're just getting started....

RSVP partners can download their lists directly from the front end at any time. To access these lists, you must be logged onto the site with an email that is listed in the 'Email Guestlist To' field within the RSVP module in Radmin. Then, just click the 'Get RSVP List' button at the bottom right-hand corner of the event cover photo and BOOM! You get an incredibly sexy and easy-to-use .tsv file delivered to your inbox.



Oh, and about that .tsv file... Your days of wrestling with clunky 'RSVP Email List' files are over. Now, when you request an RSVP Email List export, the file delivered to your inbox is (to quote): "a tab-separated file (.tsv), it can be imported directly into Google Drive and will automagically be converted into a Google Spreadsheet that you can do anything you want with. Microsoft Excel works the same way."

RSVPs will remain RSVPs - even when closed. Metros have encountered a variety of issues caused by the fact that, until today, whenever an RSVP has closed it would just turn off - which meant that (1) it would no longer be searchable in Radmin and (2) users who landed on the RSVP page after it had closed would have no idea what was happening unless the event description was manually edited to reflect the closed list. But everything's cool now. When an RSVP closes, it remains an RSVP, displaying the 'closed' message and continuing to be searchable in Radmin as an RSVP.

Users can now delete their accounts from the front end. When editing your profile on the front end, check out that tiny 'Delete Account' button under 'Submit.' Yep, that's how you break our hearts right there. Please note: this will not be available to users with any permissions.

Events can no longer be ongoing and repeating. When creating a new event in Radmin, your first step in the time and date department will now be to select "Single Day Event," "Weekly Repeating" or "Multi Day." 

You can now sort conference lense artist lists by popularity and alphabetical order. Please note: If you see a stray artist at the top of your alphabetical list, that artist's name most likely has a space in the start of its name in Radmin.

More awesome stuff:

The 'Doors' option now exists in Radmin. It even shows on the front end, too.

You can Export Votes in Radmin. Just click the event's COG wheel.

Also: 'Zip Codes' are now included in Vote Exports.

We fixed a huge problem with disappearing text. Now, when you're editing an event in Radmin and click 'Edit Description' you can rest assured: Your changes will be saved! Please note: we are still working on a separate issue related to editing text on the front end - and we hope to have another update for you on that shortly.

The dupes queue now only looks for potential matches within the metro. DoLA noticed events from San Diego appearing in their duplicate queue. This was happening because, for events with external IDs, our system was looking for potential dupes by checking for events with the same external ID instead checking for the same external ID and the same metro ID. That issue has been fixed.

We fixed a bug that, going forward, will eliminate any inconsistencies in Radmin's 'Sort By Popularity' functionality. As these inconsistencies only apply to event popularity numbers saved from today on, please note that over the next few weeks you may still notice some events popping up out of order. If you would like these specific events to appear correctly, all you have to do is re-save the event's popularity and you'll be good to go. If you just do nothing, you'll start to notice less and less out-of-order events with each passing day.

You can now manage categories and shortcuts while using a lense as your activity property. Check out Menu -> Content -> Shortcuts while in the Radmin backend of your conference lense.

What else?

Conference and Conference Category have been added to Radmin event pages. They're in Extras - and please note that Conference Category does not appear until after Conference has been selected.

Rolling over Tastemaker icons displays USERNAME (Display Name) instead of NAME.
Now, when you roll over the icon for Epocha, the word 'Epocha' is displayed as opposed to 'Brandon Ayala.' 

Default RSVP emails now include Vanity URLs (when applicable): Please note that if you customize the RSVP email in any way, you'll still need to drop in your own URL to the body.

We've tweaked the background jobs that push data to our search indexing provider. This was a positive step forward in reducing the amount of times a band name fails to appear in the auto-completer on the front end of the site. Progress!

We set up canonical URLs for your ECP home pages. Much love to SEO. New to Canonical URLs? Here's some background reading.

RSVP Lists Are Now Generated As A Background Job. You can work while you wait! The RSVP list will arrive in your email inbox in a matter of seconds.

Any questions? Are you still there? Do you love DEV?! They're just three men, you know. Doing a lot of awesome stuff. Expect all of these changes to roll out during the afternoon of January 19th - and as always, please let us know if you have any questions!
Read More

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Product Update: Dupe Prevention, Front-end Search Improvement, and Lots of Bug Fixes

3 comments:
Our regular Product Updates give you a rundown of the features and bug fixes that were rolled out over the past week, plus a look ahead to some of the bigger changes that are on the way.

It’s been a while since our last Product Update and we have a lot to cover. For this first update of the New Year, we wanted to share all the little bug fixes and product improvements we worked on over the past month to make your sites bigger, badder, and faster in 2015.




Front-end Dupe Prevention

Because User-created Events get approved automatically, all of our ingenious ways for weeding out dupes in the backend are ineffective against simple human error. If a Venue owner or promoter decides to add an Event that already exists, there’s been nothing stopping them from doing it.

Until now. We’ve added a validation check to the front-end New Event wizard that checks to see if there is already an Event on the same day at the same Venue.

The validation check does not take into consideration start time, band names, or anything else that tends to fluctuate in the weeks leading up to the Event. If it finds a match for date and Venue name, it will return the following prompt.


Nine times out of ten this will be a correct match and the User will realize they were creating a dupe and stop what they're doing (great success!). If there actually is more than one Event taking place at that Venue on that day, the User can just check the confirmation box and resubmit. Easy as that.

Front-end Search Improvements

Over the past months, we finished up a number of small projects to improve front-end search results.

Venue Keyword Search

Until now you could only search for Venues by name. Now, Users can now search for words contained within the Venue description and other parts of the page to find Venues. This means you can potentially search by neighborhood ("Red River") or type of Venue ("rock club") to discover what you're looking for.

Page Keyword Search

We also introduced keyword search for /p/ Pages. This means that if you search for an Artist, it will also list editorial content in addition to the Artist page in the list of suggested results. This also works for content contained within Event descriptions.


Duplicate Results Bug Fix

There was a bug affecting DoLA, Do416, and a few other metros that would return duplicate results for certain users. Both results led to the same page, but it made the list of results confusing. This bug has been fixed.

The Other Bits

Here are the other improvements and bug fixes since our last update:

  • Mail Export Includes Real Names: The Mail Export function (in Old Admin) now includes the User's real name, if it is available. Before only the email address and display name would be exported.
  • Hometown Displayed When Adding Artists: When adding Artists to an Event on the front-end, their hometown is now displayed in parentheses to the right of their name in the drop-down. This is to prevent any confusion with similarly-named Artists.
  • "Are You Or Older?" Bug Fixed: The glitch that caused the question "Are You Or Older?" to display on RSVP's when a minimum age was not entered has been fixed. This now defaults to your metro's legal drinking age if no minimum age is given. If your metro doesn't have a LDA set, it will default to "Are You 21 Or Older?"
  • User CSS Bug Fixed: There was a bug that caused custom CSS settings to disappear for Promo Users on the calendar tab (e.g. "http://doXYZ.com/PromoUser/month_events"). This was flagged to us by KCRW but has now been fixed.
  • Giveaways Page Bug Fixed: There was a bug that caused giveaways to remain on the Giveaways Page even after they were canceled or turned off. The only way to get rid of them was to manually log in and unvote. This process is now done automatically so your Giveaways Page is always up-to-date.
  • Disappearing "Free?" Bug Fixed: There was a bug that caused the "Free?" box to disappear from time to time for copied Events. This is now fixed.
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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tools & Tricks: How to Conquer Instagram in 2015

10 comments:
Our regular Tools & Tricks updates bring you badass tips for making the most of the DoStuff platform and other channels you use to reach your audience.

Instagram is one of the most popular social networks for our target audience, with over 200M monthly active users and about 90% of those under the age of 35 (yes, 9-0).

We've compiled some best practices, professional-grade tools, and online resources to help you create a kickass Instagram strategy and build a loyal following of users.

Best Practices For Instagram

While a lot of companies are active on Instagram, there’s a big difference between just throwing up pictures and building an active and engaged audience. Here are five things to always keep in mind when sharing content on Instagram.

The following is adapted from this post on the official Instagram for Business blog.

Be true to your brand

Be sure that your content expresses a clearly defined personality and voice. Feeds that feel distracted and don’t support a centralized brand message do not engage users.

The head of online marketing and social media at Herschel Supply Co. says to sit down and define your message in one sentence, and try to have every photo feed into that. For Herschel Supply the message is “well travelled”. For the DoStuff Network, that defining sentence would probably be, “Do something awesome today.”

Every photo and video you post to Instagram -- or repost from followers -- should capture that feeling of always experiencing the coolest stuff your city has to offer. If a piece of content doesn’t reach that bar, then it’s not a good fit for your Instagram feed.

A photo posted by @do415 on

Where else would you rather be in San Francisco when the sun is shining?

Share experiences

Offer a view into the lifestyle that your site makes possible through the eyes of the people who use it.

Poler Outdoor Stuff has built a massive following on Instagram by sharing adventure photos from their customers and fans. Through branded hashtags like #CampVibes and #BeneathTheBrim, they encourage followers to share personal adventures with the greater community and then feature the best on the official Poler account.

In a similar way, you can bring real world experiences to life on Instagram. After all, it’s this connection to a particular lifestyle -- one of always being in the right place at the right time -- that make people want to follow you in the first place.

A photo posted by Do512 (@do512) on

Do512's most popular photo from the two weekends of ACL Fest was this shot from the back row of the Calvin Harris show -- not a professional shot taken from the front row

Find beauty everywhere

Show how your metro sees your city and make that feel meaningful to users.

Although music is the backbone of every DoSite, concerts aren’t the only thing we love about living in our cities. Don’t be afraid to share everyday moments that capture what it is you love about your town and the people and businesses that call it home.

A photo posted by DoLA (@hellodola) on

A perfectly composed shot of this morning treat turned into one of DoLA's most engaged posts -- people appreciate the authenticity of those everyday moments

Inspire action

Start a movement around your metro’s Instagram account.

Similar to Poler’s #CampVibes above, Nike encourages followers to tag pictures taken while running with the #RunFree hashtag. Chobani’s followers use the #CreationADay hashtag to show off recipes that use Chobani yogurt.

All of these brands have turned their Instagram followers into active participants in a larger movement. What would that type of participation look like in your metro? Do502 uses the #HowWeLou hashtag to encourage users to share their view of the city. Do317 uses #DoIndyRight. What’s a similar movement that would speak to your users? #SelfieWithTheBand? #DoAwesomeStuff? #ILove(insert area code here)?

A photo posted by Mercury Ballroom (@mercuryballroom) on

Less than a month after Do502's launch, Louisville locals were already tagging their favorite concert photos with #HowWeLou

Know Your Audience

Learn what people love about your site, and explore ways to capture the imagination of new users.

What is it that drives people in your metro to go to your site and open your newsletter? Is it the chance to score those impossible-to-get tickets? Is it the cure for Wednesday night boredom? Is it exploring new pockets of your city every week?

You can’t really understand your audience without talking to them, so ask around. Then use that info to constantly refine how you engage them and how you shape the other strategies above.


Every Chicagoan knows one thing...

Third-party Tools and Apps

If you're still using just your iPhone camera and the official Instagram app to power your metro's Instagram account, we have news for you -- you're behind the times.

Since Instagram doesn't offer brands any way to schedule posts or manage large communities on their official app, a number of great third-party services that have popped up in recent years to help brands step their game up.

And while Instagram's Polaroid-inspired filters may have looked cool in 2011, there are now much more sophisticated apps for creating great looking photos on your phone.

Tools for Managing Your Account

  • Iconosqaure - Formerly known as Statigr.am, Iconosquare offers you a much more complete way to manage your Instagram community. View your feed as a grid, list, or slideshow, respond to comments (with emoji!), search for hashtags, and look up valuable metrics about your followers.
  • Repost - If you're looking for a better way to share cool photos posted by your users (via @hellodola), look to Repost. This mobile app will create a perfectly sized copy of the photo along with an overlay of the originator's username.
  • ScheduGram - Since Instagram doesn't have an official API, it's almost impossible to build a third-party scheduling tool. ScheduGram figured it out, though, through "virtualized" software and other impressive coding tricks. If you're looking for a scheduling tool, this is the best.
  • JustUnfollow - JustUnfollow helps you clean up who you follow and find more relevant people to build your community around.
Tools For Editing Photos


  • VSCO Cam - Long the hush-hush favorite app for professional photographers, VSCO Cam (pronounced "Viz-Co Cam") is the hands-down leader for editing photos on your phone. With a full tool-set for touching up photos and a huge catalog of presets, VSCO Cam will have your photos looking uber cool in no time (via @do314).
  • Instasize - Sometimes the square proportions of Instagram's camera aren't enough to fit everything you want to share (via @do502). Instasize adds a clean, white border to any photo to give it the proper 1:1 dimensions to fit on your Instagram feed.
  • Over - There are times when a photo alone can't tell the whole story. Over lets you add beautiful text and artwork to your shots to paint a complete picture of what you want to say.


You can easily copy the look of HazDF's text overlay using Over

Other Resources

Here are a few more links to bookmark to help you make the most of Instagram. If you have any more you want to share, paste them in the comments below or post them in Slack!



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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Product Update: Admin Features, On Sale Filters, Show Papering, Giveaway Emails & More!

Our regular Product Updates give you a rundown of the features and bug fixes that were rolled out over the past week, plus a look ahead to some of the bigger changes that are on the way.

Farewell, Old Features!

Radmin or Admin? One can get confused about where to do what - especially since a lot of the features up and running in Radmin are still alive in Admin.


So, we've decided to put an end to that nonsense.

Tomorrow morning, we'll be removing many of the duplicate features from Admin to cut down on the mumbo jumbo and ensure that you won't be wasting your valuable time on obsolete processes:
  • Adding Events
  • Editing Events
  • Adding bands
  • Setting up RSVPs
  • Setting up Giveaways
  • Setting up Slideshows
  • Custom CSS
  • Voting
  • RSVP Lists
  • RSVP Emails
  • Setting up Advertisements
  • Editing Giveaways
  • Accessing Opt-in Emails
Say hello to a cleaner world of content management! And please give us a shout if you or any member of your team has questions about where or how to access these features in Radmin.

Hello, On Sale Filters!

Each metro should be pushing out a new 'Just Announced' or 'Big On Sales' list weekly (example) - and we're going to save you a ton of time in building yours: You can now filter Approved Events by 'Upcoming On Sales' to see all of your events with an on sale date any time in the future.


Then, all you need to do to build your user is vote on the headiest shows and you're ready to roll. That's a quality content feature in 10 minutes, yo.

Updates Updates Updates:

You can now select all visible giveaway winners at once. This is going to be crucial when papering shows. Simply check the 'Mark All Displayed Winners' box to select every visible winner and you're set. The days of checking each individual box are over.


Please note: The 'Pick Winners' module displays every entrant selected as a winner plus 100 random entrants. So, if you had 300 entrants for a giveaway and you need to make everyone a winner, you'll need to:
  • Load the 'Pick Winners' screen
  • Select 'Mark All Displayed Winners'
  • Refresh your screen
  • Repeat the process until all 300 winners are selected
  • Click 'Notify Winners' and send.

Content Grouping:

We implemented Content Grouping in Google Analytics. Content Grouping allows you to pull together and analyze reporting data across a certain type of page on your site (event, venue, user, etc). To access these content groups in Google Analytics, go to Behavior --> Site Content --> All Pages, and then select the Page Type content grouping. From there, you can click any of the content groups to see traffic to only those types of pages.

Please note: This just went live yesterday, so you'll only be able to use it for data from here onward.

Home Improvements:

You can now edit the Advertiser field on a Featured Venue Widget. In the past, creating a new widget also created a new advertiser that was linked forever to that widget. Now, metros can easily assign an advertiser to a widget in the same manner as other ad units - and metros can also assign multiple widgets to the same advertiser, if so desired.

Did you make an awesome list? We can now transform that user into a national user in a matter of seconds. Profile information, photo, artist follows and vanity URL (if possible) will all carry over - so if you spent your morning building a 'Pitchfork's Most Anticipated Artists of 2015' user and want to save other metros the trouble, just slack the user our way.

The 'Ask if Minimum Age?' box for giveaways is now unchecked by default. Now you only have to check the box if you need it. Note - this box becomes unchecked the moment the giveaway becomes 'active' - so if you're scoring this product update at home, make sure you're only checking this on active giveaways. ;)

Big Bug Fixes:

Emails added to the Giveaway Email(s) fields will appear correctly when notifying venues. The 'To' field in 'Notify Venue' emails will now display the sum of all emails added to both of the Giveaway Email(s) fields - in the giveaway module and the venue's page.

Event descriptions will always carry over whenever copying events. There was a bug that was causing copies of events to be description-less, which resulted in more work for CMs. No longer, though!

We fixed two bugs caused by sharing Spanish-language events - and also made an edit to HazDF's band notifications.


We've adjusted our bounce rate to only include users who have been on a page for 15 seconds or less. In the past, a bounce included any single visit to the site - no matter how long. However, we wanted bounces to only reflect visitors who didn't seem to find what they were looking for. Now, for example, a user who clicks on a p/page from social, spends 10 minutes reading it and then closes the site to go back to work will no longer be counted as a bounce.



Who has questions? Who has comments? We hope these new features make your day, week, site and city considerably more awesome.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tools & Tricks: Improved Comedy & EDM Scrapers, Plus Page Makeovers

Our regular Tools & Tricks updates bring you badass tips from the Delivery team for making the most of the DoStuff platform, growing your audience, and improving your daily workflow.

For this Tools & Tricks update, we've got a hack for adding more comedy and EDM Events, plus some tips for improving content on your site while building up local relationships at the same time.

Improved Comedy & Nightclub Scrapers Through Cvent

Through a conversation that came to us from Jay up at Do206, we were approached by Cvent about improving Events that they sell tickets for on their sites -- TuneStub.com, LaughStub.com, and ElectroStub.com.

Their rep did an audit of our Network and found that some venues that they do ticketing for have partial Event listings, or no Event listings at all. Two weak spots of ours — comedy and EDM/nightlife listings — are especially susceptible.

See LA nightclub, Emerson Theatre, below. The current page on DoLA shows zero events, while ElectroStub.com lists at least three ticketed events per week.


Scraping Events From Cvent Sites

Obviously wanting their ticketed Events to show up correctly on DoStuff sites, Cvent offered us a little extra help in setting up Scrapers for their venue pages and fixing these discrepancies.

First, their rep emailed over a comprehensive list of every venue on their platform so we could compare their listings to their own. Then, our team set up scripts for every metro so that new Scrapers can be set up instantly for any venue on the Cvent sites.

Before you start setting up any of these improved Scrapers, however, you’re first going to want to check them against your current set up. Open up the venue list from Cvent and sort alphabetically by city or state to find links to venues in your metro (keep in mind that more than one city may apply here -- like Brooklyn or Santa Monica).

If you compare the venue page on TuneStub/LaughStub/ElectroStub to the one on your site and find that you’re missing a lot of Events, you should set up a new Scraper in Radmin to scrape Cvent's site from now on.


Using the Emerson Theatre as an example, you would go to the Scraper page in Radmin (Radmin > Events > Scrapers) and click the “New Scraper” button. In the form above you would want to add:

  1. Venue: The venue that this Scraper will be attached to on your site
  2. URL: The URL for the Cvent site where the Scraper will pull from
  3. Category: The Category for the Events that are being scraped
  4. Script: Choose the script for the corresponding Cvent site (the correct Tunestub script is named “Tunestub (shows)”

Then check “Active”, hit “Next”, and you’re ready to go.

It will take some time to browse through all the Venue pages to compare listings, so there is no rush here. We just want you to know this is available as a way to improve your Event listings, especially for comedy and EDM Events.

Event, Venue, and Artist Page Makeovers

Inspired by an article we read about About.Me’s CEO personally improving up to 50 random user profiles per week, we thought we’d suggest adopting a similar “makeover” initiative for user-created content on your sites.

It’s just a fact, user-added Event pages often look pretty shitty (see below). It’s great if people are using your site to promote their Events, but if the page looks like it was put together by your grandma it’s going to make you -- and them -- (and you) look bad in the long run.



If you spot an Event page, Venue page, or Artist profile on your site that looks like it could use some TLC, reach out to them 1-on-1 and offer to give it a makeover free of charge. Oftentimes all that's needed is to swap the Event poster out for an HD cover image. Or sometimes the Event description just needs some work.

Same goes for Venue and Artist pages. You can’t expect local bands and venues to share links to a page that looks ugly. Offer to overhaul their page with high-quality content and then share a few tips for making the most of the DoStuff platform.  If an artist or venue doesn't have HD, magazine-quality images that you can use, offer to send one of your photographers to a show and share the photos with them afterward. Nine times out of ten you will get an enthusiastic “yes”.

This 1-on-1 outreach not only improves the look of your site, it builds up good will that will pay off in the long run. As your local community gets more familiar with your site, they'll link to it more often -- driving up your audience numbers and SEO rankings. 

We try to automate as much as possible around here, but sometimes there’s just no substitute for the old-fashioned white glove treatment.

How You (and the network) Did Last Week - 1/26/15

Happy Monday,

Today marks the 30th edition of the Weekly KPI Report, and with each passing update, we get more and more interesting (to me, at least) data to sift through.

So if you're not too busy creating your Super Bowl Lists, take take a trip to the Pacific Northwest for this Winner of the Week:

Do206's Year of the RSVP. Screw the sheep (not literally); 2015 is officially the year of the RSVP in Seattle. Do206 had their highest week of site traffic to date by far, beating their previous weekly record by 33%. Far and away, the largest culprit for this increase was their Car2Go RSVP event, which had nearly 3X traffic compared to their homepage during the week.

The fact that this surge in traffic happened exactly a year after Do206's soft launch made me think - how big of an impact did RSVPs play in Seattle's first year?

To gauge this, I took the number of each on-site interactions (Win/Buy/Add/RSVP) and computed the correlation with Do206's amount of site traffic. A correlation of positive 1 would mean that site traffic would increase perfectly in line with the number of clicks on RSVP/Win/etc. A correlation of negative 1 would mean that site traffic would decrease in direct proportion to the number of clicks on RSVP/Win/etc.

The results:

Correlation w/ Traffic
RSVP0.73
BUY0.56
ADD0.15
WIN0.09

You can see that clicks on RSVP has the strongest positive correlation with traffic. Of course, this won't be the same for every market. For example, Do617 just had their highest week of traffic thanks to a viral NKOTB giveaway, so their traffic is much more correlated with giveaways. What this does say though, is that when Seattle ran RSVPs, their traffic was high. Simple as that.

And that's a lesson that applies to old markets and new alike. Just ask Do312, who had their highest week of traffic in 4+ months primarily due to this RSVP.

With all of that in mind, check out the updated Weekly KPI report, and think about ways that you can start increasing the number in that RSVP column.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Metro News: Reorganizing Your Giveaways For More Clicks, Do502’s FREE WEEK, and more

Our regular Metro News updates highlight big wins, cool ideas, and notable events from around the Network so you can stay up to date on what your counterparts around the U.S., Canada, and Mexico are doing.

It’s been a while since our last metro news update in December so we have plenty of catching up to do. Here’s what your fellow metros have been up to over the past month.


Do512 Reorganizes Their Giveaways Page

By default most of your giveaways pages (a.k.a. “WIN STUFF”) are sorted by date. This makes sense, right? Users want to see what giveaways are coming up the soonest.

Wrong.

Do512 ran a test to see if sorting their WIN STUFF page by popularity instead would have any effect. Their hunch was that users are more interested in winning stuff that’s badass than they are worried about what’s being given away this week.

Their hunch seems to be right. Since switching the WIN STUFF page to sort by popularity, the exit rate for the page has slightly decreased while the time on page has dropped by 25%. That means that people are finding what they’re looking for faster, and then visiting other pages on the site at a higher rate. Win, win, win.

Doing the same thing on your giveaways page is simple. Just go to that user’s details page in Radmin and click “Edit”. At the bottom click on the Promo Options drop-down for advanced settings and check “Sort by Pop”. All done.


Do502 FREE WEEK Coming

Inspired by what goes down here in Austin every January, Do502 is co-producing Louisville’s first ever Free Week next Tues-Sat.

Do502 has teamed up with WFPK and LEO Weekly to put on 5 nights of shows, each at a different venue. It’s a great way to support the local music scene at a time when big, national tours are traditionally at a low.

AND since Do502 organized the event series, all the RSVPs go through their site. As of the time this was written, they’ve gotten over 300 RSVPs for all shows.

It’s a humble beginning, but Do502 certainly has big plans to grow the series as the years go on. If the first annual Free Week has 5 nights of shows and two co-sponsors, just imagine where this will be a few years from now.

If you want to find out more about how this project got off the ground, hit up DoStuff Support or Jeffrey and Lizi at Do502.

Other News

Here's a quick rundown of other big happenings around the Network.

  • Mandrella Gets Interviewed: Speaking of Free Week, did you check out Matt Mandrella’s interview on Austin’s KXAN?
  • Do617’s Budweiser Bru Cru Pitch: Do617 put together a proposal for the Boston Bruins and Anheuser-Busch for game watch parties that feature live music. If you’ve ever thought of something similar, check out this pitch deck.
  • Do512’s A-B 2014 Recap: Do512 did a TON of programming with A-B in 2014. Check out this nice recap they put together for their partners over there.
  • Do214’s Fashion Boutique: Do214 did a sponsored blog post series with a local boutique that went really well. Check out this deck to see the results.
  • Do416’s “Discover 416” Series: Do416 sold a “Discover 416” event series to a local brewery this April. Check out the deck they used to pitch it.
  • January Anniversaries: We have a lot of DoAnniversaries this month
    • Do617 turned 1 on Jan. 7th!
    • Do415 turned 3 on Jan. 20th!
    • Do206 turns 1 on Jan. 24th!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Product Update: Artist Clean-Up Edition

Our regular Product Updates give you a rundown of the features and bug fixes that were rolled out over the past week, plus a look ahead to some of the bigger changes that are on the way.

We are cleaning up our network's 'Artists' lists.

We're rolling out a plan to hide bad artists from search. Read on to find out how.


Not every 'Artist' in our network is an actual artist.

No, this is not an argument for musical authenticity or artistic integrity.

What we mean is this: There are quite a few duplicated, misspelled or otherwise incorrectly created artists - many of which are actually collaborations between artists (see above).

These artists clog up the list of suggestions when searching our sites or adding artists to events - and they make us look bad.

But we're putting an end to all that.


Tomorrow, we'll be running a script to sort all Artists into two groups: 'legit' and 'non-legit.'

A band is 'legit' if any of these conditions is TRUE at the time of checking its legitimacy:

1) The band is part of ANY festival
2) The band has ANY of these things: a facebook ID, a facebook URL, a description, a hometown, or an image
3) The band has ANY events from the past 6 months forward
4) The band has MORE THAN ONE event ever

Legit artists will behave the same way that you're used to.

Non-legit artists will behave the same way except:
- They will not appear when adding bands (front-end and radmin)
- They will not appear in front-end search
- They will not appear in Radmin search unless 'non-legit artists' is checked or (coming soon) you're searching for the purposes of merging artists.

Non-legit bands will still have pages and links on the front-end - you just won't be able to find their pages through search.

Want to make a non-legit artist legit? Simply edit the Artists' page in Radmin and check the 'Legit' box,



We'll be kicking this off tomorrow - and updating these lists every night so your metro stays updated.

None of this will effect your day-to-day work at all. It will just make your life easier and your site more awesome.

What does everyone think? Let us know! We want your feedback - and, as always, please let us know if anything looks incorrect to you once this gets rolled out.

How You (and the network) Did Last Week - 1/19/15

Hi League of Do,

I'll cut right to the chase and showcase an interesting email phenomenon in this mid-January Winner of the Week:

Do214 - The New Location for Bonnaroo (kinda). Dallas' previous high water mark for unique clicks in their newsletter was 685. They average 474 weekly clicks in their newsletter. Last week? They got 1,161 unique clicks. They also received more opens than ever before. 

This kind of jump isn't completely unprecedented. Ticket giveaways to really important festivals or other similar HUGE announcements can often cause clicks and opens to spike. What's interesting about Do214 is that 74% of their clicks came from a link to their list of Bonnaroo acts that were playing shows in Dallas. So that's 859 clicks to a piece of content about a festival hundreds of miles away.

So what caused it to be a success? It's not going so far as mentioning the festival in your email. New YorkLouisvilleSan Francisco, and Chicago alldid that without similar results. And it's more than just leading with that piece of content, as Toronto did this as well without out-of-the-ordinary results.

Instead, Do214 not only opened their newsletter with the Bonnaroo In Your Town content, but they also made it seem like Bonnaroo was actually happening in Dallas. Their email subject line started with "Bonnaroo in Dallas," and the copy was repeated in the very opening of their email. And while this may seem a little click bait-y, bounce rate for the content was only 47%, which is slightly lower than their site-wide bounce rate, so their audience found the content plenty useful. And the end result was that their Bonnaroo in Dallas content got more traffic than any other of the "Bonnaroo in [Metro]" content pieces across the network.

We create, design, and automate these kinds of "[Festival] In Your Town" content pieces all the time for all metros, so next time you have the opportunity to push them in your newsletter, think about following Do214's lead to get maximum clicks and opens.
And with that, check out your stats for last week, and hit us up if there were any big wins in your market that we missed!

How You (and the network) Did Last Week - 1/12/15

Hello!

Despite the frigid temperatures sweeping the country, people still found time to do some pretty great stuff last week. 

But before we dive into that, one update note about the Weekly KPI Update spreadsheet. Now that a majority of our metros have been on the new site platform for a year, you'll begin seeing year over year numbers for the Win/Buy/Add/RSVP clicks.

This should hopefully be helpful as you're looking at what your metro did last year to successfully drive traffic, and comparing it to your content plans for 2015. Reach out if you have any questions on how to best dig into that data.

With that, the Winner of the Week this time goes to....

Do502! There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but Louisville is proving that doesn't apply to shows. Do502 took it upon themselves (as well as partnering with a few other local media properties)  to start the inaugural Free Week at a handful of venues in the area. And while starting small made the organization of the events manageable, the 5-day extravaganza is already paying dividends on Do502's site. 

Not counting their launch party week, last week had the highest traffic to site and largest increase of new users since Do502 went live. Also, their promoted Facebook post touting the week's festivities resonated above and beyond any of their other posts, getting 190 likes, 43 shares, and 95 Do502 page likes.

All of this shouldn't come as a huge surprise, since Free Week has long been an institution in Austin, and Do512's Free Week page has been their 5th most popular content piece on their site since we began tracking weekly stats in early June.

Since this is the first year for Do502 to pull off a free week, they're looking to prove its success to the venues/artists/partners involved. Then they can move on to the ultimate goal of creating a Free Week in their market - selling a presenting sponsorship for serious cash. And at the least, they'll be able to run RSVPs to all the free week shows they put on in the future, and capture the influx of users.

Think you could start a Free Week in your city, run some RSVPs, and sell it to a brand? Reach out, and we'd be happy to provide you with even more details on how it works in Austin and Louisville.
Check out your updated stats in the Weekly KPI report below, and continue to start off a strong 2015!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Why Would You NOT Fucking Do That: Do312’s Targeted Email Lists

This part of a series lovingly titled WWYNFDT?! -- or, “Why Would You NOT Fucking Do That?!” This series highlights great ideas that were conceived by one of your fellow metros and turned into a big win. Every one of these ideas is easy to copy in your own metro -- and will hopefully earn you similar results.

This WWYNFDT?! post comes to us from the team at Do312. As one of the older metros in the Network, Chicago has built up a ton of subscribers to its weekly Top Picks email. At last count Do312 had nearly 170,000 emails.

There are a lot of promoters out there without the budget to pay for a dedicated email blast to their entire list, so Jeremy and his team have come up with a creative way to sell dedicated emails targeted at only a segment of subscribers -- and make both their advertisers and users happier in the process.

The Problem With Dedicated Blasts

While they’re an important source of revenue no matter what size your metro is, dedicated email blasts become increasingly costly for your partners as you grow.

We strongly recommend you set your rack  price for dedicated emails at a $100 CPM (cost per thousand subscribers). That means you’re asking five grand per email at 50,000 subscribers. At 150,000 you’re asking fifteen grand. There are not a lot of straight up event promoters with that type of per show budget, unless you are looking at a festival or other major event. .

The other problem with dedicated blasts that we’re all familiar with is that they can really hurt your unsubscribe rate. Your users understand that they’re going to see some advertised content in addition to your curated top picks, but if dedicated emails start showing up in their inbox too often or feel irrelevant to them they’re going to tune out.

Do312’s Targeted Email Campaigns

Do312’s new dedicated email strategy attacks both of these problems by segmenting out smaller lists that fit the advertiser’s budget and only target relevant users.

When an advertiser comes to Do312 looking to buy an email blast, instead of starting with a quote for their entire list Jeremy talks with them about their budget and their intended audience.

With this info, Jeremy can then tell them about how many emails they can expect to reach and what a package would look like. The CPM is always consistent, but he can craft a campaign that works for both the advertiser and Do312 instead of squeezing them into a one-size-fits-all email blast.


How Do312 then picks the emails to target is the really important part. Just pulling 2,000 or 5,000 emails out from a list of 170,000 at random can be risky. You don’t really know how well the campaign will perform and there’s a chance you could piss off one of your partners -- not to mention annoy users and hike up your unsubscribe rate.

So Do312 looks to data that’s already sitting in front of them -- past events and RSVPs on the site -- to pull together a list of usernames and emails that would be interested in the promotion. It’s a way of cherry picking the best demographics for a promotion so users see dedicated blasts that are relevant to them and Do312 gets to report better than expected engagement.

Everyone walks away happy.

How to Create Targeted Email Segments

According to Jeremy at Do312, the most crucial part of this strategy is finding the right emails. It takes a bit of creativity and a bit of scrappiness to pull together a targeted segment of the users on your site.

If the dedicated blast revolves around live music, the easiest place to start is by searching for past events in your metro that included that band or bands. You can be fairly certain that if someone voted on a show with that band in the past, they’re going to be interested in knowing when that band is back in town.

To pull the emails for everyone that RSVP’d for a past show, log into Radmin* and head to the Approved Events queue. Use the Filters drop-down to search for the Event, being sure to check the “Recent Past Events” box.

*NOTE: RSVPs have been moved completely over to Radmin, but exporting votes have not. For now you will need to use old Admin to find votes. This post will be updated in the coming weeks once exporting votes has been integrated into Radmin.

When you find the show you want, click on the cog icon on the far right and select “RSVP” from the drop-down to open up the RSVP modal. Select the “List” tab and click on “Download Email List”. This will download a .txt file to your hard drive that can then be copy-pasted into Google Sheets or Excel to sort out the emails.


If you want to pull emails for everyone that voted for a show -- or if the show didn’t have an RSVP -- you can now do that through Radmin as well.

Once you find the right show in Radmin, click on the cog wheel icon in the Approved Queue or on the Event details page and select “Export Votes”. An email containing a .CSV file will be sent to your inbox immediately.

If you can’t pull enough emails by searching for just a single band, think of other similar bands that might have a common audience. Promoting a show for Arcade Fire? Try pulling emails for fans of other big indie rock acts like The National or Interpol.

If the event non-music related, like a restaurant opening, you’ll have to get really creative. What are past RSVPs or festivals that you could pull from to find the right audience for this campaign? Which events in your metro tend to pull the type of crowd you’re going after?

In the end, you’re going to want to build a list with about 30% to 40% more emails than what you sold to advertiser. This is because MailChimp will automatically scrub duplicates and users that have since unsubscribed, leaving you with a smaller list than you imported.

Creating Your Segments in Mailchimp

Once you have your list of emails, the next step is creating a new list segment in MailChimp. It’s important that you use the segments feature in MailChimp instead of creating new lists each time or you’ll start getting charged for more users.

To create a new segment, click on your primary list and under the “Manage subscribers” section click the segments button (see below). Create a new segment and click on the link in the top right that says “create a segment from a list of emails”. Paste in all the emails you downloaded from Radmin into this box and press “Save Segment”.


Once the segment is created, you’ll be able to see how many emails you’re left with after duplicates and unsubscribed users have been omitted. If it’s less than you sold, you’ll need to find more users in Admin to target. It’s it’s way more than you sold, you should pare down the segment to match what the advertiser paid for.

When you’re ready to send the dedicated blast, just select “Send to a saved segment” when you set up the campaign and find the proper segment.

The End Results

Not surprisingly, Do312 has reported that these targeted email campaigns well outperform their weekly Top Picks emails. A recent targeted blast like this produced an open rate of 20% -- roughly double what they see for the list as a whole.

A Goose Island email blast targeted only at users who RSVP'd for a previous Goose event had a 40% open rate!

That's some serious value for your event partners, and the type of numbers that are going to keep them coming back well into the future.

And before you think this is a strategy to try when you hit 150,000 subscribers, we're confident that this will work in any metro. There are promoters and brands all over your city that are looking to reach new fans but don't have an easy way to do so.

By putting together a targeted segment of your users that's sized to their budget, you're providing a service that no one can match in your city -- not even Facebook.

Why would you NOT fucking do that?!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Product Update: January 19th Edition

Our regular Product Updates give you a rundown of the features and bug fixes that were rolled out over the past week, plus a look ahead to some of the bigger changes that are on the way.

Also - a quick note before we begin: These posts will be coming from me (Johnny) from now on - and I'd love your feedback. Let me know if you'd prefer this information presented any differently!

Dev has been working some magic. We're rolling out a bunch of changes later in the afternoon. Read on to see what's up.


Giveaway management is coming to Radmin.



  • You can now pick winners directly from Radmin. Be careful. The 'Notify Winners' functionality works correctly, so no messing around.
  • You can also send your winners directly to promoters. Want to save a promoter's email for easy reference? You can store that information on the respective venue page under 'giveaway emails.'
  • You can now check whether winners have been picked, winners have confirmed or guestlists have been sent. Just peep the teal, yellow and black buttons (respectively) below the event titles.

Also, side note: the 'Giveaway End Date' functionality works now. Giveaways will cease to remain active on the day of their 'End Date.' 

And we're just getting started....

RSVP partners can download their lists directly from the front end at any time. To access these lists, you must be logged onto the site with an email that is listed in the 'Email Guestlist To' field within the RSVP module in Radmin. Then, just click the 'Get RSVP List' button at the bottom right-hand corner of the event cover photo and BOOM! You get an incredibly sexy and easy-to-use .tsv file delivered to your inbox.



Oh, and about that .tsv file... Your days of wrestling with clunky 'RSVP Email List' files are over. Now, when you request an RSVP Email List export, the file delivered to your inbox is (to quote): "a tab-separated file (.tsv), it can be imported directly into Google Drive and will automagically be converted into a Google Spreadsheet that you can do anything you want with. Microsoft Excel works the same way."

RSVPs will remain RSVPs - even when closed. Metros have encountered a variety of issues caused by the fact that, until today, whenever an RSVP has closed it would just turn off - which meant that (1) it would no longer be searchable in Radmin and (2) users who landed on the RSVP page after it had closed would have no idea what was happening unless the event description was manually edited to reflect the closed list. But everything's cool now. When an RSVP closes, it remains an RSVP, displaying the 'closed' message and continuing to be searchable in Radmin as an RSVP.

Users can now delete their accounts from the front end. When editing your profile on the front end, check out that tiny 'Delete Account' button under 'Submit.' Yep, that's how you break our hearts right there. Please note: this will not be available to users with any permissions.

Events can no longer be ongoing and repeating. When creating a new event in Radmin, your first step in the time and date department will now be to select "Single Day Event," "Weekly Repeating" or "Multi Day." 

You can now sort conference lense artist lists by popularity and alphabetical order. Please note: If you see a stray artist at the top of your alphabetical list, that artist's name most likely has a space in the start of its name in Radmin.

More awesome stuff:

The 'Doors' option now exists in Radmin. It even shows on the front end, too.

You can Export Votes in Radmin. Just click the event's COG wheel.

Also: 'Zip Codes' are now included in Vote Exports.

We fixed a huge problem with disappearing text. Now, when you're editing an event in Radmin and click 'Edit Description' you can rest assured: Your changes will be saved! Please note: we are still working on a separate issue related to editing text on the front end - and we hope to have another update for you on that shortly.

The dupes queue now only looks for potential matches within the metro. DoLA noticed events from San Diego appearing in their duplicate queue. This was happening because, for events with external IDs, our system was looking for potential dupes by checking for events with the same external ID instead checking for the same external ID and the same metro ID. That issue has been fixed.

We fixed a bug that, going forward, will eliminate any inconsistencies in Radmin's 'Sort By Popularity' functionality. As these inconsistencies only apply to event popularity numbers saved from today on, please note that over the next few weeks you may still notice some events popping up out of order. If you would like these specific events to appear correctly, all you have to do is re-save the event's popularity and you'll be good to go. If you just do nothing, you'll start to notice less and less out-of-order events with each passing day.

You can now manage categories and shortcuts while using a lense as your activity property. Check out Menu -> Content -> Shortcuts while in the Radmin backend of your conference lense.

What else?

Conference and Conference Category have been added to Radmin event pages. They're in Extras - and please note that Conference Category does not appear until after Conference has been selected.

Rolling over Tastemaker icons displays USERNAME (Display Name) instead of NAME.
Now, when you roll over the icon for Epocha, the word 'Epocha' is displayed as opposed to 'Brandon Ayala.' 

Default RSVP emails now include Vanity URLs (when applicable): Please note that if you customize the RSVP email in any way, you'll still need to drop in your own URL to the body.

We've tweaked the background jobs that push data to our search indexing provider. This was a positive step forward in reducing the amount of times a band name fails to appear in the auto-completer on the front end of the site. Progress!

We set up canonical URLs for your ECP home pages. Much love to SEO. New to Canonical URLs? Here's some background reading.

RSVP Lists Are Now Generated As A Background Job. You can work while you wait! The RSVP list will arrive in your email inbox in a matter of seconds.

Any questions? Are you still there? Do you love DEV?! They're just three men, you know. Doing a lot of awesome stuff. Expect all of these changes to roll out during the afternoon of January 19th - and as always, please let us know if you have any questions!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Product Update: Dupe Prevention, Front-end Search Improvement, and Lots of Bug Fixes

Our regular Product Updates give you a rundown of the features and bug fixes that were rolled out over the past week, plus a look ahead to some of the bigger changes that are on the way.

It’s been a while since our last Product Update and we have a lot to cover. For this first update of the New Year, we wanted to share all the little bug fixes and product improvements we worked on over the past month to make your sites bigger, badder, and faster in 2015.




Front-end Dupe Prevention

Because User-created Events get approved automatically, all of our ingenious ways for weeding out dupes in the backend are ineffective against simple human error. If a Venue owner or promoter decides to add an Event that already exists, there’s been nothing stopping them from doing it.

Until now. We’ve added a validation check to the front-end New Event wizard that checks to see if there is already an Event on the same day at the same Venue.

The validation check does not take into consideration start time, band names, or anything else that tends to fluctuate in the weeks leading up to the Event. If it finds a match for date and Venue name, it will return the following prompt.


Nine times out of ten this will be a correct match and the User will realize they were creating a dupe and stop what they're doing (great success!). If there actually is more than one Event taking place at that Venue on that day, the User can just check the confirmation box and resubmit. Easy as that.

Front-end Search Improvements

Over the past months, we finished up a number of small projects to improve front-end search results.

Venue Keyword Search

Until now you could only search for Venues by name. Now, Users can now search for words contained within the Venue description and other parts of the page to find Venues. This means you can potentially search by neighborhood ("Red River") or type of Venue ("rock club") to discover what you're looking for.

Page Keyword Search

We also introduced keyword search for /p/ Pages. This means that if you search for an Artist, it will also list editorial content in addition to the Artist page in the list of suggested results. This also works for content contained within Event descriptions.


Duplicate Results Bug Fix

There was a bug affecting DoLA, Do416, and a few other metros that would return duplicate results for certain users. Both results led to the same page, but it made the list of results confusing. This bug has been fixed.

The Other Bits

Here are the other improvements and bug fixes since our last update:

  • Mail Export Includes Real Names: The Mail Export function (in Old Admin) now includes the User's real name, if it is available. Before only the email address and display name would be exported.
  • Hometown Displayed When Adding Artists: When adding Artists to an Event on the front-end, their hometown is now displayed in parentheses to the right of their name in the drop-down. This is to prevent any confusion with similarly-named Artists.
  • "Are You Or Older?" Bug Fixed: The glitch that caused the question "Are You Or Older?" to display on RSVP's when a minimum age was not entered has been fixed. This now defaults to your metro's legal drinking age if no minimum age is given. If your metro doesn't have a LDA set, it will default to "Are You 21 Or Older?"
  • User CSS Bug Fixed: There was a bug that caused custom CSS settings to disappear for Promo Users on the calendar tab (e.g. "http://doXYZ.com/PromoUser/month_events"). This was flagged to us by KCRW but has now been fixed.
  • Giveaways Page Bug Fixed: There was a bug that caused giveaways to remain on the Giveaways Page even after they were canceled or turned off. The only way to get rid of them was to manually log in and unvote. This process is now done automatically so your Giveaways Page is always up-to-date.
  • Disappearing "Free?" Bug Fixed: There was a bug that caused the "Free?" box to disappear from time to time for copied Events. This is now fixed.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tools & Tricks: How to Conquer Instagram in 2015

Our regular Tools & Tricks updates bring you badass tips for making the most of the DoStuff platform and other channels you use to reach your audience.

Instagram is one of the most popular social networks for our target audience, with over 200M monthly active users and about 90% of those under the age of 35 (yes, 9-0).

We've compiled some best practices, professional-grade tools, and online resources to help you create a kickass Instagram strategy and build a loyal following of users.

Best Practices For Instagram

While a lot of companies are active on Instagram, there’s a big difference between just throwing up pictures and building an active and engaged audience. Here are five things to always keep in mind when sharing content on Instagram.

The following is adapted from this post on the official Instagram for Business blog.

Be true to your brand

Be sure that your content expresses a clearly defined personality and voice. Feeds that feel distracted and don’t support a centralized brand message do not engage users.

The head of online marketing and social media at Herschel Supply Co. says to sit down and define your message in one sentence, and try to have every photo feed into that. For Herschel Supply the message is “well travelled”. For the DoStuff Network, that defining sentence would probably be, “Do something awesome today.”

Every photo and video you post to Instagram -- or repost from followers -- should capture that feeling of always experiencing the coolest stuff your city has to offer. If a piece of content doesn’t reach that bar, then it’s not a good fit for your Instagram feed.

A photo posted by @do415 on

Where else would you rather be in San Francisco when the sun is shining?

Share experiences

Offer a view into the lifestyle that your site makes possible through the eyes of the people who use it.

Poler Outdoor Stuff has built a massive following on Instagram by sharing adventure photos from their customers and fans. Through branded hashtags like #CampVibes and #BeneathTheBrim, they encourage followers to share personal adventures with the greater community and then feature the best on the official Poler account.

In a similar way, you can bring real world experiences to life on Instagram. After all, it’s this connection to a particular lifestyle -- one of always being in the right place at the right time -- that make people want to follow you in the first place.

A photo posted by Do512 (@do512) on

Do512's most popular photo from the two weekends of ACL Fest was this shot from the back row of the Calvin Harris show -- not a professional shot taken from the front row

Find beauty everywhere

Show how your metro sees your city and make that feel meaningful to users.

Although music is the backbone of every DoSite, concerts aren’t the only thing we love about living in our cities. Don’t be afraid to share everyday moments that capture what it is you love about your town and the people and businesses that call it home.

A photo posted by DoLA (@hellodola) on

A perfectly composed shot of this morning treat turned into one of DoLA's most engaged posts -- people appreciate the authenticity of those everyday moments

Inspire action

Start a movement around your metro’s Instagram account.

Similar to Poler’s #CampVibes above, Nike encourages followers to tag pictures taken while running with the #RunFree hashtag. Chobani’s followers use the #CreationADay hashtag to show off recipes that use Chobani yogurt.

All of these brands have turned their Instagram followers into active participants in a larger movement. What would that type of participation look like in your metro? Do502 uses the #HowWeLou hashtag to encourage users to share their view of the city. Do317 uses #DoIndyRight. What’s a similar movement that would speak to your users? #SelfieWithTheBand? #DoAwesomeStuff? #ILove(insert area code here)?

A photo posted by Mercury Ballroom (@mercuryballroom) on

Less than a month after Do502's launch, Louisville locals were already tagging their favorite concert photos with #HowWeLou

Know Your Audience

Learn what people love about your site, and explore ways to capture the imagination of new users.

What is it that drives people in your metro to go to your site and open your newsletter? Is it the chance to score those impossible-to-get tickets? Is it the cure for Wednesday night boredom? Is it exploring new pockets of your city every week?

You can’t really understand your audience without talking to them, so ask around. Then use that info to constantly refine how you engage them and how you shape the other strategies above.


Every Chicagoan knows one thing...

Third-party Tools and Apps

If you're still using just your iPhone camera and the official Instagram app to power your metro's Instagram account, we have news for you -- you're behind the times.

Since Instagram doesn't offer brands any way to schedule posts or manage large communities on their official app, a number of great third-party services that have popped up in recent years to help brands step their game up.

And while Instagram's Polaroid-inspired filters may have looked cool in 2011, there are now much more sophisticated apps for creating great looking photos on your phone.

Tools for Managing Your Account

  • Iconosqaure - Formerly known as Statigr.am, Iconosquare offers you a much more complete way to manage your Instagram community. View your feed as a grid, list, or slideshow, respond to comments (with emoji!), search for hashtags, and look up valuable metrics about your followers.
  • Repost - If you're looking for a better way to share cool photos posted by your users (via @hellodola), look to Repost. This mobile app will create a perfectly sized copy of the photo along with an overlay of the originator's username.
  • ScheduGram - Since Instagram doesn't have an official API, it's almost impossible to build a third-party scheduling tool. ScheduGram figured it out, though, through "virtualized" software and other impressive coding tricks. If you're looking for a scheduling tool, this is the best.
  • JustUnfollow - JustUnfollow helps you clean up who you follow and find more relevant people to build your community around.
Tools For Editing Photos


  • VSCO Cam - Long the hush-hush favorite app for professional photographers, VSCO Cam (pronounced "Viz-Co Cam") is the hands-down leader for editing photos on your phone. With a full tool-set for touching up photos and a huge catalog of presets, VSCO Cam will have your photos looking uber cool in no time (via @do314).
  • Instasize - Sometimes the square proportions of Instagram's camera aren't enough to fit everything you want to share (via @do502). Instasize adds a clean, white border to any photo to give it the proper 1:1 dimensions to fit on your Instagram feed.
  • Over - There are times when a photo alone can't tell the whole story. Over lets you add beautiful text and artwork to your shots to paint a complete picture of what you want to say.


You can easily copy the look of HazDF's text overlay using Over

Other Resources

Here are a few more links to bookmark to help you make the most of Instagram. If you have any more you want to share, paste them in the comments below or post them in Slack!