Oswego bars take to social media to bring in customers

Tweeting out nightly specials and new drinks on tap, bars around Oswego have started to use social media platforms to draw in customers, attracting thousands of likes and follows.

Hurricane’s, a bar located on Water Street, uses a Facebook account run by Oswego State senior and bar employee Jordan Harmon to boast about specials such as dollar shots and musical guests, but Harmon says the accounts were not always positive.

“The owner’s ex had the passwords, so after they broke up, she bashed the bar,” Harmon said. The 21-year-old was responsible for cleaning up the account. “I had to call Facebook and restart the page, but it was great because they had never had a student who knew what students wanted.”

When the new account was first created, the bar saw a major increase in sales, particularly on nights with specials.

Most students interviewed over the age of 21 did not know bars had accounts on Twitter and Facebook, and many who do know said they did not feel the need to follow bars on Facebook or Twitter.

“Everyone already knows the specials; there’s no need to follow bars,” senior Cassandra Genua said.

The only exception for Genua is Hurricane’s: “I follow Hurricane’s because their specials would actually sway me to go. I don’t follow bars such as The Shed because I don’t go there.”

Bryan Kastelan, senior and broadcasting major, agrees, adding that he prefers The Gaslight, a bar located on West First Street, so he is more inclined to follow it on Twitter.

Kastelan said that even though he prefers The Gaslight, its Facebook account does not affect whether or not he goes to the bar, despite the specials.

“The only bar whose postings really affect me is Greene’s,” Kastelan said. “I’ll go to their concert series sometimes because of their accounts.”

Greene’s Facebook page posts multiple times a day about future sports events and specials.

Similarly, The Raven, a tavern located on West Bridge Street, uses its Twitter and Facebook accounts to post about specials, as well as to plug new beers on tap or in bottles that week.

Chris Dinnocenzo, who runs The Raven’s Twitter account, said the bar decided to start the account last year after realizing it could provide a free opportunity for direct marketing and a way for customers to provide feedback.

“Primarily students and graduates are the bar’s followers,” Dinnocenzo said.

Some students, such as senior broadcasting major Omy Melo, have been followed by bars on Twitter, and, in turn, returned the favor.

“They followed me, so I just figured I’d follow them back,” Melo said.

Melo added that he likes the information offered by The Raven’s Twitter account.

“I just like seeing what they have on tap sometimes; it’s a great way to figure out what they have without actually having to go there,” Melo said.

In line with student’s comments on whether a bar’s social media account attracts them to the bar, the bars themselves are not entirely sure yet how much the accounts can bring in business.

“[I’m] unsure if it has helped or not,” Dinnocenzo said. “But it keep followers up to date if they read the accounts.”
Harmon added that Hurricane’s had initial success with the social media accounts. However, following the end of the fall semester, there was a decline in business, but this decline is felt by most businesses around Oswego in the winter.

With football season in full swing, appealing to sports lovers on social media will now become key.

Jordan Dietterich, an Oswego State junior, said he would most definitely go to a bar on the night of a big game, if there is a special.

“There’s football and discounted drinks or food,” Dietterich said. “What’s not to like?”