Social media is changing our world. In the U.S. there are more than 107 million Twitter accounts. And more than 160 million Facebook accounts. We use these sites to stay in touch. Sioux City's three casino developers are doing something more.
In the past, developers have held conferences, even taken road trips to gather public support for their casino proposals. But one of the biggest battles for your backing is online. Ho-Chunk, Inc., Penn National Gaming, and Sioux City Entertainment are all using social media to sell their ideas.
"It is the new kid on the block," said Morningside Professor of Business Administration Dr. Pam Mickelson.
Dr. Mickelson says social media is new to the marketing scene and it's become extremely important. She says groups like the casino developers are able to reach out to people in new, personal ways.
"It's really got the attraction because of the instantaneous response to your consumer. You can touch them immediately and know what they are feeling. Put your pulse on it," said Dr. Mickelson.
Casino developers are on Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and especially Facebook. There, people can find unique links, pics and if they approve, "like" what they see.
SCE's page for a Hard Rock casino leads in "likes" with more than 6,700. The people behind the page say it's doing what they hoped, getting people pumped.
"I think that this is really a good sign that people are excited, they have a lot of energy for this project. It's fun to see," said CEO of social media agency Chatterkick, Beth Trejo.
Ho-Chunk officials say social media has been "invaluable" in getting local business support for their proposed Warrior Casino. And Penn National says social media helped them gather about 2,000 letters of support for their two Hollywood Casino proposals.
"A large part of that was driven through social media interaction and work that we've done online," said Penn National Public Affairs Vice President Karen Bailey.
In the end only one developer will get a gaming license and build in Woodbury County. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission will choose who. They vote in April.
IRGC officials say this is the first time social media has played a role in their license selection process. They say online public support matters, but each commissioner decides just how much weight to give it.
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