At first glance, Saving Ottawa appears to be your typical daily deals website. But on social media, you’ll find the company’s true personality bouncing around the city, craving for bacon.
Bruce Lamothe, the affable account executive at the reins of the Saving Ottawa Twitter profile, made it his objective to ensure that the company would have some real connections to the community and a genuine personality.
“People are going to understand that Saving Ottawa is a company from [Ottawa], because I’m going to check-in to Second Cup and… I’ll mention that I had a Dirienzo’s sandwich or I’ll take a picture,” Bruce said.
Ousted as mayer of Bank/Somer 2cup!?!?! Niiooooooooooooooo cough ooooooooo
— SavingOttawa (@SavingOttawa) January 25, 2013
“I wanted to make it so that it was personal,” Bruce said. “I look at other companies – not even ones in the daily deal industry [… and] all they really do is link dump, and that gets on my nerves.”
Saving Ottawa also donates money to an Ottawa charity with every deal purchased through their website. When asked to enter their personal information, buyers can choose which charity will receive a donation.
The charities include the Ottawa Food Bank, Children’s Wish Foundation, United Way, Boys & Girls Club of Ottawa and Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. The donation comes from Saving Ottawa’s share of each deal sold.
For a time, Saving Ottawa donated a dollar to charity for each new person that subscribed to their newsletter on their website. After word spread virally through Twitter, Saving Ottawa had thousands of new subscribers and a substantial donation to make.
“It was pretty cool to see what that ripple effect is.”
Though Bruce originally intended to keep the Saving Ottawa social channels a mix of links and personal messages, the advantages of real social interactions quickly became apparent. Friendly, personal dialog says more about the company’s mission than links to discounts ever could.
Is it odd that i crave bacon?
— SavingOttawa (@SavingOttawa) January 24, 2013
“It quickly and severely took a turn to 80% personal stuff and 20% links, which I think is actually more beneficial.”
“The whole purpose of the site was to create a larger sense of community,” Bruce said. “Ottawa always has that, but I find that it’s almost like high school. There are little cliques.”
Come together, right now
Bruce – an Aylmer resident who spends his daytime hours hanging around Centretown – also sees Saving Ottawa as an online bridge among Ottawa’s sometimes isolating neighborhoods.
“If you could get all of those people to interact and do something. Like, if you could take someone out of the Glebe and [I could convince him to] put his granola down and eat a Hintonburger, then I’ve done my job.”
Do you think social media has helped bring Ottawa together? Which local social media personalities get you to try new things?