Something awesome is happening in St. Peters, MO. As a St. Charles County native, I’m fully aware of how non sequitur that statement is, but bear with me.
The cow on Mid Rivers Mall Drive across from Vista Grande is on Facebook! That’s right! Bessie! An offbeat St. Peters landmark for many years, with the crazy seasonal clothes and hats, a random backyard cow statue now has a huge Facebook fan page.
First, some background. The Cow on Mid Rivers Mall Dr. has been in a private backyard facing the road for several years. The owners change its clothes based on the seasons, current events, or important causes. Bessie joined Facebook on Friday, May 4th, 2010, and in that short time, she has gained almost 9,000 incredibly localized fans from all age groups. The page has hundreds of comments from St. Peters natives sharing stories and memories about the cow.
This has marketing relevance for several reasons as it relates to the demographic of St. Charles, and it’s worth bringing to the attention of those who aren’t in on the silly suburban joke. And it’s not that St. Charles people are crazy – don’t be jealous that we have more Wal-Marts than you. What makes the St. Charles business culture unique?
1) St. Charles residents connected with a quirk in their physical landscape. Of particular importance to St. Charles is that much of the landscape in the county looks pretty similar. Lacking the mash-up variety and personality of urban St. Louis, the suburban sprawl of St. Charles is overly familiar.
2) St. Charles residents connect with their families. Many people left comments saying something about their children always wanting to see “what was up with the cow today!” Families are dominant in St. Charles culture.
3) St. Charles residents connect with each other. Things like this recurred among the comments on their page:
4) Most importantly, St. Charles residents connect with Facebook! Almost 9,000 fans in two months for a plastic cow? That’s incredible! And if my own family and their friends are an accurate core sample, Facebook is hoppin’ in St. Charles.
Strangely enough, though, if you conduct a search on Facebook for businesses in “St. Charles, MO,” and narrow by Pages (the now-standard business pages on Facebook), you get 28 results. Only 28! Conversely, there are 252 Groups found under the same search, the top of which is just for St. Charles enthusiasts and it has almost 4,000 members.
What is this giant Facebook divide between community and business? Are businesses skeptical of the power of social media? St. Charles is actually a treasure trove of opportunity for the right business willing to embrace Facebook as part of their marketing strategy. Unifying this tool with a real-life relationship—with a person, place, product or plastic cow—could yield tremendous results for a savvy business owner.
The moral of the story is much bigger than St. Charles, MO. Business owners everywhere just need to take the leap into social media, on their own or with agency help, and give it an honest chance. No matter if you’re in New York City or in a farm town, members of your community are on Facebook!
(Jenn used to work here. We thought her insights were spot on, so we decided to keep her post “live”. Hi Jenn!)