It’s her job as social media maven for Lower Oak Lawn, a new residential and retail development in Dallas’ Design District between the Trinity River and Interstate 35 East.
Through a blog, loweroaklawn.com, and other social media, Shiffler has quickly become the voice of the Design District. By focusing on what’s going on among the area’s many design showrooms, art galleries and denizens, she hopes to attract people to Lower Oak Lawn, which has 1,000 apartments and plans for five restaurants (the first one opens Wednesday), a boutique hotel and trails.
Developer Mike Ablon’s research showed the target resident was a tech-savvy, 20-something urbanite. So he shortened Lower Oak Lawn to LOL, which means laughing out loud in the social networking world. He also added built-in flat-screen televisions and iPod docks and speakers to the apartments at Alta 1900 Lofts, one of three apartment complexes there.
It’s unusual for large companies and even rarer for small businesses to have a marketing person devoted to social media. Ablon’s company, PegasusAblon Properties, has 20 employees.
“There isn’t anything like this in the industry, so we had to invent it, and to do that you have to be committed,” Ablon said. “We hired Kendall on LinkedIn. You want someone who lives in that world.”
Shiffler, 25, worked in the city of Dallas’ international economic development office for two years before joining PegasusAblon in September. For the job, she had to write a blog post about why she loved social media, submit how many social networking friends and followers she had, and post a blog item about LOL.
Small businesses have lagged in using social media because they don’t have the staff or time, said Janet Wagner, director of the University of Maryland’s Center for Excellence in Service. That’s changing: A study by the center found the use of social media by small firms doubled to 24 percent last year in the U.S.