Not only does Kolpin’s historic East End boozer have its own website, RSS feeds, Flickr site, Facebook group and fan page as well as Twitter following, she’s also used Craigslist, the classfied ads site, to introduce a highly successful "Barter-for-Beer" scheme.
She came up with the idea after posting an offer on Craigslist London to swap a pub meal of anything from quail’s eggs to griddled asparagus for “a small stack of CDs” to update the pub jukebox.
The response was so huge that Kolpin soon placed a second ad. This time calling on Londoners to “Barter For A Beer” for all manner of goods. She included a guide list called “Landlady’s Fancy” featuring things she’d like to swap for beer. She’s accepted anything from fake moustaches to services like tuning the pub’s piano (“Joanna the Piana”).
Kolpin is also a prolific Facebooker. She uses the social network to pitch new ideas for nights at the pub, to post photos, even to hire new staff: “Does anyone know someone who might want to be a barmaid?” she asked fans earlier this year.
Kolpin social web extends even further. She has a growing Twitter following, tweeting from the address "@marksmanpub". Recent tweets include: "Out [sic] priest has been offered a main course for a song! And our resident priest is about to oblige…" and "Here’s hoping the next item up for barter is an air conditioner – that or a block of dry ice and someone offering to fan us. 2 pints?"
Kolpin, a trained anthropologist, believes that her degree has been pivotal in creating her online brand: "My academic interest is in the study of cultures and communities, which is why I’m so keen to try out any new technology and new social media channels, and use them as a way to manage a little community.”
“There’s a parallel between the mechanisms of using social media in marketing, and of being a landlady of a local community pub," she continues. "Both are ultimately about nurturing a community by being an active member of a community in a way that’s providing relevant valuable contribution to the community.
“My philosophy of running a pub is similar to my philosophy of digital marketing. Evolve or die. It may sound dramatic, but this mantra keeps me trying new things.”
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