GRANITE CITY — A social media campaign is building the story of Granite City, one post at a time.
Granite City Economic Development Director James Amos is working with Granite City-based Push Media Solutions on a marketing initiative aligned with the five areas of the city’s comprehensive plan: business growth and development; housing, neighborhood and community improvement; entrepreneurship and innovation, education and workforce, and city pride.
“We’re trying to have a diversity of stories and information that hit all these areas,” Amos said.
The campaign’s use of social media is designed to reach Granite City residents and regional social media users who may have perceptions that don’t reflect a complete image of the city, Amos said.
“One of the things that was identified in the plan is that we need to pursue a targeted marketing campaign that’s communicating true positive narratives about our community,” Amos said. “There are things we are pursuing and things that are already happening within our community that are great stories. They just don’t necessarily get told.”
Granite City Stories encompasses Facebook and Twitter pages averaging 2 to 3 posts per day promoting events, sharing historical facts and linking to news articles.
“We are more than happy to just share information that’s already out there,” Amos said. “People are welcome to share stories with us.”
One goal is to spotlight stories about residents, businesses and education, he said.
“We’re going to really be paying attention and finding out what are the areas where maybe content isn’t naturally occurring,” he said. “We’ll focus our own content creation on filling in those gaps.
“We want to promote a lot of narratives of things going on with our people that promote quality of place, that just demonstrate it’s a place people want to stay and live,” he said.
Since officially launching Sept. 16, the Facebook page has 1,277 likes, with some 100 new likes over the first weekend. A post about the city-owned Granite City Cinema got 224 likes and 27 shares, reaching thousands of Facebook feeds.
Nicole Woolard runs Push Media Solutions and hails from a family media tradition — her father was an editor at the Granite City Press-Record newspaper.
“As long as she’s been alive, she’s been hearing about the stories of Granite City,” Amos said. “It’s kind of in her blood.”
Woolard is running the campaign’s day-to-day operations, although Amos has final say on what gets posted.
“They have freedom to do this in a way they see fit,” he said. “I’m working hand in hand with them and I’ve given them a lot of feedback to shape it.”
The city’s $300 per month contract with the company runs through April 30, 2017. After that, the city council will re-evaluate the program and determine whether to renew the agreement.
“We’re looking at this as sort of a trial year,” Amos said.
Amos, a pastor and musician, was appointed as the city’s economic development director in 2015. A recent arrival to Granite City, he said he personally wants people to know it’s a good place to live.
“I really want our neighbors in the region to see aspects of Granite City and its people they don’t see,” he said. “Many of the things I have heard are not true; many of the great things in Granite City I didn’t know were here because I didn’t come here.”