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Published September 21, 2010
Volume 18, Number 9


“Shop Around Pleasanton” Holiday Campaign Uses Facebook to Generate Buzz   


Pleasanton’s Economic Development Department, partnering with the Economic Vitality Committee, has just launched an inventive shop-local campaign for the holidays, dubbed “Shop Around Pleasanton.”  What’s new and fresh about this year’s promotion is the use of social media to engage residents and build enthusiasm for the program.

“We are very excited about this opportunity to support our local merchants,” comments Pamela Ott, the City’s Economic Development Director. “The campaign will have elements of traditional marketing, but at its core it will be based on social media, predominantly Facebook.”

Ott details the way it works: “We ask our residents why they love to shop around Pleasanton, then encourage them to go to our Facebook page, upload a photo of a place where they love to shop, and tell us why. Who doesn’t like to share a great experience?”

To encourage participation, a $1,000 Pleasanton shopping gift card will be awarded to the person who gets the most “Likes” on the campaign’s Facebook page. The contest closes on November 19.

An attractive feature for merchants is the proven effectiveness of holiday campaigns. Research data reveal that shop-local initiatives can have a measurable positive impact on holiday sales, Ott points out. Data for 2007 say that in communities without a holiday campaign, sales went up about half a percent, while those with a campaign showed about a two percent increase. That same ratio held true in the tough times of 2008, where a campaign held the sales decrease to three percent, while communities with none were down five percent.  “We can’t turn the market around entirely,” she continues, “but the data tell us that we can make a difference.”

Retailers and merchants will also be able to publicize special events and exclusive offerings through uploads that will be aggregated and then broadcast in bi-weekly email blasts .

Lest anyone worry that using Facebook will limit the campaign to younger shoppers, Ott again has numbers on her side. “That was point of discussion for us,” she relates, “but data show that folks of all ages are now using the Internet and social media. This campaign will have impact across age ranges.”

Recognizing that the local economy is an entire ecosystem that encompasses all business, not just retail, the “Shop Around Pleasanton” campaign will also utilize more traditional marketing tools. “For example, an insurance agency might display a poster or a tent card telling its customers about the campaign, so we do incorporate a level of B2B support,” Ott suggests. To bolster online activity, local businesses can follow the lead of partnering organizations like the Pleasanton Downtown Association, Stoneridge Mall, the Chamber of Commerce, and Hacienda, posting links on their websites to the campaign’s Facebook page.

In addition to the pleasures of the retail therapy Pleasanton merchants offer, Ott cites another compelling reason for shopping local: “Each time you shop in Pleasanton, a portion of every tax dollar goes to keep our city government operating, including our police and fire departments, parkland, programs for youth and seniors, emergency preparedness, and much, much more.” 

To see the campaign in action, go to: facebook.com/shoparoundpleasanton.  

 

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