January – May 2010
The Salem Main Streets (SMS) organization is a volunteer commercial revitalization program developed for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. As a non-profit organization with limited staff, SMS did not have the available budget to invest in a marketing and public relations strategy to promote its sponsored events or even the organization itself.
The SMS organization opted to partner with Salem State College’s EXPECT program: an experiential learning program that allows local businesses to partner with a group of supervised public relations and advertising seniors to gain real-world experience in communications and marketing. A group of four collegiate partners were tasked to work alongside the SMS program manager and her superiors to develop a public relations strategy and community outreach program for SMS and city-sponsored business revitalization events.
To combat a constricted marketing budget, our team incorporated Facebook and Twitter into SMS’ marketing strategy in an effort to reduce monetary spend on printed marketing collateral costs and create awareness of yearly festivals, fairs and SMS community events with younger audiences and potential patrons.
To ensure SMS was able to reach traditional audiences, we created and shared a series of press releases, media advisories and photo opportunity communications highlighting Salem’s annual Restaurant Week and So Sweet Festivals to local media outlets.
A three month experiment, the SMS director was highly pleased with the results. The organization quickly gained a healthy Twitter follower base – which now expands more than 2,000 persons, and has continued its partnerships with the EXPECT program.