Inspire Wins Award for Chamber of Commerce Shop Local Marketing Campaign

When Inspire was faced with the challenge of creating a cost-effective marketing strategy to inspire Columbus County, N.C. residents to shop local businesses as opposed to “the other guys,” they crafted a custom social media campaign dubbed #KeepItColumbus.

In keeping with the origin of the county’s name, the #KeepItColumbus campaign centers around a YouTube video featuring none other than Christopher Columbus himself — strolling through the charming local shops, praising the economic benefits of shopping locally. And not just shopping locally, but supporting local businesses in general, such as the local hospital and medical service provider, Columbus Regional Healthcare System.

As a result, the campaign received a Communication Excellence Award from the Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (CACCE) on April 23, 2015.

Jennifer Holcomb, president of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, spoke of one successful instance the campaign helped to spark. “The entire campaign has had a positive effect on our community and incidentally, our Chamber membership,” she said. “One business owner, who was on the fence about joining, did so after seeing the video on Facebook.

“They said that the Chamber’s willingness to think outside the box and try something ‘cutting edge’ made them want to be a part of our organization.” Not only does social media marketing demonstrate a certain amount of tech-savvy, or at least an effort at keeping up with the times, but it’s relatively affordable, considering the recyclable effects of creating one. Once the campaign is out there, it lives on with every re-post or hashtag mention. Jonathan Medford, partner at Inspire Creative Studios, commented on the enduring nature of social media marketing.

“Social media video campaigns are a cost-effective way to communicate marketing messages,” Medford said. “Now that the #KeepItColumbus campaign video is out there, the message can continue to grow within social media. It can sustain itself without calling for a continuous investment of money.” A valid point — especially since social media has done nothing but continuously expand since its inception. For instance, 71 percent of adult Internet users (58 percent of the entire adult population), uses Facebook, according to a 2014 social media report by Pew Research Center. And that’s not including all of the new social media platforms that have come to rise within just a few years’ time. Approximately half of all online adults now use multiple social media sites (usually in conjunction with Facebook).

Campaigns that feature videos in particular are by far among the most successful. Which comes as no surprise since videos and Facebook now go together like peanut butter and jelly. At the very onset of 2015, Facebook reported that as many as 3 billion videos were being viewed on their site each day. And Facebook still comes in second when compared to YouTube, which hosts about 300 hours of uploaded video every minute.

Everybody likes to get the most bang for their buck. If you’re looking for a way to get your message out there without breaking the bank, not only should social media be included in your efforts, but it may very well make up your entire marketing campaign.

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