VALDOSTA – Lowndes County’s new branding campaign is all about community engagement and leveraging the reach of social media.
In an effort to engage the community in promoting places to visit and support locally, the county’s marketing team announced a new social media campaign, GOLOCO, at the Board of Commissioner’s mid-year meeting.
Meghan Barwick, county public information officer, said the intent of the GOLOCO brand is to lead the county in a direction of self-promotion and create a culture of “advocating for our community.”
“Lowndes County has so many people, places and things to explore. Why not experience it in your own backyard? The logo represents a fun, young and fresh energetic vibe with exploration and discovery being top of mind. The design allows for interchangeable colors to fit any promotion, event or product.
“For example, if we have a breast cancer awareness event on the courthouse square, we can change the color to pink. If we do an event at VSU (Valdosta State University), we can change to a Blazer theme,” she said.
Barwick reported to commissioners that while the staff has not promoted the brand anywhere, it did launch an Instagram page for the county in August with the purpose of reposting residents’ own posts about their exploits. She compiled the following insights:
– More 500 followers in a two-month period.
– Top location: Valdosta making up 55.2% of its followers.
– Most active day for residents: Friday afternoons.
– Top demographic: women, ages 35-44.
“What’s significant about that is the marketing; those are the decision-makers. Those are the mamas going into the local stores shopping, deciding where they’re going to take their kids for the weekend and where they’re going to eat,” she said. “We encourage all of our folks on Instagram that whenever they put their pictures up, when they’re across the county, that they use #golocoga and #lowndescountyga because that allows us to go in and search for these pictures and share. It’s no work on our end; it’s just promoting what folks are already doing in our community and all the great things they have to offer.”
Rachel Thrasher, county community development director, said since the campaign will be solely delegated to Instagram, the logo won’t replace or interfere with the current county logo.
“The beautiful thing here is the content creation for us. These pictures are taken by the citizens of the county. While it instills a sense of pride for us, when we repost those photos, it creates a sense of pride for them, too. That’s going to create an atmosphere of promoting our county because people want to see their own stuff. That’s the goal of this,” she said.
Commissioner Scottie Orenstein expressed concern about projects that are great in concept, have a successful launch but minimal to no follow through. Thrasher said the nature of the campaign lends itself to sustainability.
“Every time we repost, it notifies the original poster that their content has been reposted. Nine times out of 10, we’ll get a private message on Instagram saying ‘Thank you so much for reposting’ and they’ll repost what we posted. The college students especially love it. It creates a fun way to continuously connect with the community. It’s newer and it’s a different animal from our usual promotional efforts but it spreads like wildfire. Even the small businesses who use this platform like they should are doing the best,” she said.
In addition to social media branding, the county continues to focus on community engagement through upcoming projects such as Griner Park, a $2,542,586 interactive green space that will also plug in residents to the county’s social media.