Social Media Buzz Leads to Greater Community Awareness and Engagement


Community Futures Thompson Okanagan

The Challenge: Spreading the Word

Community Futures Thompson Country (CFTC) has been working since 1987 to help grow Thompson Country's economy. The organization provides small business loans, expert advice and a wide range of tools and resources. Yet there was a lack of awareness within the community about the organization and its work, despite its long successful track record of positive results and real commitment to the region and its people.   

The Solution: Branding Intrigue

Community Futures used the “Apples-to-Apples” branding exercise to address the lack of community awareness of programs and services. The campaign stepped outside of the box from traditional sources (newspaper, magazines and radio) and employed non-traditional mediums, such as social media, to get its message to the general public. Using a clever perspective and an intriguing graphic attracted great interest, leading more people to contemplate starting their own businesses. 

Benefits: Generating the Buzz

  • Economic development has been stimulated not only in the community, but throughout the region and B.C.
  • CFTC has received tremendous public praise for the look, the concept, and the idea of the campaign.
  • The buzz generated gave CFTC an opportunity to really tell their story about their products and services.
  • The campaign continues to raise the organization’s profile and generate new enquiries for loans, self-employment services, business advisory services, and community partnerships for economic development initiatives.
  • It has addressed the previous lack of quality loan referrals and has spurred on new partnerships, positioning CFTC as a lender of vision and one that understands that not all businesses are the same. 
  • More people are applying through the Self-Employment program, with CFTC helping them write business plans, obtain loans, and start and run successful organizations.  

Outcomes: Being In the Know

  • Greater awareness of organization, programs and services
  • An increase in website traffic as well as the number of Facebook likes and numbers
  • An increase in phone calls and new clients requesting services
  • New community partnerships, with CFTC being asked to partner on joint community projects to attract investment and support business development

Lessons Learned: Pulling Together

  • A unique promotional angle and graphic combined with a social media campaign can pique interest and raise awareness 
  • Greater awareness means more loan money is circulating within the community, spurring economic development
  • Greater awareness results in relationship building, further increasing economic opportunities and growth
  • More business start-ups and expansion mean stronger communities

October 12, 2016