In the Local Government Challenge, University of Texas-Arlington students will focus on developing effective approaches to community engagement. We’ll hear from practitioners over the next couple of months about what’s working for them. Stephen Tanner, City of Plano, TX, writes about the Instagram campaign, #LovePlano.
To help roll out the City of Plano’s new Instagram account, the city started the #LovePlano Instagram campaign in February 2014. Residents submitted as many photos as they wanted about what they love about Plano using #LovePlano on Instagram along with Twitter and Facebook. To help residents focus on certain areas of what they loved about their city, each month had a different theme. This included animals, recreation, city parks, patriotism, the arts and more.
Each week, a winning photo was chosen and was featured in our weekly digital newsletter, social media, and uploaded to our #LovePlano photo album on Facebook. The weekly winning photo would also become one of four finalists for the picture of the month. At the end of the month, a #LovePlano picture of the month was selected from a group of judges, and the winner received a prize. To help incorporate the corporate community, we invited local businesses to donate a prize for the monthly winner. This helped involve many different facets of our community.
The goal of the project was to engage our younger demographic as well as crowdsource beautiful images of our city (we are allowed to use images submitted to the campaign). As of October of 2015, the city has received more than 4,000 photos from engaged residents on Instagram alone. Many of the photos received via #LovePlano, were from younger adults and young professionals looking for an outlet to be actively involved with the City of Plano. The campaign received local media attention from the Plano Star Courier, which published an article about the campaign.
The #LovePlano campaign won the 3CMA Savvy Award for “Best Campaign Use of Social Media Tools” in September 2014. Overall, the campaign has been a major success story.