Pharos-Tribune

February 23, 2014

What's coming in 2014

Social media, celebrations at forefront of downtown efforts

by Sarah Einselen Pharos-Tribune
Pharos-Tribune

---- — Log on to Facebook. Hit up a class. Or cue the “birthday brigade.”

Logansport’s business promotion organizations have launched or expanded a few outreaches to draw clients to their member businesses. As 2014 got underway, the local Chamber of Commerce looked to beef up its social media presence and Logansport’s downtown revitalization group, Logan’s Landing, intended to make its signature event, Taste of Cass County, bigger and better.

CHAMBER REACHING OUTTO DIGITAL AUDIENCE

The Logansport-Cass County Chamber of Commerce has had a Facebook page since Valentine’s Day 2011, but this year its leaders want to ramp up its presence on the social media website, chamber board president Anthony Carmichael said.

“We’re diving in a little more than we have in the past with social media,” Carmichael said. “We’re able to put so many things out there to so many people, and we want to use that as a driving force.”

That includes Twitter and LinkedIn, too. Tweets started broadcasting Feb. 6 from chamber director Megan Paschen’s official Twitter account, @CassCoChamber.

The stronger social media presence is meant to attract more interest in the organization’s events and its website, Carmichael said. As it is, the website receives a “phenomenal” average of 3,800 hits a day, he said.

It’s no coincidence that another one of the chamber’s new efforts covered social media, too.

An early “HYPE” class, an acronym for Helping You Pursue Excellence, covered the use of social media in a business promotion context. It was one of several free classes that chamber leaders plan to host this year.

“We partnered up with the Cass County Resource Network and the employment task force, which so far has been taking shape very well,” Carmichael said.

Attendance at the first was hurt by a snowstorm, he said, “but after that it definitely was picking up.” The most recent class had 15 participants.

Many of its other events are networking breakfasts or lunches that take place especially during warmer months. Chamber leadership is considering hosting more afternoon and evening networking events, too.

Some work schedules don’t permit attending early or mid-day meetups, Carmichael said. While in the past the chamber’s after-hours events have had fewer participants than its breakfasts, he chalked that up to clashing schedules.

“I think if we can change it up a bit, different atmosphere along with aligning our schedules a little better, I think we can see better participation,” Carmichael said.

LOGAN’S LANDING,PARTY CENTER?

The crew at Logan’s Landing is gearing up for another year hosting the Taste of Cass County, but it’s also putting on a few smaller parties along the way to celebrate downtown business anniversaries.

“Bottom line, we’re just going to keep on plugging away,” director Becki Harris said. Developing a downtown arts district is likely to continue with an additional pocket park this summer in memory of longtime Logan’s Landing member Kathy Dingo.

The organization’s business promotion efforts, such as its welcome sign and a relatively new “Dine for Downtown” series of fundraiser dinners at local establishments, are also likely to continue without too many tweaks.

Representatives from the revitalization group are forming a “birthday brigade,” showing up at downtown businesses on their anniversary dates bearing cupcakes, hats and noisemakers.

The brigade threw its second shindig last week for Minglin Jewelers’ 20th anniversary.

But its focus remains on “The Taste,” as its hallmark event is often called.

“Logan’s Landing holds a number of events downtown ... but Taste of Cass County is truly a community event, a countywide event,” Harris said.

It’s slated to take place Aug. 9 in its traditional location at Little Turtle Waterway with fireworks shot from across the Wabash River.

Attendance grew in 2013, Harris said, a phenomenon she attributed to adding a “Kids’ Korner” of children’s games and activities. She expects the family-friendly section will make a comeback this year, too, and may get bigger as well.

Harris hopes it becomes a longtime draw as those children grow up.

“Downtown has changed a lot — it’s not a destination in the same sense as it was 30 or 40 years ago, but it can be a destination,” Harris emphasized.

Sarah Einselen is news editor at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at sarah.einselen@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5151. Twitter: @PharosSME