City of Alberni to log on to social media

Alberni city councillors okayed a $50,000 contract to use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to help combat the city's negative image.

Alberni economic development manager Pat Deakin hopes the city of Port Alberni can cash in on Facebook face time.

Alberni economic development manager Pat Deakin hopes the city of Port Alberni can cash in on Facebook face time.

A new initiative by the city will use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to help combat negative perceptions about Port Alberni, city economic development manager Pat Deakin said.

Deakin made the pitch to councillors at their Monday meeting.

The $50,000 contract is being underwritten with funds allocated earlier this year for the city’s ‘Face of Alberni’ campaign.

The six-month contract will be put out within the next two weeks and local firms will have a chance to bid on the work, Deakin said.

The initiative is being undertaken to help address the Valley’s image issues, as well as to provide a way for people to have input into the city’s economic development strategy, Deakin said.

The negative image of Port Alberni that Deakin hears constantly is that the city lacks sophistication, has an economy that is too resource dependent and that its population growth has stagnated.

Banking and investment institutions are aware of the images and that in turn limits investment interest, Deakin added.

A request for proposals for the project was issued last summer. Deakin received replies from three television stations and three social media outlets.

The networks proposed using television commercials shown during times when a particular demographic was watching them. The commercials had a limited shelf life and didn’t leave a lasting impression, Deakin said.

The social media firms suggested that an investment would forensically target an audience, reach a wider demographic than television and would be more versatile. The downside is that using social media requires a person dedicated to managing it.

Deakin showcased the proposals internally with city staff but never came to a conclusion about what direction to take.

But discussions with counterparts from other cities and opening his own Facebook page – which quickly filled with contacts and discussion – prompted him to pursue the social media option.

“I realized that we’re behind other municipalities in adopting social media,” Deakin said.

City manager of information services Jeff Pelech addressed council after Coun. Cindy Solda questioned the project, saying that it would attract naysayers.

The city needs to have some presence on social media because that’s where droves of people are communicating, Pelech said. The largest growing demographic joining social media is senior citizens, he added.

“It’s there whether or not we’re involved in it; the rest of the world is there,” he said. “People are talking about us whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin.”

As for naysayers participating, Pellech said that other municipalities dedicate staff that monitor social networking sites and steer the flow of conversation about them.

Councillors agreed that the conversation generated in this initiative has to be controlled and a positive spin put on it, but only to a point.

“We like to debate,” Mayor Ken McRae said.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

Read about the City of Nanaimo’s use of social media here.

Just Posted

Robert Gunn of Alberni Climate Action loads garbage discovered in the Alberni Inlet around Cous Creek into his canoe during a recent ocean shoreline cleanup. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Alberni Climate Action group creates NIC scholarship

Students attending college full time may apply through NIC

Two ambulances and a medevac helicopter are on scene at Taylor River Flats rest area on Highway 4 due to a serious motor vehicle incident. (PHOTO COURTESY MAGGIE BROWN)
Highway 4 reopens after accident at Taylor River Flats

Multi-vehicle crash had closed highway to west coast

The Rollin Art Centre is holding children’s art camps this summer. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
ARTS AROUND: Celebrate art in the garden

Rollin Art Centre will host art event on Saturday, June 26

The King Edward Liquor Store sponsored the Alberni Golf Club’s event on June 13. From left to right are Ken Porteous (manager of the King Edward Liquor Store) and Alberni Golf Club Members Don MacGowan, John Robbins and Wayne Cheveldave. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
ALBERNI GOLF: Doug Cheetham records hole in one

Next Sunday is an open day with the best gross and the best net up for grabs

Francine Cunningham is an award-winning Indigenous writer, artist and educator. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Electric Mermaid online event hosts panel of Indigenous writers

Event takes place through Char’s Landing in Port Alberni

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth and Attorney General David Eby attend opening of the first government-run B.C. Cannabis Store, Kamloops, Oct. 19, 2018. (B.C. government)
B.C. government to allow home cannabis delivery starting July 15

Added convenience expected to persuade buyers to ‘go legal’

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read