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Boulevard Social Media Tool Kit available

September 9, 2015
By Bud Nocera , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce is being pro-active in anticipating the needs of

the hospitality industry during the Estero Boulevard infrastructure replacement project. While we

certainly hope we get no adverse comments regarding construction or traffic on social media sites like TripAdvisor, we see a need to be prepared. Thus we have begun implementing elements of a social media plan specifically created for our hospitality industry.

The purpose of the campaign is to help our hospitality industry create positive messages to inform guests about the project prior to their arrival and help businesses respond favorably to any negative social media comments that may affect future tourism to Fort Myers Beach.

Originally, we had hoped this should be a cooperative project among the chamber, town and county governments, with funding from the Lee County Tourist Development Council. We brought the

concept before the TDC on Aug. 13. Unfortunately the county attorney present opined that the proposed social media campaign is a road issue not a tourism issue, and thus no bed tax dollars

could be used on it. So we are moving forward on our own.

We propose using the tag line "Pardon Our Progress" with a cartoon character to provide a softened approach for the messaging. The bird character has been copyrighted by the chamber, but we make it available to any Fort Myers Beach accommodation, restaurant or retail store to use on their website

or social media site.

The campaign will be comprised of several elements, most important of which will be a tool kit for local beach businesses. The tool kit would have examples of ways for businesses to respond to negative

comments regarding the construction or traffic that may appear on their business' social media sites. It would provide positive messaging to communicate with guests, patrons, employees and media.

The campaign would provide a landing page the chamber will maintain with proactive and positive messaging and links to public information on construction and live traffic maps and traffic cams.

The campaign will include other elements based on "best practices" gleaned from industry professionals like Cella-Molnar, and communities who have been through similar infrastructure

construction projects.

The Chamber seeks sponsors for the project. Based on available funding, the campaign should include a part-time social media or public relations professional to conduct daily monitoring of all Fort Myers Beach social media sites. This person would reach out to Beach businesses with proactive offers to

assist businesses who receive negative comments. The campaign will be fluid, and needs to include the possibility of social media advertising, should conditions warrant it.

In the absence of funding, we will be focusing on the tool kit and landing page. Help spread the word it is available. If you can help sponsor the campaign, please contact us at 454-7500.

--Bud Nocera is the president of the Fort Myers Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.



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