Northeast Tarrant

Hurst receives national award for social media campaigns

The headaches brought on by the North Tarrant Express construction didn’t stop Hurst officials from an aggressive marketing campaign to get people to come shopping in the city.

The Shop First in Hurst campaign brought the city national recognition recently for its efforts to spread the word on Facebook, other social media sites and through an email campaign.

Hurst recently received an award from GovDelivery, a company that helps governmental entities to promote what they have to offer through social media. Hurst also works with GovDelivery. Hurst was the only city to be recognized for its social media efforts.

The construction meant that shoppers had a more difficult time getting to North East Mall, the third-largest indoor shopping mall in the state. Since less than 20 percent of the shoppers live in Hurst, officials didn’t want to lose sales tax revenue. The city launched a campaign to give away four $250 gift cards to local retailers. The gift cards were promoted on Facebook and also mentioned in emails.

In an email, spokeswoman Ashleigh Johnson wrote, “As a marketing team, we’re constantly striving to effectively communicate to our residents, businesses and visitors in the most appropriate way. Social media has proven to be a vital part of that communication strategy and we’re honored to be recognized for those efforts. At the end of the day, it’s all about making our city look it’s best, promoting our businesses and events, and facilitating a sense of pride among our residents.”

Johnson said a former Councilman Charles Swearengen came up with the “Shop First in Hurst” slogan in the 1980s, but social media made it much easier to promote the concept. It is used as a hashtag and also is included in economic development materials.

Hurst was also recognized for its efforts to promote animal adoptions as subscribers to email from the animal services department got updates when new animals were available for adoption. The email messages also included links to the adoptable animals Facebook page and a link to a lost and found form.

Since the adoption campaign was launched, 259 pets were adopted while 142 were reported as lost.

Elizabeth Campbell: 817-390-7696, @fwstliz