The City of La Vergne is combining two modern technologies in an unexpected way to bring news and information to residents. The electronic billboard on Murfreesboro Road is displaying city announcements using the RSS feed from its Facebook page, including meeting reminders, road work, upcoming events, and more.
Without a city newspaper or radio station located in La Vergne, the city has tried numerous methods to communicate with residents, including news inserts in water bills, web announcements, event posters, and signs. La Vergne expanded its outreach 18 months ago to become the first municipality in Rutherford County to use social media. Today La Vergne is displaying its Facebook feed on the electronic billboard owned by Lamar Advertising.
Money spent by the city for newspaper and radio advertising in previous years failed to reach most of the population. Rather than paying marketing dollars to sources that are increasingly putting news behind pay walls, the city chose to use the billboard as a tool that would allow for the most visibility.
The LED billboard across the street from the La Vergne Public Library onMurfreesboro Roadreaches potentially 55,000 people in cars every day. The billboard was approved by the Codes Department in January of 2011, but La Vergne just tapped into the marketing potential in July. Advertisements that have been shown include the reconstructive photo of Jane Doe which has produced three possible leads, events at Veterans Memorial Park, information to sign up for the weather warning system CodeRED, and now live Facebook feeds.
The city is the first in middleTennessee to use Facebook feeds on a billboard, which have included news about road paving, water service, safe driving reminders as the school year started, a genealogy class offered at the library, and more. "Lamar Advertising is excited the City of La Vergne has chosen outdoor digital technology to distribute information to residents through Facebook. We wish them great success," said Joe McDowell, vice president/general manager.
“We have seen early success using the billboard. There has been a huge jump in attendance at our events, most recently our numbers for National Night Out nearly doubled,” said Alderman Tom Broeker. “Because historically it has been a challenge to reach residents with information, it will be exciting to see how this advertising tool will affect upcoming events. The initial results have already been very encouraging.”