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Seneca Co. IDA weighs marketing and PR options

At Thursday’s meeting of the Seneca County Industrial Development Agency — marketing and public relations took front stage.

Erica Paolicelli provided an update to the IDA board, who will be taking a vote next month to begin the process of soliciting bids from public relation and marketing firms to handle outreach.

In addition to raw outreach, overhauling the IDA’s website, which is not mobile-friendly will be partly a priority of the new plan.

Paolicelli, who is a General Manager and Partner at Three Brothers Wineries & Estates, noted that the IDA is missing out on several opportunities due to a website that is outdated and not managed well.

“Parts of the website appear as though they haven’t been updated or modified in at least three years,” she explained. “Anytime you let something go for that long search engines will forget you.”

“We also discussed utilizing platforms like Facebook to solicit comments in real-time on various items the IDA is working on,” Paolicelli continued.

Several concerns were raised by board members, who noted awareness of ADA compliance guidelines, regulation of how frequently — or what issues specifically would be addressed by the IDA in those interactions online — and even how much manpower would be dedicated to the various undertakings.

Specifically, Paolicelli noted that Facebook would yield a significant benefit for the IDA, as it’s been utilized by other IDA’s to gain feedback from the community.

Thomas Kime, another member of the IDA voiced concerns over ADA compliance specifically on websites, which he asserted is resulting in frequent lawsuits. “It doesn’t even require having a complaint filed anymore. There are databases that just run website after website and it’s basically an open check for those threatening litigation,” he explained.

The board unanimously expressed interest in moving forward with some sort of plan, though. The board will put together a resolution, which would be readied for the March meeting, soliciting bids from public relation and marketing firms.

Public outreach has also been made a priority. While the IDA has no official public relations team at this juncture, they have been using the services of an independent contractor — who also serves as Earl Martin’s public relation coordinator.

Martin was the bidder selected to buy the former Seneca Army Depot, which was recently turned into a lease-to-buy agreement where he would lease the property for a year — before becoming owner.

Other highlights from a prospective plan or request for proposal would include:

– Specific guidelines as to how much effort would be put into the website, social media, and other digital platforms by IDA employees.
– An outlined plan to determine what platforms would be used; Facebook was discussed. However, other platforms could be part of the plan.
– A structured, regimented content stream, which would ensure the website stays updated.
– An allocation of effort from the contracted party to take care of the various assets employed; such as press releases, website management, social media presence, etc.

The board did not take any action on Thursday regarding this matter. However, they expect to take action at the next meeting, which is scheduled for March 2nd.

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