Transit is Essential – Greenville, SC
Target Audience: The "Transit is Essential" campaign targeted the broader audience of Greenville County residents to address the negative stigma many people express towards public transit and transit users. Greenville Connects is a new organization that was established to help advocate for increased public investment in the Regional Transit Authority serving Greenville County. In 2019, a loosely formed coalition of supporters attended Greenville County Council meetings wearing t-shirts visually displaying their support and providing public comments in favor of increasing the public transit budget. In 2019, Greenville Connects' efforts helped to increase the annual transit funding allocated by Greenville County from $600,000 in FY2019 to $2 million in FY2020 and $2.5 million in FY2021.
Strategy Objective:Greenville Connects has been inactive since its 2019 advocacy for increased transit funding. However, the organization recently hired a new executive director and used the campaign to reintroduce itself to the public. Greenville Connects already had existing Facebook and Instagram pages, but to cross-promote the campaign videos it also established LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. The strategy included an effort to tag the employers of the featured riders. A two-page pamphlet announcing the campaign was mailed to a list of influencers. Social media posts and the brochure directed audiences to a website that includes an option to donate to Greenville Connects and a match from another philanthropic organization will provide winter giveaways to Greenlink bus riders and t-shirts for the donors.
Situation Challenge: A common misconception shared within our community is that transit is only used by the unemployed. Greenville Connects (https://greenvilleconnects.org/) and Greenlink partnered to develop the Transit is Essential campaign to showcase Greenlink customers that worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in essential roles that Greenville County – and the nation – relied on to help keep communities healthy. The videos highlight bus riders who work at hospitals, grocery stores, and restaurants. Not only are transit customers employed, but they work in careers that are in high demand. We should be thankful for their dedication to their jobs throughout these uncertain times, and thankful to the transit services that help get them to work.
Results Impact: Facebook's option to boost posts provided an opportunity to engage with the most users. Between November 19 – December 10, 2021, the five videos achieved the following metrics: - Reached: 40,424 - Engagements: 4,550 - Post clicks: 4,234 - Link clicks: 876 - Reactions: 198 - Comments: 25 - Shares: 18 - https://www.facebook.com/GreenvilleConnects The two newest social media pages – LinkedIn and Twitter – also saw high levels of engagement, especially given the accounts were created simultaneously with the Transit is Essential campaign launch. Twitter: https://twitter.com/GVLConnects - Impressions: 1,217 - Video views: 240 - Likes: 17 - Retweets: 11 LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/greenville-connects/ - Impressions: 450 - Video views: 1,372 - Reactions: 23 - Shares: 25
Why Submit: Greenville Connects' goal is to help secure a dedicated revenue source for transit in Greenville County. Greenlink's Transit Development Plan recommends increasing bus frequency, adding Sunday service, establishing new routes, and more. However, sustainable funding is not available for increased annual operating expenses. To institute stable investment, policy makers need to know the public supports transit. The "Transit is Essential" campaign was a successful initiative to showcase transit customers who work in our community, and the bus service that gets them to work, in a positive light. Additionally, the campaign includes plans to recruit volunteers and invite media to distribute the gifts made possible through the campaign donations to transit users on Monday, February 14, 2022.