Heart of Richmond is a digital storytelling and marketing series designed to lift up the voices of our local entrepreneurial community. Over the course of 4 weeks, we are sharing the stories and voices of 12 women-owned, food & beverage, Latinx-owned, and Black-owned Richmond businesses, and sponsoring promoted posts for them through our social media channels.
When we sheltered in place this past March, we realized the businesses in our district who did not have an online presence or e-commerce platform would not easily pivot. Since we have online platforms, we approached Wells Fargo to fund a digital marketing series to amplify the voices of our merchants.
We selected a local photographer, Robin Lopez, and scheduled photoshoots that captured the faces and products of our businesses to add quality photos to our storytelling. Ronnie Mills, our project manager, interviewed each business via recorded Zoom sessions and went through the transcripts using Otter.ai to edit and transcribe interviews for our weekly emails and blog posts. Alicia Gallo, our Program & Communications Manager compiled the photos, video clips, and transcripts into MaiChimp emails, compelling blog posts, social media posts across Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Vivian Wong, our Executive Director, was able to get an interview with Richmond Standard to launch the series. We actively engaged our Wells Fargo contact to promote the series via his LinkedIn profile.
We thought it would be most organized to showcase weekly themed businesses, including Black-owned
, and food and beverage
businesses. We compiled a list of existing businesses in our downtown district and made contact with them. We also made contact with businesses we have helped in the past with technical assistance who were Richmond-based.
We have received very positive feedback from the participating businesses and the public. Out of the survey responses, 70% of the participants experienced increased sales and social media followers from our #HeartofRichmond series. See quotes below.
"We have received some orders from new customers that we will like to build on. It opened new opportunities for us and putting our business in front of more people to know our name. I believe this was a great thing for small businesses and micro businesses. If nothing else all of our businesses were put in front of new faces and that itself is a blessing. The communication with staff was amazing. Everyone was passionate about what they do and about helping and that was more than we can ask for, so thank you!" - Callie Green, Blessed Kiss Cosmetics
"Partaking in the series provided the impetus to expand connections through social media with Instagram, which has benefited the store with new followers, customers and requests after posts from the Heart of Richmond were viewed. This was a very thoughtfully focused campaign and it provided an opportunity to capture and expose the human/humane elements of the businesses and owners that the public seldom has an opportunity to experience. It added a very personal connection to those featured in the series, including RMS. Thank you for selection and opportunity to be a part of the Heart of Richmond Series, that exemplified Pride & Purpose." - Ghaliyah Roberts-Palmer, Gratitude Gift Shop