Carefully Crafted on July 31

Case Study: Columbus Commons Celebrates the Start of Summer with a Virtual Block Party

Columbus Commons is a park located in the heart of Downtown Columbus that features live performances, free fitness classes, family-friendly activities, special events, a weekly “Food Truck Food Court” and more throughout the summer. Since opening in 2011, Geben has worked with Columbus Commons to use social media to position the park as a premier downtown destination offering something for everyone. During “busy season” (April-September, when most park programming is scheduled), that includes promoting events, distributing news/updates, building relationships with people who love the park and providing real-time customer service to event attendees.

APPROACH: To kick off this summer at Columbus Commons, we organized a Virtual Block Party on social media. During each hour of the “party,” activities on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram highlighted various aspects of the park, while simultaneously boosting online engagement. Anyone who participated at any point throughout the day was entered to win a Columbus Commons-themed grand prize, including free parking vouchers, free drink tickets to use at an upcoming summer concert and tickets to Picnic with the Pops, one of the park’s signature summer activities.

In addition to celebrating the start of summer, the block party also helped to:

  • Grow the client’s online footprint
  • Increase social chatter around Columbus Commons
  • Pique interest in, and drive attendance at, upcoming park events


A Facebook event created leading up to the block party outlined what activities were scheduled and how fans could participate. We incorporated multiple promotions and reminders to participate in our social content calendars, including a handful of Promoted Posts on Facebook. Columbus Commons also shared block party details in its weekly e-newsletter.

To kick off the block party on Friday, June 20, images posted simultaneously on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram reminded fans and followers to participate, including a link to the Facebook event for full details. Additionally, Promoted Posts scheduled in advance on Facebook (to go live within each hour of the event) helped highlight and promote each individual activity. The day’s schedule included:

  • All day activities: In addition to participating in scheduled online activities every hour, fans could also stop by the park to take a photo and post it online with the hashtag #CCBlockParty. Additionally, fans could listen to Columbus Commons’ “official” Virtual Block Party playlist – a list of summer-themed songs that had been crowdsourced through Facebook earlier in the week.
  • 10 am – Favorite Columbus Commons Memory: Fans could share their favorite events and activities at Columbus Commons by tweeting with us, uploading photos to Instagram or commenting on a Facebook post.
  • 11 am – Downtown Live! Trivia: On Twitter, the first person to correctly answer each trivia question about Columbus Commons’ Downtown Live! concert series won a free drink ticket to use at one of this summer’s concerts.
  • Noon – Guess the Food Truck: Fans guessed each food that participates in the park’s weekly Food Truck Food Court based on photos of each truck’s “signature dish.”
  • 1 pm – Fitness Q&A: During a live Q&A within the comments of a Facebook post, one of the instructors who hosts free fitness classes at Columbus Commons answered fans’ questions about his classes and offered general fitness advice. During the Q&A, our team were also on hand to answer any additional questions about Columbus Commons’ full fitness class line-up.
  • 2 pm – Grand Prize Giveaway: Throughout the block party, each person who had participated at any point throughout the event was entered into a Grand Prize drawing. We randomly selected a winner at 2pm, then used this hour to announce the winner and coordinate getting their prize delivered.

RESULTS: The Virtual Block Party successfully helped expand the park’s online community and increase engagement, while promoting upcoming events. Throughout the week of the block party, Columbus Commons gained 60% more, and reached 250% more, Facebook fans than it had the week before.

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Empowered by Geben Communication