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Communication Faculty, Students, Alumni Publicize Festival Via Social Media

Communication Faculty, Students, Alumni Publicize Festival Via Social Media

Posted: July 27, 2015

Deborah Silverman, associate professor of communication, applied her public relations expertise to an event close to her home and heart—Burger Fest, held July 18 in Hamburg.

The 30th annual event that included live bands, kids’ rides and activities, a classic car show and, of course, a variety of vendors serving up hamburgers, is a fundraiser for community scholarships, public libraries, a winter clothing drive for children, and a youth recreation program through the collective efforts of the Rotary Club of Hamburg, Sunrise Rotary Club of Hamburg, Town of Hamburg Lions Club, and Kiwanis Club of Hamburg.

Silverman has attended the festival almost every year since its inception, and last year she noticed one important thing missing—a strong social media presence.

“They had a mainly inactive Facebook page and no Twitter or Instagram,” she said. “So I joined the BurgerFest committee in May and created a new communication plan.”

After being added as a Facebook administrator and creating Twitter and Instagram accounts, she began posting daily on all three social media outlets.

“We saw a steady increase in our audience across all three platforms, especially Facebook.”

She also recruited four of her former students —Bryanna Gwitt, Lucy Lopez, Peter Murphy, and Colleen Young— to assist. Prior to the festival Young, a May 2015 graduate, interviewed 2016 Burger Fest chair Phil Durkin for her “Live with Colly” YouTube show. The others students worked the day of the festival posting photos and moderating online comments and questions.

Tom McCray (pictured at left with Silverman), who just retired from the Buffalo State Communication Department, also participated by doing a two-hour remote broadcast (as Tom Donahue) for WECK Radio.

“We had huge crowds the entire day due to both the beautiful weather and lots of publicity,” Silverman said. “It's a great feeling to give back to the community where I have lived for so many years.”

Next year’s event will be held on July 16, which Silverman aptly pointed out could use the date to its advantage.

The festival committee agreed to market it as “Burger Fest on the 716” and tying into #716Day. Look for it on social media channels starting next spring. 

Pictured at top: Senior Bryanna Gwitt; Lucy Lopez, a 2015 communication graduate, and Deborah Silverman.


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(716) 878-3517

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