Marketing director focused on helping downtown with digital media

Aaron Hoffman, marketing and communications director for the Downtown Economic Partnership, works with Patti Kurztman in her office at Kurtzman/Lintott Gallery, explaining the benefits of tapping into social media.

At its essence, the Grand Junction Downtown Partnership is a network of all the key players charged with keeping the downtown area vital.

So it seems a natural fit that the newly hired marketing and communications director is committed to making a push in the social media sphere, where networking is a lifeblood.

Aaron Hoffman joined the partnership in mid-February after previously working at Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting, where his responsibilities included a unique blend of social and digital media, marketing and communications, event planning and community engagement.

That experience in social media should have particular synergy with his new job at the partnership, Hoffman said.

“One of the things that we are looking at right now is helping out the businesses with (social media like Facebook and Twitter),” he said. “We have a larger audience than most businesses do, so we can kind of act as a mouthpiece for those businesses when they have something special going on.”

Hoffman said in addition to the announcements about public events and other news currently found on the Partnership’s social media channels —, or on Twitter @downtowngj — businesses can take advantage of their wider audience to promote a special event or new merchandise, for example.

Hoffman sees the set-up as similar to his work at Rocky Mountain PBS.

“A lot of times we would use PBS national social media channels to help us promote what’s going on more regionally,” he said. “So I almost look at it as a similar model, where we’re the larger downtown organization and we can help all the constituents communicate their needs and spread the word.”

In addition to integrating more specific communications from downtown businesses, Hoffman said much of what will happen on the group’s Facebook page will be simply adding to the strengths already built into the channel.

“We have almost 5,000 fans, and we’re looking to increase that, and increase the engagement on there as well,” Hoffman said.

“I think we want to start customizing our posts so that we can better promote downtown businesses, and also start engaging people on issues that affect downtown,” he said, referencing the recently announced effort to rehabilitate the iconic Avalon Theatre as one topic that could find a home for dialog on the group’s Facebook page.

Residents will still see posts on its pages about the partnership’s bread-and-butter events — such as the weekly farmers’ markets in the summer, the annual Art and Jazz Festival, the Parade of Lights, and the Fourth of July parade — going forward.

But Hoffman can also be a resource for downtown businesses hoping to move into social media as well. He’s put out the call that he is on the job to help them bridge the social media gap, should they need it.

“If you want assistance with this, if we can help you promote something via social media, let me know,” he said.

Like everything else in the social media world, new outlets are being created all the time, and Hoffman hopes to branch out as well. He said one of things he’ll be looking at is creating a Pinterest page — a newer site that allows users to share photos with others based around specific themes — and also an Instagram photo-sharing account for the partnership.

The partnership is a collaboration of a number of groups — the Downtown Development Authority, the Downtown Business Improvement District and the Downtown Association — who pool their resources on capital projects, redevelopment activities and marketing and promotion.


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