A pop up high street has descended on the Market Square in Stafford, to launch a pilot digital campaign aimed at encouraging more people into the town centre.
More than a dozen local shops have taken marquees into the Market Square to promote their businesses as part of the #WDYT campaign.
Stafford is one of a handful of towns taking part in the initiative which uses social media to encourage more people to hit their local high street.
A number of retailers have been given advice and help to open Twitter and Instagram accounts to boost their businesses as part of the scheme, which has been backed by the Stafford Town Centre Partnership (TCP) and the Borough Council.
Stores around the town have been taking photos of their businesses, products and services and posting them to Twitter or Instagram alongside the hashtags #WDYT and #STAFFORD.
Previously Stafford was around 120th in the country for its amount of digital ‘noise’ - but latest measurements show the town has climbed nearly 50 places nationally in the last couple of weeks because of the campaign.
Chris Lewis, Chair of the TCP, (pictured with Dee from Hadleigh Jewellery) said: “Our businesses know that the traditional High Street has changed over the years and burying your head in the sand is not an option if you want to survive.
“But we want to be clear. Our town centre is not dying – it is evolving. And Stafford needs to be equipped to take advantage of that evolution. We want people who search and socialise online to see what this town, its retailers and its services, has to offer and choose Stafford as their default destination to shop, eat and enjoy.”
The digital pilot is a Government initiative and money to run the campaign has been funded by the Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership through the Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub.
Head of Economic Development and Planning at Stafford Borough Council, Richard Lawrence, said: “It is great to see how many businesses in the town have already embraced this pilot campaign and are doing what they can to ensure Stafford town centre is on the digital map.
“I hope many more retailers come on board over the next few months and that residents support their local businesses by using them, and promoting them, to a wider audience.”
David Frost CBE, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise partnership chairman, said: “This initiative is a great example of the forward-thinking and innovative attitude of our local businesses.
“It is important to use opportunities such as social media to the full to help create vibrant town centres and make this area a great place to work, live and invest.”