RINCON — The Effingham County Chamber of Commerce is working to ensure that Effingham County is reflected in a better internet light.
Chamber CEO Andrew Cripps explained the online effort during a Thursday meeting of the Rotary Club of Effingham County at the Herald Center.
“What we want to do is try to create some new content that is more positive about Effingham County and also use search-engine optimization techniques to bring those elements up to the top of the search engine,” he said. “We can’t eliminate the negative stuff but maybe we can knock it off the first page. “That’s an important thing that we’re trying to do.”
Currently, YouTube’s first few Effingham County entries feature accusations of police brutality and a child pornography sweep.
Cripps said the project will pick up steam after the chamber concludes its ongoing effort to promote the county’s Nov. 3 TSPLOST referendum. TSPLOST is a one-percent sales tax designed to fund transportation badly needed transportation projects.
“We are in the midst of promoting or marketing TSPLOST,” Cripps said. “Our role in this is — we are allowed to say vote ‘yes.’ The county and city staff can’t advocate for it but we can.”
The chamber started its TSPLOST push during the summer after the Effingham County Board of Commissioners and the city councils in Guyton, Rincon and Springfield inked intergovernmental agreements about the projects the tax will fund if it is approved.
“It’s a Nov. 3 election but they are already sending out absentee ballots now and early voting starts Oct. 13,” Cripps said, “so we’ve got to move now.”
The chamber has free yard signs available for TSPLOST proponents at its office at 520 W. 3rd St., Springfield.
The marketing effort also includes an electronic billboard rental, postcards and newspaper advertising. A TSPLOST video is also available for viewing at the chamber’s website — www.effinghamcounty.org.
“The key to our strategy is looking at what chambers in other areas have done in promoting the TSPLOST whether it worked or not,” Cripps said. “When it didn’t work, they bombarded people with facts but they never focused on the benefits. What we try to do is get those benefits out front and center, and if people want more information we will make that available.”
TSPLOST has been projected to generate $45 million over five years.