So just who is behind that popular “West End of Monroe County” Facebook page?
It turns out that the person who has been promoting West End businesses, dishing out West End news and advertising the region in general, all on one Facebook page, is Barry Dawson, a West End native who has much experience in promotions and in the communications field.
Dawson, who worked for the rock radio station WZZO for many years, said that he started the page because he sees great economic potential in the West End and he really loves the region. The page has garnered hundreds of “likes” in a short period of time and has now grown to include a separate West End website and a streaming radio station.
“I know the West End really well and I truly want to see its businesses succeed. When they succeed, everyone succeeds, said Dawson, 35, of Effort.
The page began to generate buzz almost immediately after Dawson started it, in early December 2012. Few people knew he wrote the page, but it had photos and insider information on many things West End.
As December progressed, more and more people started to visit the site, which told people which West End businesses were offering good deals and which businesses were slated to come to the West End. Dawson also began posting weather updates, traffic photos and some regional history on the page.
On Wednesday, the page had 672 “likes.” But more impressively, 433 people on Facebook were “talking about” the page. When people are interacting with a Facebook page in a range of ways, Facebook says they are “talking about” it.
Dawson credits his experience in the fields of promotions and communications with the success of the page. Dawson spent many years as the head marketing director for WZZO. His main duty was to build an audience for the station. He also worked in radio in other states and briefly attended the Art Institute of Philadelphia.
And now he’s applying that knowledge. Dawson, who works out of the kitchen of his home at the moment, works about 12 hours a day on the page. He also recently launched a companion website called West End Supporter, which gives information on the West End, offers a business directory, and shows where local events will be held, among other things.Dawson hopes to add a streaming radio station to the West End Supporter website. On the radio station, community leaders will be interviewed, issues facing the region will be discussed and local bands will have their music aired.
Ultimately, Dawson would like for the main focus to be the West End Supporter website because he can sell ads on it and actually earn some money. But he says that he will continue to maintain and contribute content to the Facebook page.