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Zero Fatalities RFP - Social Media

Cottonwood Canyons Social Media

Utah Department of Transportation

The Cottonwood Canyons are full of visitors, especially during ski season, creating traffic reliability and mobility issues. Winter weather conditions create safety issues as well. Better communication was needed at all levels of the community: canyon visitors, neighborhoods surrounding the canyons, businesses and employees, government agencies, emergency responders and law enforcement agencies, UTA, news media and more. UDOT had the opportunity to better coordinate information among partners and to provide coordinated messages to the public to influence their behavior.

Social media became the thread that tied all levels of the community together with cohesive, timely communication.

Penna Powers involved canyon partners and stakeholders in social media plans both on and offline.

We held in-person meetings and workshops with canyon stakeholders to shape the strategy. We established communication protocols to ensure that partners would rally around unified social media strategies and messaging. Online, we followed, tagged, and encouraged sharing among partners for optimal audience reach and influence. Information provided from the social media accounts was re-shared by canyon partners, establishing UDOT as the primary source of information.

We studied the canyon visitor audience to understand which social media channels they would use and how they would use them. We developed the idea of embedding a social media manager with the canyon roadway operations team to create and publish timely, authentic and accurate information.

We found success in:

  • Combining raw, visual footage from the field with compelling and consistently branded graphics
  • Delivering information in a friendly, playful and helpful tone to connect with the audience in a way that would resonate with them
  • Delivering information in a definitive, clear and factual manner to maintain professionalism and credibility
  • Taking advantage of the publishing features of each channel (for example, Instagram Stories, IGTV, and swipe-up links)
  • Rather than one-size-fits-all content, putting each social media channel to work doing what it does best—Twitter for real-time info and road conditions, Instagram for strong visual messages, and Facebook for education and awareness


From November 2019 – March 2020:

  • 13.5 million impressions, 400,600 engagements, and 6,326 link clicks
  • 36,400 minutes of video viewed
  • The top video was shared over 1,000 times across Facebook and Instagram
  • Canyon users and area residents changed their behavior and made travel decisions based on the information provided on social media
  • In a post-season survey, 98.6% of canyon visitors found the social media content useful and timely
  • 100% of partners supported continuing the social media effort for the 2020-21 season
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