Thanks to Sarah Pierce, there’s a means for everyone in Greater Lansing to live a richer life. It’s 517 Living, a website where users can share and tap into local business offerings and events.
“I was looking for ways to live a more interesting life,” she said. “Greater Lansing has a lot of hidden gems, and I had experience with small businesses needing better ways to connect with communities. I can’t recall what exactly prompted me to take that first step of creating a Twitter account for 517 Living, but I quickly added a website with a community-built event calendar and formed a Facebook group.”
The site has a Facebook group called 517 Living Community and, as of this writing, it has close to 21,000 members – and is growing every day.
Pierce said she’s the sole administrator of all 517 Living platforms, but the group and event calendar content is submitted almost entirely by people in the Greater Lansing area. On average, the groups sees 56 posts shared and roughly five to 15 event submissions each day.
“517 Living wouldn’t exist without those contributions,” Pierce said. “It has evolved into a pretty well-oiled, community-operated machine. I’ve spent the past five years chirping in everyone’s ears, private messaging businesses and encouraging people into our group, calendar and other platforms. But now, my overall approach to running 517 Living is pretty organic and laid back.”
So, what does a typical 517 Living workday look like? It starts at Pierce’s home over coffee.
“I approve posts, publish event submissions to the calendar, respond to messages and brainstorm ways to increase traffic and engagement,” she said. “I create giveaways with locally purchased or donated prizes, post networking threads, ‘heart’ and repost #517living Instagram photos, visit local businesses, attend events, enjoy local food and end my day grateful to live in the 517.”
Pierce is also a broker for Trade Network (tradenetwork.org) and a cultural mentor for Samaritas (samaritas.org). She said she’s always surprised when she meets a stranger who uses 517 Living.
“In the early stages, I sometimes doubted the effectiveness of what I was doing, so it means a lot to hear how 517 Living has helped a small business or about a group member’s great experience at an event discovered through our calendar,” she said. Those stories are great encouragement.
“My goals for 517 Living are pretty simple,” Pierce continued. “I’d like to always be growing, adapting and trying new things. I think those are good goals for every aspect of life.”
You can check out the 517 Living website at 517living.com/.