With the Social Media Era well underway, it's clear that large businesses see the value of the Internet. Companies like Old Spice can produce funny, attention-grabbing commercials that soon gain new life and go viral, using networks like Twitter and Facebook as engines. Predictably, small business and government lag behind in the trend.

In an effort to promote local business and appeal to tech-submissive millennials, the City of Santa Fe's Economic Development Division and 12FPS have teamed for an Instagram contest dubbed #HowtoSantaFe.

12FPS, a creative agency that operates in San Francisco and Santa Fe, was tasked with bringing youth-oriented marketing strategies to a city heavy with a retiree population.

"Consumers want to be engaged not just sold to," is a line from a marketing video created by 12FPS for Adobe in 2012. While the sentiment rings true, the real question is: How do you engage the consumer?

"The nature of ads are that they are pushing ideas down, while social media is more organic," says the firm's director Adam Shaening-Pokrasso. "It gives the public more control on what works."

Ad research highlights an interesting Catch-22. While 94 percent of Americans are comfortable with targeted advertising, they become uncomfortable when their personal information, often provided on sites such as Facebook, is sold to third-party advertisers.

#HowtoSantaFe is cleverly circumventing the problem by having participants post their own pictures, promoting an individual's connection to the city while also offering free advertising for local businesses.

Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales says he sees the value of the approach. "We need to attract and appeal to younger people in Santa Fe. This is an opportunity to bring talent into this community and to boost local businesses on social media," he says.

The campaign, which begins tomorrow, Aug. 15, runs through early November. The first category, Art and Design, runs from August 15-28. Organizers are asking that to participate in the first category you hashtag pictures celebrating various art installations, design and architecture with #HowtoSantaFe, during the specified time period.

Davis Mather Folk Art Gallery, family owned and operated for over 30 years, will provide one of the prizes for the first round. Amanda Mather, daughter of Davis Mather, was excited for crash course in social media. "My father is not technologically, super savvy," she says. " Business models are changing. [Social Media] is a great way to advertise to a younger demographic."

The gallery, 141 Lincoln Ave., specializes in folk, Hispanic and Native American handicrafts and plans to award the first round winner with a $100 gift certificate to the gallery. “Our hope is that [#HowtoSantaFe] will garner much needed attention.”

Get information on specific contest categories here.