How Collected 100K UGC Stories and Increased Monthly Visitors by 36% with

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A sky and the top of three buildings. A stripe at the bottom highglights the photo of Peter Sleipchner, the hashtag #HastingsNowStories and a video icon.

Watch this video to learn how Peter Slapichner, Co-Founder of, collected 100k authentic stories from citizens of Hastings, Minnesota, and how they topped 30k monthly website visitors with the help of 5 social walls.


Here’s the TL;DR: 

Challenge: Peter and Ashley Slapichner wanted to stand against fake and polarizing news from local radio stations and legacy newspapers. They realized that the town of Hastings needed an authentic media broadcaster that collected real stories from the residents.

Solution: adopted to keep track of everything happening in town in real-time. They no longer had to depend on fake news; instead, they created a public meeting space where the townspeople could share valuable, timely information. They created 5 24/7 feeds with different topics, where everyone could share updates via Direct Posts or a hashtag on social media.

Results: Besides finding the ideal setup for gathering factual information directly from the townspeople, have collected almost 100k (99,168 as of the beginning of August) authentic stories with the help of The site also increased its monthly visitors from 19k to 30k (36% increase!) thanks to their five social walls.

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How uses

HastingsNow, the brainchild of Peter and his wife Ashley, serves as a digital hub that aggregates local information for the town of Hastings. Through five distinct social media walls – Food & Drink, Elections, News, Sports, and Community Stories – the platform captures the essence of the town’s diverse interests.

Here’s an example of the sports landing page:

Screenshot of the Sports section on the HastingsNow website. It includes a list of local sports entities and an embedded social media wall.
The sports landing page on includes a directory of the accounts used as sources for the social wall and an embed of the social wall itself.
A poster saying “Take one for the TEAM! Share local sports photography on” and explaining how the audience can share their photos via email, tweet or hashtag.
A poster that was hung in the Hastings ice arena to get the audience to post their pics from games using the hashtag #HastingNow or by sharing photos via email or Twitter.

The inception of HastingsNow traces back to a personal quest to transform the narrative surrounding Hastings. Overcoming the stereotype of being a mere bedroom community, Peter aimed to boost local engagement. Through many efforts, HastingsNow evolved from a grassroots initiative into a dynamic digital space. The platform champions inclusivity, enabling local businesses and individuals to share their stories and contribute to the communal tapestry.

As the Slapichners continue to adapt and innovate, HastingsNow emerges as a testament to the power of perseverance and the potential of user-generated content to create meaningful connections within communities.

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