In the highly competitive global economy, government entities are increasingly turning to social media outlets as an avenue to attract new business to their localities. Log onto Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter and you are likely to find countless accounts created by agencies dedicated to economic growth across the nation.
We have all attended seminars and workshops where leaders boasted of a social networking page for their organization only to be extremely disappointed when finally having the opportunity to display the content posted. Simply having a social networking account with bits of information posted to the world will not foster economic development, and in many instances may work counterproductive to the mission of the organization. Business, especially venture capitalists and corporations seeking to relocate, expect government and non-profit groups to understand how to use the new media as a tool for success and will be attracted to entities with a well constructed social media plan.
Like any successful marketing campaign, social networking requires a sophisticated strategy designed to showcase the positives of your community to a targeted audience. Unfortunately, many entities create a social networking account for their particular agency before writing a plan on how the new media outlet can be employed to reach the organization’s goals and objectives.
I offer the following tips for economic development agencies when using social networking.
- Customize the Page: Your name, pictures, information, etc. should reflect your agency. Be sure to include a description of the services your agency offers or how your agency can facilitate economic development.
- Find Followers: Just having a social media account does not mean your agency will be found by your targeted audience. Successful social media campaigns seek out existing users and network by joining existing groups, etc.
- Use Your Social Networking Accounts: Nothing will turn off a potential business or client more than an agency that fails to use social media. All too often, agencies create social networking accounts and forget to use them as a tool.
- Use Hashtags: Hashtags allow people to categorize your messages. For example, economic development can be searched allowing anyone to find messages that include the hashtag.
I hope you find these suggestions useful. If you wish, I would enjoy working with your agency to develop a social networking plan. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or comments.