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Social Media Monitoring for Economic Development

If you are in the business of attracting or retaining business for your community, chances are your customers – whether site selectors, business owners or creative people who invent new products and services – are active on social networks and sites.

How widely are such sites used in the economic development world?  We don’t really know, because research just can’t keep up with the rapid changes.  The most often cited statistic is that 57 per cent of members of the International Economic Development Council surveyed by the IEDC and Development Counsellors International (DCI) said they were using social media tools.  But that was in 2009, a lifetime ago in Internet years.

More recently a survey of 3,800 marketers from all industries, carried out for the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report published by, found that 83 per cent of respondents said that social media was important for their business.  The survey also found that the Number 1 reported benefit of social media marketing was generating more business exposure (reported by 85 per cent of marketers), followed by increasing traffic (69 per cent) and providing marketplace insight (65 per cent).

Economic development organizations, too, probably employ social media to an almost universal extent, but they are missing out on one of its most essential benefits – finding out about themselves.

Generating Foot Traffic in Your Downtown

It’s a constant concern of communities everywhere – how to keep their downtowns and mainstreets vibrant and busy with people.  Few goals are as important to a community’s economic development, and few successes have such a broad multiplying effect.  Increased foot traffic leads to more downtown purchases, which attract quality retailers who, in turn, generate more traffic.

To get this positive cycle of growth in motion and keep it going though, is a challenge on several levels.  First of all, whose responsibility is it?  Sometimes leadership rests with economic development officials and sometimes with a business improvement association.  But really, mainstreet success takes more than one group of people. It takes a village!


Social Promotion of Events and Festivals

Techniques for promoting events and festivals have become a lot more creative and wide-ranging since the advent of social media.

The meaning of the term “promoting” actually has changed now because of what social media can do. These technologies don’t just create awareness, as traditional advertising and marketing methods do. They create activity and personal involvement. They expand an audience beyond the event itself, turning it into a center of online attention.

The gold standard for social media festival promotion has been set by the South by Southwest Festival , which took place March 11-20 in Austin, Texas. The annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival created a whole new platform called SXsocial as the official communications hub for SXSW 2011 registrants. It was the key to bringing people together across the vast festival, which this year was spread across four campuses.

Registrants could use the platform before, during and after the festival. They could build an extended profile including a photo, bio, links to their profiles on other networks, and tags of their interests both professional and personal. They could search for (more…)

Best Practice #1: The Economic Development Web Strategy

It’s hard for economic development organizations to stay on message these days. Harder than ever, in fact.

Online Social Trends are Being Embraced by EDOs

A wide variety of new web properties have been launched and broadly embraced in recent years. Web properties such as Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Wikipedia, LinkedIn and Twitter, to name just a few, have radically redefined how everyone uses the Internet in their search for information and entertainment.

Many economic development organizations have recognized the potential of riding this latest trend in social behaviour and have started their own representative sites on one or more web properties in an effort to reach a broader audience or a different audience.

Managing the Evolving Arsenal of Websites can be Disorienting

Suddenly EDOs are finding themselves managing three, four or more websites that have all grown organically in a mostly ad-hoc fashion. All of them need tender loving care and feeding that costs staff time or supplier fees. While they may attract visitors, members, views or (more…)

The Importance of Social Media Bookmarking

When a new technology trend becomes established it often has implications for investment attraction. It is now widely known, for example, that the web is the most important medium used by site selectors to gather information. A new rule of thumb arises from this – the quality of your website is a key factor in determining the success of your economic development program.

What characterizes a high-quality website? There are many facets to the answer but one principle has become clear: as a medium for communications, the site needs to be more than the sum of its parts.

That is, the site should have the ability to generate interest and activity beyond itself – beyond being simply a place where people can visit and find information. Your site should be the center of a wide and active network of interest.

This is where Web 2.0 comes in and social media bookmarking is one facet of Web 2.0 tactics. It can be used to enhance your website so that people can more easily discover, remember and share the information you publish about your community.

545 socialBookmarking widget The Importance of Social Media Bookmarking

By providing easy to use and conveniently located bookmarking links on your website you can encourage visitors to add your (more…)