Increasing Community Visibility for Economic Development

October 18, 2010 at 11:05 am Leave a comment

Here is straightforward and useful advice on increasing community visibility for economic development.

Communities leaders are working hard to make their community known to site selectors, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and existing stakeholders. This task can seem overwhelming in the face of social media, print advertising, web sites, radio spots, brochure, and limited staff and time.  So how can an economic development staff or economic development leader improve their community’s exposure?  Where should a community leader start?  Start simple and just accomplish a couple tasks and the momentum will build.

1. Encourage the community leaders to spread the word on Facebook. Members of your community are already using Facebook. They connect to family, friends, and their customers. Ask them to connect to your community Facebook page and to post comments and to “like” your Facebook posts. Don’t have a community Facebook page? Create one today. They are easy to create and the content is picked up by the search engines easily. If you are uncomfortable creating a community Facebook page, search out someone in your community or office that has created one. Keeping it up to date does require someone’s attention.  But overall it is an easy way to spread the word.

2. Set up your Linked In account. Linked In is a powerful social media site that allows people to connect to other professionals. It is intended to help people organize and follow their network of people. It is a great place to find other community leaders, give and get recommendations, and to build up your personal and community brand. It is free and very powerful.

3. Participate in the blogoshere. Do a search for blogs that relate to your community development efforts. You will find a long list of blogs about economic development and community growth. Some of these blogs come with academic credentials, some are put together by economic development leaders, some are just interested individuals sharing their ideas. In any case, find a couple you like and read and comment on their posts. Not only do you learn new ideas, but you will increase your personal and community exposure.

4. Make your economic development website visible. Do an economic development Google search for the surrounding communities in your area.  You will find many communities bury their existing economic development site into a city or county website with only a small reference to the site. If your community is really serious about letting people know you have a great community for business growth, you need to advertise that message.  Just a website or a page on an existing website is not enough to stand out on the Internet. Site selectors, businesses, and entrepreneurs review many communities and only stop on compelling sites. If your story is buried in the recesses of a city website, the story will be safely locked away for no one to see.

5. Set aside one hour a week to promote your site online. Too often economic developers are multi-tasking, attending meetings, and trying to keep up with the demands of the job and they try to squeeze in some time for their online promotion. Instead of finding time for your community, take an hour a week and dedicate it to updating your Facebook, reading and commenting on a blog, or promoting an existing business in your community on your webpage. Spotlight the success of your community and the word will get out. Be diligent and don’t neglect the most important asset of your community–its story!  Tell your story online or someone else may tell it for you.

Source: Golden Shovel

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Entry filed under: Economic Development Marketing, Economic Development Performance Measures. Tags: , , .

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