As strong proponents of entrepreneurship, economic developers are always trying to raise our visibility and make it easy for entrepreneurs to find and contact us. Because as long as your brand is in front of business owners reminding them about their potential, you are growing your entrepreneurial ecosystem.
However, just like it is for a small business, getting your name out there can be tricky and, at times, expensive (especially when advertising isn’t in the budget).
We recently attended the Social Media Trends to Put into Practice in 2017 webinar hosted by Hootsuite where we learned about what the future of social media holds. While Hootsuite’s focus was on tactics and strategies marketers can use to increase business revenue, many of the lessons we learned translate into the #econdev world.
Social media is becoming one of the first ways people experience brands. Before physically walking into your office, entrepreneurs have already read your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram pages to understand your organization better. What they are also doing, but may not be aware of, is is getting a feel for your brand. As they study your social channels, entrepreneurs ask themselves, “Is this a credible, accessible and knowledgeable organization I can trust the future of my business with?” The answer they should find is “yes.”
And so, how do you convey your organization's brand (and culture and authority) with limited budget and time?
Identify your audience
Fact: 98 percent of digital consumers are using social networks with an average of almost eight accounts. Social media is becoming the number one way people discover and evaluate new brands.
In fact, channels like Facebook and Snapchat are making it easier for users to reach out to companies. Create content that speaks to your audience and is shareable. Your users are more likely to connect to stories of success and entrepreneur spotlights rather than a hard sales pitch.
Measure your metrics
Unfortunately, one of the social media trends of 2017 is a decline in organic reach (i.e., users finding your posts “naturally” without advertising). It is time to rethink your metrics. Gone are the days of comparing “likes” and follows. These metrics only reflect performance on a surface level. Rather focus on engagement and reach.
Connect with video
Adapt today’s trends to fit your business objectives. The number one way to increase engagement and sharing is by creating videos. This does not have to be a huge undertaking but rather short 30-second videos. If community engagement is a priority for your organization showing a clip of the community coming together, your Resource Navigators engaging with clients, a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the newest local business or recognizing community volunteers.
Albuquerque Economic Development, a Molino Project Resource Partner, uses Instagram to show behind the scenes sneak peeks of their organization.
Remember to keep videos short and visual, under 30 seconds and remember audio will likely be turned off. Your imagery should speak for itself.
Empower your employees through social media
Another way to leverage social media is to empower your employees and staff through social. Your internal staff are your biggest advocates and know the organization inside and out. Consumers like and engage with employee posts 21 percent more than an average company post. This is because users trust recommendations by family and friends. Empower your staff by training them in social media policies and expertise and tap into peer influence and content distribution.
How is your organization utilizing its social media channels?