One of your primary concerns when showing off your economic development region to investors is proving your region’s value. In the smartphone age, that means knowing how to use social media. Social media is all about sharing content, (it’s perfect for networking) and though at first it may seem daunting if you’ve never used social media as a marketing platform, you’ll soon find that marketing for economic development lends itself to online sharing.
1. Keep Social Media Content On Track With An Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar, to help schedule what content you post and when, is a must for any growing social media page, especially if you have doubts about how often you’ll post or what to post. An editorial calendar can help do away with guesswork and guide your social media marketing strategy.
Though “editorial calendar” might sound intimidating to someone who’s never made one, a basic editorial calendar only needs to satisfy these main requirements:
- Relevant posts your target audience will like or share. Posting completely unrelated content (or worse, content that offends) will not help your cause. You’ve likely spoken to many investors over the years who’ve repeated similar questions about your economic region. Think about the most common questions and try to answer them with relevant topics. Write a Facebook post about those questions (and include a picture. Visual content performs better than written content).
- A regular schedule for your social media content needs. You need interaction with your target audience on a regular basis. For example, a typical schedule is a monthly email newsletter, weekly Facebook updates, and daily Twitter posts. Develop a schedule that works for you, one you know you’ll be able to follow and one that won’t disappoint your audience.
- Relevant posts are prioritized over less-relevant posts. Once you’ve planned out what content you can produce and when, prioritize the most relevant posts for the best times. Use analytics to track when your posts perform best, and save your best content for those moments. Facebook and LinkedIn’s analytics systems are especially helpful for this and built directly into the platforms.
2. Share Your Region’s Best Successes On Social Media
Investors are tired of hearing the same lines from business people in economic development. Everyone says their region is a great place to live and work—which goes without saying. Can you imagine a region that would advertise as a horrible place to live and work? Everyone’s going to say their region is a great place, but social media allows you the opportunity to prove it’s actually true about your region.
Here's how to use social media to prove your region's value:
Share pictures or stories from your region’s successful businesses. Doing this has the dual benefits of providing your region’s businesses with free advertising and simultaneously proving to investors that your region has a thriving local economy. Your investors will thank you for proving your region’s value, rather than expecting them to guess about it.
Make sure you retweet and repost content from your local businesses. Amplify their message - it’s one of the best ways to showcase yours.
3. Create Social Media Posts That Prove You’re Unique
Every business needs a unique sales proposition (U.S.P.)—a U.S.P. is a way of communicating what separates your business from others like it and what sets you apart from the competition. It should be relatively easy, after all your discussions with potential investors, to pick out what separates your economic development region from others. Your U.S.P. is probably common to what has sold investors on your region in the past.
It would be an excellent idea to talk to local businesses and find out why you “won” the bid or at least why they chose your location. Often your customers say it better than you could ever say it yourself.
Once you’ve identified your unique sales proposition, all you have to do is post content related to that concept or content that strengthens the concept (this will also help develop your particular brand and build brand recognition). After fully understanding what makes your brand special, it will be much easier to keep content unique.
What better way to learn how to use social media than by learning from its creators? Check out Facebook Canada’s page on Facebook itself, as an example of a company that understands its U.S.P. The content spells a strong message right away. Facebook is professional, modern, light-humoured, (note all the cartoonish, colourful art) focused on family and relationships, (personal or professional) community, and inclusivity. Regardless of what you might think of Facebook its core strength is relationships; it has managed to add more people to its service than any other social media platform.
Commit to planning out your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn posts with an editorial calendar. Then, sharing your region’s success stories, and using social media to display your unique sales proposition will be easier and vastly expand the reach of your economic development marketing.