A small economic development agency in rural Minnesota was explaining to me how they received their first serious inquiry for a new business from their website. The economic developer excitedly explained how happy they were that we had provided them with a polished look and a social media strategy to keep pushing out their community assets. I was excited for them and glad they were seeing the benefits of an online presence. The website and social media strategy had been in place for over a year without any serious inquires, but now the online efforts had paid off.
That same week I had a similar conversation with a economic developer in a much larger city. We talked about the benefits of putting together an online strategy for his community. Unconvinced, he said, “I don’t really buy into the website and social media ideas. We are using our conventional channels–you know networking.”
While the second strategy may be acceptable to the economic development director and his board, I think they are missing one important strategy. Economic developers have no way of knowing exactly when or where entrepreneurs will start to create and expand. And, speaking from experience, when an entrepreneur starts to solidify a company idea, they begin researching. Today’s research begins on Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. When an entrepreneur begins to search, your community just needs to be present. Your community loses 100% of the business inquires that never see you.
In the case of the small rural community with the new business moving in, their success story is rooted in the fact that their community was online. They just showed up so to speak. When the company began looking for an area to expand, they were in the search results. Step one for ANY successful gameplan: Just Show Up! The company didn’t expand in ANY of the communities that were not present in their search results.
Just ask Ottumwa Iowa:
“We are confident that the web and social media solutions provided by Golden Shovel Agency will be a significant economic development marketing tool for us to utilize as we move ahead aggressively into the future.” States our client Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation. http://www.ottumwadevelopment.org
Here is an economic development agency that is not only “just showing up” they are in the game to win! So I ask you, “When are you going to show up and use social media as your game plan to success?”