Sparking Community Engagement with Unique and Out-of-the-Box Social Media Strategies

Sparking Community Engagement with Unique and Out-of-the-Box Social Media Strategies Main Photo

8 Apr 2024

News, Marketing

Social media emerges as a vibrant stage for connection, a realm where innovative ideas thrive, and communities unite. For economic developers, it offers a fertile ground not just for engagement but for inspiring a collective movement toward growth and prosperity. The challenge, however, lies in cutting through the noise, capturing attention, and, most importantly, sparking interaction. The goal is clear: garner more likes, comments, and shares, thereby securing unwavering support from the community. But how? The answer lies in getting uniquely creative with social media activity.

#1 Host Virtual Town Halls with a Twist

Imagine your town hall but with a flavor of excitement. Economic developers can host live sessions on platforms like Facebook or Instagram, inviting community members to discuss development projects of local business highlights. But here’s the twist: incorporate interactive polls, quizzes about the city’s history or future projects, and live Q&A sessions. Encourage participation by offering small incentives for engagement, such as shoutouts or feature spots on the social media page.

Additional Support

Go Live From Your Facebook Page

How To Create Polls on Facebook Live

How to Start, save, and Share a Live Broadcast on Instagram

How To Add a Poll on Instagram Live?

#2 Launch a “Hidden Gems” Series

Every community has its secrets – those delightful nooks, crannies, and little-known local businesses that only the locals know about. Unveil these treasures in a weekly “Hidden Gems” series. Use captivating photography and storytelling to bring these spots to life on Instagram or Facebook. Encourage community members to submit their own favorites (ask them to submit through social media or use a public form like Google Forms) and feature these submissions in the series (create a graphic template to use for each submission). This not only boosts engagement but also fosters a sense of pride and ownership among residents.

Additional Support

How To Use Google Forms

How To Use Canva: A Beginner’s Guide

Canva Search: Featured Business Templates

#3 Create an Economic Development Adventure Game

Leverage platforms like Instagram Stories or TikTok to create an interactive adventure game. Participants can choose their path by voting on polls or swiping up, leading them on a virtual journey through proposed development projects, local business spotlights, or historical trivia. Each decision takes them down a different path, culminating in various endings that highlight community successes or future visions. This not only educates but entertains, ensuring higher engagement rates.

Additional Support

Share a Photo or Video to Your Instagram Story

8 Fun Instagram Story Game Ideas to Boost Your Engagement

How to Use Google Forms to Create “Choose Your Own Adventure” Activities

#4 “A Day in the Life” Takeovers

Invite local entrepreneurs, artists, or community figures to take over the economic development social media accounts for a day. They can share their daily routines, behind-the-scenes looks at their businesses, or their favorite spots around town. This approach adds a personal touch to the social media presence and showcases the diverse fabric of the community, encouraging followers to engage, share, and support local talents.

Additional Support

Social Media Takeover Guide

Takeovers: Examples and How-To Guide

#5 Community Challenges and Contests

Spark creativity and community spirit with themed challenges or contests. For instance, launch a photography contest with the theme “What Economic Development Means to Me,” inviting submissions that capture the essence of growth and progress in the community. Offer enticing prizes, such as local business gift cards or a feature in a community newsletter, to encourage participation. Not only does this approach increase engagement, but it also provides a wealth of user-generated content that can be shared across social media platforms. And BONUS: with the approval of contestants, you can use their submissions in future marketing too!

Additional Support

Video Example: What Does Community Mean To You?

#6 Leverage Augmented Reality (AR) Experiences

With platforms like Snapchat and Instagram offering AR capabilities, economic developers can create immersive experiences that highlight future projects or celebrate local history. Imagine pointing your smartphone at a construction site and seeing a 3D model of a future building or a historical site coming to life with stories from the past. These experiences not only captivate the audience but also encourage shares and discussions about the community’s future.

Additional Support

Golden Shovel’s PlaceVR Video & VR Division

How To Make Your Own Instagram AR Filters: A Step-by-Step Guide

#7 Interactive Q&A Sessions With Local Leaders

Break down the barriers between community members and local leaders by hosting regular, interactive Q&A sessions on social media. Use live video features for real-time interaction, allowing community members to submit questions and receive immediate responses. This transparency fosters trust and encourages active participation in the community’s economic development efforts.

Additional Support

How Can You Create a More Interactive Q&A Session With Social Media?

#8 Implement a “Support Local” Spotlight Week

Dedicate a week to spotlighting local businesses across social media platforms. Each day, feature a different business, sharing their story, offerings, and impact on the community. Encourage followers to visit, shop, or dine at these spots and share their experiences using a unique hashtag. This not only boosts local businesses but also fosters a sense of community solidarity.

Additional Support

How To Use Canva: A Beginner’s Guide

Canva Search: Featured Business Templates

Unleashing Creativity for Community Growth

For economic developers, social media is not just a tool for communication; it’s a canvas for creativity, a catalyst for community engagement, and a cornerstone for collective action. By embracing out-of-the-box ideas, economic developers can transcend traditional boundaries, captivate their audience, and, ultimately, weave a tighter, more engaged community fabric. The key is to remember that at the heart of every like, comment, and share is a person – a community member eager to connect, participate, and support their community’s journey toward prosperity.