In September, my colleague Isabelle Poirier had the opportunity to participate in a panel presentation at the International Economic Development Conference in Columbus, Ohio with Victoria Hirschberg, Marketing Director at McAllen Economic Development Corporation and Becky McCray. Their panel presentation titled, “Social Media & Linkages to Multiple Markets” was a hit with the audience. Posted below is Victoria’s portion of the presentation. (Please click on the image to view the entire slideshow).
Intelegia recently had the opportunity to ask Victoria a few questions pertaining to the economic development agency’s social media strategy. The questions and answers can be read down below.
Intelegia: Do you have a different engagement strategy for each segment of your target audience (i.e., journalists, CEOs, managers)?
Victoria: McAllen EDC recognizes that we have several target audiences that include corporate prospects, existing companies, local residents, students, journalists- people who know, people we don’t know and people we want to know. Due to the fact that we see ourselves as a resource to all of these audiences, we aim to provide specific information in a way that our audiences understand. For instance, we use our Facebook page primarily to ‘talk’ with our local residents, so we post photos of companies, events, link to our community calendar and have more fun. When we host a webinar for recruitment, we tailor the tone and presentation to meet the needs of that audience.
Intelegia: Of the 7 communication tools that MEDC uses, which tool has shown to be most challenging to use and what is being done to overcome these challenges?
Victoria: Since we started using new media, we have found webinars to be the most challenging. This is because we are still working on how we invite people to the ‘event’, how we build the program, the time length and how we keep people’s attention. Do we customize the presentation or prepare for a virtual group presentation? All of these things are important to consider when using the webinar-platform and we continue to tweak our process and try new ways to make this tool more effective for McAllen EDC. It is a cost-efficient way to recruit and provide information.
Intelegia: Other than attracting and retaining investments, what are best ways to measure success on social media for economic development?
Victoria: Right now, we are focused on really building our strategy and figuring out what makes sense for our unique organization. Right now we focus on the smaller measurements such as connecting people via Linkedin, communicating with people using Twitter and having people to respond to questions on Facebook. Social media for economic development is a custom-solution and McAllen EDC is currently building our package.
It is also important to understand what information an ED can gain from social media and how you use that information. This entails identifying target industries on Twitter, connecting with the right groups on Linkedin and having a strong Facebook presence. Social media is a tool- it is each organization’s responsibility to devise their own focus, means of measurement and follow-up strategy. Using these technologies represent a process, not a rigid task.