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Instagram in Economic Development Marketing

Instagram Your Way to Ideal Community Perceptions

In today’s fast-paced world, social media trends are everchanging. In 2010, Instagram rocked the social media world when it debuted as a downloadable mobile application. Two months after the launch, the picture app had a whopping 1 million active users. Today, Instagram has over 500 million users. With growth at this rate,  Instagram in economic development marketing can be a powerful asset.

Unlike other platforms, Instagram is primarily for the use of posting picture and video content. You can choose from a variety of filters to enhance your images before posting, and follow other users to see what they are ‘gramming.

Recently, Instagram has added a feature which allows businesses and proprietors to promote their brands through sponsored advertisements, and identify themselves as a business account. This new feature is a way to use Instagram to benefit your brand and promote your community.

Gathering a Steady Following

-Make your presence known by following accounts that you would consider to be your primary audience.  (i.e. community businesses, local community influencers, etc.)

-Cross promote your content to gain a healthy following in all areas of your social strategy.

– Post Exciting Content

  • Post bright, playful photos of authentic moments in your community.
  • Post monumental milestones and accomplishments that are bringing vitality to your area.
  • A wonderful example of a local community utilizing Instagram to the fullest, is the Downtown Frederick Partnership, a nonprofit organization working to promote the vitality and economic vitality of Downtown Frederick, Maryland. Access their Instagram feed for examples right here.

How do you put your community at the forefront? Host a Contest

Contests engage users. Engaged users support your efforts. In order to host a successful Instagram contest, make it easy for your audience to participate.

  1. Like to Win Contest- Ask followers to “like” your latest photo to be entered into a contest that admits them to one of your upcoming community events for free.
  2. Hashtag Contest- Highlight your community with a clever hashtag. Ask users to come visit a special place in your town and use the hashtag you create. They must use the hashtag to be entered into the contest. (i.e. #HanginginHouston, #FreetimeinFrederick)

Pay to Play

If there’s some money in your advertising budget, consider implementing Instagram in your economic development marketing, and scaling back on print advertising. Instagram offers advertising that allows you to reach more than just your follower count. This will not only generate a larger audience; it will raise awareness of your community to a larger demographic, particularly millennials.

-Make your ads visually appealing. Your image should encompass the essence of your community.

-Highlight advantages. Find ways to highlight your community’s best assets to perk interest in the area.

-Promote upcoming initiatives or events. Is there a particular initiative or project that’s contingent upon community support? Capture it in a visually appealing way and get it on Instagram!

Your home base to attract investment in your community are digital platforms like your website, but the stepping stones that contribute to your messaging is social media. Instagram in economic development marketing is a useful tool to grow your following and your community. Does the thought of putting another social network on your plate leave you feeling lost?  We can help you identify your goals, create your social strategy, and implement tactics from start to finish. Give us a call at 304-876-8321 or email Sandy Sponaugle at sandy@platinumpr.com to discuss your best social approach with Instagram in economic development marketing today.

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