Social Media & Mobile Marketing

A core part of any local partnership's role is to communicate with local members, consumers and potential visitors. Today, social media is a ubiquitous fact of life and can connect a town centre quickly to a vast audience of interested people.

Over 50% of all phones sold are now smartphones, seemingly always on the go and allowing owners to access the internet and social networking sites at the swipe of a finger.

Consumers want to engage in a relationship with the brands, businesses and places that they enjoy, so your town centre needs to be ready and able to hold up your side of the conversation. Social media can open a dialogue with all kinds of stakeholders from major investors to individual consumers, keeping them informed and being kept informed of developments and opinions.

Start with a digital marketing strategy to avoid getting swamped by the possibilities social media and mobile marketing holds:

  • who do you want to communicate with?

  • why ?

  • how often?

  • who will be responsible?

 

For example, you may want to set up a LinkedIn network for local businesses to start to discussing ideas outside meetings. Facebook or Pinterest pages for residents and visitors to ‘like’ and share their photos, comments, news, event invitations and experiences help to build a sense of place for your town centre and create a 'buzz'. Email marketing and text ‘push’ messages have their place too, but ensure you have something to say when contacting people like this otherwise they will soon lose interest. There are a number of helpful free multi-channel management tools, or dashboards, like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck that can make life easier.

As technology and consumer adaptation continues to develop it is valuable to test and explore new tools that come along. For example ‘Near Field Communication (NFC)’ presents options for contactless transactions, data exchange, and simple push messaging. Videos and films can add tremendous value rather than pages of text on a website, so using your own Vimeo or Youtube channel may really help get your messages across to a wider audience.

Depending on your place, your ambitions, and your resources the right mix of channels will vary and evolve. Don’t be afraid to experiment - you can always stop doing something that doesn’t get good results. Take a look at ATCM's Guide to Social Media for a brief introduction to the various platforms and common pitfalls you'll want to avoid.