Mobile Audienced

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There are a number of blogs that I follow throughout the blogosphere and from time to time they give me inspiration for my own pieces. Main Street America has their own blog that has a number posts that are quite interesting. Also, many of the posts are helpful not just for a community’s Main Street, they’re good for the entire town.

One of Main Street America’s posts that I’ve run across in the past was about making information about your Main Street mobile. The five key elements that they point out can certainly be applied to any rural community out there. Provided below, is a link to their post, a good read for anyone that’s interested.

Marketing Your Main Street in the Digital Age

However, as always, I must add my two cents….

  1. Make sure your website is mobile friendly: This is more crucial than you might think. I currently work for a suburban community that works daily on their web and social media presence to ensure that we provide the best information for our residents. However, our website isn’t mobile friendly. Although we’re taking strides to correct this issue, it is extremely hard to find the information you want on your mobile device. Here’s a test, give a group of people 5-10 things to find on your website using their phone. Their struggles might open your eyes.
  2. Information needs to be helpful and relevant: There’s so much information that a community can provide, but you have to decide what information do citizens and visitors want and really hone in on it. Many small communities don’t have a chamber of commerce, a tourism office, or an economic development entity. You’re it. But if people get lost on your site with all the information you’re trying to provide, you may be doing more damage to your image than you think.
  3. Realize the importance of storytelling: Nowadays most communities have a static website of some type. Even if it is some cheap boilerplate that you can tell has been copied from one government site to another by some under priced carpet bagging web designer. To draw the interest to your community you need to stand out. To tell a story that is different than the town just down the road. But don’t worry about making it a big production and fretting over the costs of a professional photographer or videographer. Making it your way and telling your own view of a community’s story makes it personable. It often times draws more interest than some rigid, planned out moment. (On a side note, I didn’t know YouTube is now the world’s second largest search engine. Wowza!)
  4. Manage your social media channels wisely. Main Street America’s breakdown of this is partially right in my eyes. Yes, concentrate on the social media channels your target audience uses the most. Trying to post to every channel on a regular, or even semi-regular basis is daunting and you can quickly burn out. However, don’t forget, people are fickle. Social media channels are going to become more and more fad-like over the years as people lose interest in one, another channel pops up. You need to keep on top of it. Additionally, there are sites like Hootsuite that allow you to post to multiple social media sites at once. You can even program your posts through these sites, so you can write multiple-days worth of posts rather than trying to post regularly each day at the right time. Though there’s a fee for these services, it’s often well worth it.
  5. Keep your eye on smart assistants and artificial intelligence. It is always wise to keep track of the latest trends in technology. Alexa, Cortana, Siri and OK Google are all going to have a growing emphasis in today’s culture over the next few years. What if someone could ask Alexa what the schedule of events are for the local 4th of July celebration? How about asking Cortana what’s on tonight’s city council agenda? And what does Siri say about your community? Does it reflect the image you want portrayed?

However your community wishes to adjust to the digital age, don’t just sit back on your haunches. As I’ve always said about technology, “Just play around with it”. For many things you don’t have to be an IT grad to figure it out. Take your time, have fun with it, and don’t get too frustrated with it. Much like anything else, you get better with practice, practice, practice.