January 18 2012

What is Social Media Marketing?: A Guide for Urban Planners

Social media marketing has become a buzzword this decade. Every business seems to be hiring social media marketers now. Which social media network would be the most appropriate for a certain organization? This mini guide is meant to be a starting point for planners’ and architects’ research into social media marketing.

Planning professionals should always strive to listen to the residents in their jurisdiction and incorporate residents into the planning process. Social media marketing tools can help planners achieve these goals in less time than previously spent trying to engage residents in participatory behavior. Social media allows planners to reach more residents in less time, covering their jurisdiction easier than ever before.

Social Media Landscape

The three social media vehicles that are the best for the planning profession are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Each one of these has their own pros and cons, so careful evaluation of each of these is needed before starting a social media marketing campaign.

Facebook
• Pros: Easy to ‘like’ organizations; easy sharing and commenting system;
• Cons: With the sheer number of pages on Facebook, it can be difficult to locate who you are trying to reach and to gain their attention.

Twitter
• Pros: Easy to share stories from other websites;
• Cons: The 140-character limit means posts must be short and simple; Replies are not put together with the story they were for, so a feed can get very disorganized at times.

LinkedIn
• Pros: Professional network; easy and organized commenting system;
• Cons: It can be hard to participate in multiple groups.

There are also many other vehicles for social media marketing. Once you identify your social media goals, the next steps are to join the social media network, identify potential people to market to, and start posting. Link to these pages on the official website for your organization to garner more awareness.

Social media marketing is not hard. The Florida APA actively uses all three formats. Social media is a great way to reach more residents in less time, and all planning organizations should strive to be on these networks.

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Sarah Thomas

Sarah Thomas is a graduate student studying Urban and Regional Planning and Business Administration - Information Systems at the University of South Florida. She became interested in urban issues as an undergraduate student, and developed a focus on urban issues in the Tampa Bay area after serving as an intern for a light rail campaign in 2010. She currently works at the Tampa Bay Partnership, a public-private economic development company. She has credited her time with Global Site Plans as one of the reasons behind her employment there.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 at 1:18 pm and is filed under Architecture, Branding, Internet Marketing, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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