A few days ago, through reasons I can’t face going through yet again I found myself marooned in the small village of Thanet, which, apparently, is somewhere near Reading. Upon finding out that the next train I could get was about an hour later I posted a comment on the twitter site that simply put – ‘Stuck in Thanet for an hour, is there anything good to see?’. Within minutes I had 4 messages with suggestions. This got me thinking…
In the last year Twitter has expanded by 1,840%, Facebook now has 300 million active users which, if it were a country would make it the fourth largest country in the world. With alarming regularity we seem to be deluged with a new social media site claiming to be the ‘next big thing.’ 69% of the entire UK population is now online. Businesses seem to be slowly cottoning onto the possibilites of using this for their own advantage, check out Ford for really interesting usage of social media to change the perceptions of their company. Even Gordon Brown has now got a Twitter, and who can forget his first appearance on YouTube?
Despite all these facts social media is still viewed in certain circles with slight suspicion, and I think this has meant that we have missed a trick in kick starting the economy.
If we look at Britain as a company it is obvious that something somewhere recently has gone horribly wrong. In a business prospective if this was happening it would trigger a full internal review – checking that all parts of the company are paying their way, are as productive as possible, accountable for their role, and if not making the necessary changes. As the world is getting smaller, with better transport, bigger supermarkets and the internet, the sense of community and belonging has slowly evaporated from small communities. But there is no reason not to use the internet to combat this.
In times of hardship people always bemoan the downfall of the ‘high street’. People start looking inwardly, trying to balance the financial need of shopping as cheaply as possible with the responsibility of helping the smaller businesses maintain their income. The smaller businesses struggle with maintaining footfall, keeping people in the town center rather than out of town shopping centres through one way or another.
The idea of using social media to get out of the recession is as simple as it is effective. Every town employes a marketing and communications specialist. This person is employed by the town for the town and as such has no political affiliations. The role of the position is to market the town to the inhabitants, and also the people from outside the town. They use email, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and any other means possible to brand their area and make it as attractive as possible. They organise events during the year in the town centre and market it appropriately. They liase with local businesses and leisure industries in a bid to try to drive tourism to the town and use these to kick start the economy in the towns again, all the time putting it in the faces of the local community.
This, done well, could have far reaching implications. Giving people a reason to to head into the town centres, to take more pride in the area they live in and to spend that little bit more money than they were expecting to would kick start the economy in the town, larger events would give locals a reason to bring friends and family from outside the area into their part of the world. It would also establish a sense of community, something that has long been lamented as lost in certain circles. If the smaller elements of the economy start to work again the cogs of the big wheels will slowly grind into action once more.
What do you think? Obviously there are a few issues in this idea, but as always I’m interested to know what you may think! Leave a comment and hopefully we’ll be able to throw the ideas round to something a bit more well rounded. In the meantime I’m off to try to become king of Facebook.
No related posts.
Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.