Being part of a neighborhood is different today than it used to be. Kind of like how the meaning of “friend” has changed since the advent of social media. It is social media – and the Internet – that have given rise to digital neighborhoods.
The heart of neighborhoods
Digital neighborhoods will most likely be formed around local businesses. But “businesses” per se can’t do it. It’s the people who own and run the businesses, using social media, who will create digital neighborhoods.
In order for businesses to create digital neighborhoods, however, the business owners need to use social media well. I’m not talking about technical ability here. Anyone can figure out how to set up a Facebook page and post a bunch of “stuff.” I’m talking about principles of engagement. (See related posts, below).
The structure of neighborhoods
Before business owners can start engaging, though, they need to develop a structure of connections that lead to conversations. The structure starts by connecting the local businesses in the community with each other, through their social accounts.
Individual businesses connect with those businesses with which they already have relationships. For example, members of the chamber of commerce would make great connections; or, businesses that sponsor and support the same community events would make good connections. Relationships with any local business can be strengthened by connecting online.
(Read more about the role of your local chamber of commerce in #ChamberFail – A Case For Making the Shift to Digital)
The purpose of neighborhoods
Digital neighborhoods won’t replace traditional neighborhoods. They will extend them. In some regards, they will shrink them . . . by connecting people and bringing them closer together.
Digital neighborhoods can strengthen the community. This, in turn, can strengthen the local economy.
Create a movement
If you belong to your local chamber of commerce, ask for their support in building the digital neighborhood among its members. Help to create a movement to strengthen your local economy by connecting businesses with the community through social media.