Once upon a time, companies only had to worry about responding to the needs and desires of shareholders. Times have changed.
Today, customers expect more of companies than ever before, and they want to know that the brands they work with are supporting causes and missions that are important to them. To this end, modern customers tend to support companies who are involved in their local communities.
That, then, begs the following question: what does it mean to be involved in your local community?
The answer, of course, is varied. Being involved in the local community can mean anything from sponsoring local 5Ks to volunteering for causes and hosting outreach booths at related organizations and companies.
If you’re interested in driving more business and expanding your reach, here’s what you need to know about getting (and staying) involved in your local community.
Getting involved in your local community is one of the best ways to network, build relationships and drive brand awareness. Important to local customers, creating a company that’s involved in the local community is also an excellent way to connect with potential leaders, employees, and investors.
Regardless of whether your company is large or small, new or old, getting involved in your local community is an excellent way to conduct modern networking. After all, volunteering and sponsoring local events is a solid way to demonstrate business stability, presence, engagement, and passion.
In the world of business, it’s rare to find a truly effective way to nurture relationships with your customers. It’s even harder to find a way to groom your customers, from start to finish. When you get involved in your local community, though, this is exactly what you’re doing. At the end of the day, strong communities create a strong customer base.
When customers have a chance to understand who you and your brand are, even long before they begin working with you, it’s much more likely that they’ll come to do business with your company when they need a product, good, or service you offer. It’s also more likely that your company will get involved with the causes or activities they care about, which can go a long way toward promoting connection and meaningful interaction for years into the future.
So, you’re sold about the idea of getting involved in your community. But how do you do it? Here are seven ways to make the leap:
Looking to position your brand as a thought leader and authority force in the industry and community?
One great option is to join a board. One of the best and most expedient ways to get involved in the community is to serve on a board that addresses the population or topics that concern your business. The Downtown Business Council, for example, is a great idea, or the Council for the Arts, if you’re a creative company.
If you work in education or offer services that would be helpful to educators, you can also look into local school boards and similar options.
The power of volunteering is immense. In addition to demonstrating that you’re willing to be selfless and donate your time, volunteering shows that you’re a team player, especially on behalf of your community.
If you can swing it, go one step further than just volunteering yourself: instead, volunteer your entire organization, including your employees and managers, to help out at a local event or organization.
If you’re already volunteering or getting involved on a community board, building partnerships is a great way to take your community efforts one step further. After all, you’ve already made connections with the leading people in your community.
Now, it’s time to leverage those relationships to create local initiatives. In addition to forming connections, you need to work to extend those connections and ensure that you’re connecting with local companies and organizations that sell products, good, or services similar to yours.
If you don’t have your time to donate, consider donating funds. While that’s one of the most obvious ways to donate, you can also take a step outside the monetary and get more creative. If you have space where community members could hold an event, for example, you can donate that.
If you have materials that will help another organization, you can donate those. If you have anything else that could be helpful for customers, consider finding a way to donate those for the betterment of your community.
Most towns host festivals or parades throughout the year.
If you can, find a way to get involved. Because so many people typically show up at these events, they’re a great way to get your name out in front of people and to promote recognition surrounding your brand and mission. If you choose to participate like this, be sure that your marketing is on-point and that your company and employees are very visible to passers-by.
If it’s applicable to your company, consider bringing sign-up sheets, incentives, or freebies to keep customers engaged and involved.
Get customers through your door by hosting physical events in your space. This step builds on all the other methods of interacting with the community and ensures that people are not only familiar with your location, but able to recommend it to other people and organizations when the time comes. You can also sponsor events to gain more attention.
Ideal for virtually any of the other engagement methods on this list, hosting promos, contests, and giveaways is a great add-on to any other community event. When you create a promotion, contest, or giveaway, it not only gets people excited about your company but also incentivizes people to attend and participate. This is a great way to promote positive interactions with your brand and ensure that people are happy to recommend you to their friends and relatives.
When it comes time for marketing your community effectively, getting involved in the community is an excellent option. In addition to spreading the word about your brand, community involvement is a fantastic way to create a platform for positive engagement and ensure that people are leaving with a good impression of your brand and mission. If you’ve been waiting to get involved with your community, stop waiting. Now’s time to dive in and make a difference in your community!
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