As a local small business, you depend on your community to support your growth. However, if you don’t take the time to support your community you reduce the opportunities available to you. Creating strong relationships in your community provides you with the access you need to your ideal customers, allowing you to become more sustainable. Local community outreach is an important element of a sustainable business growth strategy, as it generates positive feelings about what you have to offer. Here’s how you can create a sustainable business growth strategy using local community outreach.
Fight the Good Fight
Every community has struggles. When you take time to get to know your community you can identify a cause you can take up and fight for. What your business does, and your company culture can help you find the right cause to support. You can then become an advocate focused on change using your company connections to fight the good fight to better your community.
As a restaurant, you might look at food insecurity, whereas a real estate company might target homelessness. You can impact lives in a positive way by finding a solution or using your time and funding as an additional resource to help the community influence change. Your presence will be appreciated and noted.
Create a Culture Your Community Stands Behind
As a small local business, you play an important role as an employer. The quality of life your employees enjoy is greatly influenced by the company culture you create. When you demonstrate you take your responsibility as an employer seriously, you can show your community leaders the type of change you want to see in the community. Things such as fair wages, career development, community involvement, family support, etc. help set the tone for your workplace which in turn can help influence your community.
Become Teachers in the Community
Your employees have skills and talents they can put to good use. Whether it is a chef teaching kids healthy eating habits, a dental hygienist visiting local schools to teach proper brushing techniques, or a paint store offering free painting technique classes, becoming teachers in the community shares your expertise in a meaningful way.
Use Volunteer Time for Team Building
Many small businesses share their values with their employees providing a day off to volunteer time to a charity of their choice. You can also join a community initiative as a group, as a way to bond with your team. Either way, you are spending time in support of local initiatives in a way that positively impacts the community.
Kids are the future of the community. They need a safe place to go, learn the importance of teamwork and stay active. Supporting a local team is a great way to get your name on some uniforms, while also making a major difference in local kids’ lives. You have plenty of information to share on social media as well. Other initiatives designed to assist youth such as summer camps, after-school programs, lunch programs, etc. are also perfect ways to really connect with your community.
Get Involved in Local Events
You know there’s no end to the local events you can sponsor. You get plenty of free publicity, while also having a chance to meet some of your marketing goals and objectives. There are many ways to get involved in local events, whether it’s simply contributing funds in exchange for your logo appearing on event online advertising and signage, coming up with an activity, or designing a booth where you physically attend the event.
Your coverage by local papers and news stations pays off big time, and you can use your social media to leverage your participation. It is also a great way to try out some experiential marketing tactics to draw even more attention to your participation.
Show Your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
CSR is not limited to major corporations. It is something any business can get involved with to support a good cause. Look for opportunities to make a contribution to support a local cause and make a big deal by presenting a massive check at the press conference. Have members of your team join you or be present as volunteers at major charity events held to raise money.
Who you support and how you support them creates strong partnerships in the community. People become familiar with your company and associations with causes that are important to them. This is especially important for events such as clean-up efforts, eco-system issues and supporting local wildlife habitats.
Look for Industry Related Opportunities
When you are involved in events and causes relevant to your industry it makes it easier for people to see a connection to your brand. What are causes or events that make sense for your business? Along the same lines of helping educate the community, there are logical fits you can look for to get more involved in community efforts that also draw media attention. There might even be something you can initiate based on known industry challenges or bad press.
Join Efforts on Social Media
Using your social media followers to draw attention to local causes is another great way to increase reach. What’s going on locally that you can get behind and help draw attention to? It’s a two-way street where you gain from their followers by sharing links and images, and they appreciate you bringing their cause to your followers’ attention. You can help make their campaigns more successful by likes, shares and retweets. You can also challenge your followers to make donations you’ll match up to a certain amount. When you help a charity raise money and awareness it can only do your business good.
Honor Local Heroes
Instead of always being the do-gooder, find ways to honor the little guy. Who is doing what in the community deserving a little attention? Is someone taking care of local strays? Is there a doctor offering free healthcare to underprivileged families? Did a fellow local business owner raise a ton of money for a local charity? Is there a child who has a lemonade stand every summer to help provide warm lunches to local unprivileged kids? When you honor local heroes, you show your own appreciation of community supporters and in turn draw attention to yourself.
Involve Your Team on Non-profit Contributions
Make donating to local non-profits an active part of your company culture. Set up a committee that decides where your available funds are donated based on tax deductions, local involvement, relevance, and PR opportunities. Your committee can look into the non-profits that align with your goals and put a formal process in place to review and choose the most suitable charities to help you meet them. They can also look for volunteer opportunities and inform staff when they are needed to step up and participate.
Ask Your Team Where They Want to Participate
Use your team as a sounding board on the types of events and charities they’d like to support. As members of the community, they can offer valuable advice and help you create a more authentic program for your community involvement. Your participation becomes more meaningful when you understand the who’s and why’s behind the cause. As a result, all of your efforts resonate with locals across your social media, through word of mouth and hopefully local press coverage.
Praise Employees for Their Contributions
All too often companies involved in local charities don’t share the limelight with the people that help make things happen. Your employees should always be front and center for any team efforts put into local events and fundraisers. Be sure they are also sharing their own special moments on social media. Create company hashtags as well as hashtags you use to highlight employee participation. This presents a far more community-based culture, with an appreciation for the hard work and donations made on behalf of your team. As a result, you get better press because it shows your efforts aren’t all about the money.
Focus On Your Clients’ Generosity
A major part of local community outreach is telling stories. Stories are the best way to add a human element to your work, but perhaps more importantly your admiration for the work of others. What are your best clients or customers up to? What are their community contributions? How are they influencing change in the community? What good work are they doing that you’d like to share?
Tell Your Own Stories
To round it all up, be sure you are telling your own stories. What have you done to improve your customers’ lives? How did your product or service make a difference in the community? Amplification of good work comes naturally when your stories are compelling and not just blatant marketing.
It isn’t hard to become a vital part of your community. You just have to look at what you offer and how you can use that offering to leverage community involvement. While you and your employees are working on the ground, we’re your team behind the scenes. For business growth using online strategies, contact Outreach Digital Marketing, your local SEO company.