In today’s global economy with national chains and companies like Amazon and Walmart taking large chunks out of the market that used to belong to local and small businesses, it’s important for the little guy to use its nature to its advantage. And that means becoming a more connected part of the community that surrounds you.
The first thing to do is get to know what’s going on in your area. To be able to better do so, you need to know what is happening in their lives on a community level. So get on your business Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter; and follow the these pages/accounts:
- Local News – local news channels often post about community events and happenings that would be good for your business to be aware of.
- Official city or town accounts – following your local city and any surrounding towns that fall within your target market (depending on your business) is great to know very specific things about your community.
- High Schools – many hours and dollars are spent associated with the high schools in your area. It’s good to know what events are going on and how they might affect your business.
- Chamber of Commerce or other local business organizations – many business events and important announcements will come by way of this organization.
- Community Colleges or other local universities – these are made up of a lot of energetic young adults who are starting to experiment with their buying power. Know what’s going on with them and how you might find opportunities for your business to reach out.
- Local charities – nothing is better than giving to those in your community who need it the most. There’s not a better way to be involved than serving those around you.
- Any other local community organizations that you feel are doing good things and have a good social reach – this could be a Boys and Girls Club, animal shelter, or boy scout troop. Whatever it is find a possible connection or common cause.
Once you’ve tapped in to these area groups, it’s time to start making connections with them. Whatever business you’re in, there are special ways you can use it to get side by side with people. Do you own a donut or sandwich shop or some other food-service business? Bring your tasty wares to a park cleanup or some other charity event to feed those who are volunteering, or even feed those going hungry. Feed the local high school team the night before a game and discount their meals heavily. Offer huge discounts to students during finals so they can refuel. Perhaps you own a flower shop? Give flowers to women at a shelter or to families of fallen veterans. An office supply or print shop? Help underprivileged children with their school supplies, or offer some free printing for charities to help them spread the word about their good causes. A local gym? Give free memberships to disabled and wounded veterans to help them rehab. Furniture store? Give pieces to refugees or families in need. The possibilities are endless. No matter the nature of your business, there are ways to use it to better connect with the people that make up your market.
Once you’ve found and executed community connections, let people know. Don’t shamelessly pat yourself on the back. But post about the upcoming event or whatever it is. Invite people to join in whatever it is or share it with someone who might benefit. Then upload pictures and videos of whatever took place, and tag organizations and individuals involved. You’ll increase brand awareness, improve your PR, make some new friends, get some new customers, potentially have a tax write-off, and feel good about what you’re doing. If you have questions about how to best do this for your business, let us know and we’ll be happy to help!