Too often, small business owners say they don’t have enough time or money to give back to their communities. At AZ Media Maven, we believe community involvement is an essential component of building and growing a thriving business. Community involvement connects businesses with their potential customers, builds brand awareness and encourages customer loyalty. It also supports the local economy and builds rapport with other business owners.
Here are three easy ways for small business owners to get involved:
Engage at local events
Local spring flings, craft fairs, car shows, cook-offs and the like are excellent ways to connect with your community. Having a kiosk or tent with your sign, information, and branded items for visitors to take home builds awareness among the core demographic that most small businesses want to reach people who live or work in the area, or otherwise frequent it.
If a potential customer sees your name at an event and connects it with feeling good and having fun, this casts you in a positive light as well. If they’re looking for anything from an insurance broker to a day spa, chances are they’ll remember you and seek you out.
Also, don’t forget to use your social media to promote the events and ask organizers to tag you in their posts to build online awareness.
Get involved with fundraisers
Volunteering to help at a fundraiser—or even organizing a fundraiser at your business—builds valuable goodwill and relationships. We know of a local pizza place that has hosted pet food drives, organized raffles to raise money after a medical emergency, collected prom dresses for teens who can’t afford one, and more. They promote these themselves, mainly via social media and earned media in local publications.
Year after year, this business wins “best of” awards in its neighborhood partly because people like to support those who actively work to help others in the community. All these fundraisers also bring people to their restaurant, so they’re likely to purchase a pizza (or two or three) while dropping off their donations or entering raffles. See how that works?
If you don’t have the resources to host a fundraiser, contributing to a silent auction for nonprofits is another great way to get in front of big numbers of potential customers. We know someone who bought a teeth-whitening package at a silent auction from a local dentist and has been a loyal customer for nearly 20 years and referred numerous friends!
Again, the charity will appreciate it if you promote their organization and event on your social media accounts with a note to buy tickets. In turn, they might repost or share, putting your brand in front of an even larger audience.
Join business and networking groups
Local business groups are a good way to bond with other owners and potentially form alliances and cross-promotions. Also, when you’re involved with local groups, chances are most members will support other members and sing their praises. Networking groups, chambers of commerce, local community boards and others all help build important connections to your community.
Overall, being an active member of the community helps build your reputation as a good corporate partner that does more than provide a place to spend money. Many customers will choose and return to businesses that are invested in their neighborhood, city, and/or state over those that don’t visibly participate.
AZ Media Maven can help you identify opportunities for connecting with the community you serve and building your business using public relations and social media. Reach out today to ask us about our consulting and social media services!
AZ Media Maven is based in Laveen, AZ, a suburban village in the greater Phoenix area. Owner Rose Tring has more than 30 years of journalism experience as an editor and writer, many in business news. She created AZ Media Maven in 2012 to serve other business owners in learning how to best use social media and to provide affordable public relations services. Reach AZ Media Maven at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (602) 373-8371.