In today’s digitally-driven environment, as an entrepreneur and business owner, you might start to undervalue the importance of some more traditional ways of marketing your business and gaining visibility. Community involvement remains an integral part of an overall marketing strategy.
For example, if someone comes to you about getting local businesses involved in their silent auction, it can be a smart idea to donate.
There are other ways you can get involved in the community as well, in addition to charitable donations.
Below, we go over some of the core reasons why it’s essential to maintain community involvement and how you can go about doing it.
Perhaps one of the more obvious but significant benefits of being involved in the community as a business and an owner is brand awareness. Even for a largely online-based business, you can still get involved in a way that helps people know who you are and what you do.
No rule says that online businesses can’t also focus their efforts on local visibility and connecting with customers in their geographic area.
Of course, if you have any brick-and-mortar presence at all, local brand awareness isn’t optional—it’s a necessity.
When your business is visible, you’re seen as more reliable and trustworthy. When people need a company like yours, you’re the first name that will come to their mind if you’ve positioned yourself to be highly visible.
Your employees can serve as brand ambassadors through the work they do as well. For example, maybe you give your employees a day off each month to volunteer in any way they choose. Then, you’re spreading out those opportunities for visibility in different ways.
Your employees are out in the community, and that’s going to help people learn about your business.
Show Your Values for Better Community Involvement
A huge priority for businesses of all sizes right now is showing what their values are. Rather than including a write-up on your website about what it is you believe in, put your beliefs into action. Customers are very driven to do business with companies that share their values, so put that on full display in how you involve yourself in the community and give back.
You want to be strategic in your community involvement, so there’s a sense of cohesiveness between your values, culture, employer brand, and what exactly you choose to do.
Develop a Positive Company Culture
Culture is so much more than a buzzword, and right now, with businesses facing a crisis in hiring, your culture can be what sets you apart when you’re connecting with employees.
When you’re a company that focuses on community involvement, it will help facilitate a positive company culture. You’ll be better positioned to attract great talent and then retain those employees.
Not only will you have a stronger team when you’re involved in the community and make it part of your culture, but your culture also plays a big role in employee productivity. When employees feel good about where they work, they’re going to produce more. Studies show that employees are happier and more satisfied when working for a business they see as being socially responsible.
Being involved in your community is a great way to bridge your in-person and online marketing strategies. Your community involvement can actually help your online marketing, which many business owners don’t yet realize.
When you’re involved in the community, you might get press on local news sites or backlinks from the organizations you’re working with. That helps you build a link profile, which is important for your SEO and will help drive traffic to your site.
Create Relationships with Other Businesses as a Part of Community Involvement
When you’re involved in the community, you’re also better able to forge relationships with other businesses. Not every business is competition nor should they be viewed that way. When you have strong connections with them, you can share your resources and promote referrals.
Along with forming relationships with other businesses when you give back, you can get to know community leaders such as leaders of social or educational organizations. That can create new opportunities for your business through those relationships.
With the benefits in mind, you may be wondering how you can get involved in the community. We already named one simple way above, which is to make donations to fundraisers that are happening when you’re asked. There are other options along with that.
Best Ways to Get Involved In Your Community
Along with making donations, consider the following ways to get involved in your community:
- Sponsor an event. This can be something that you do, along with donating to an auction fundraiser. For example, often, when community groups are soliciting donations for silent or live auctions, they’ll also ask for general event sponsors if you can find something that’s even indirectly in line with your industry, even better.
- If no one has recently come to your request for a donation, you can also find a charity that resonates with you and proactively get in touch with them. See what they need most and how you can help.
- Encourage your employees to volunteer their time to causes they care about and make it easy for them. We touched on this above, but one way to encourage employee volunteering is to give them time off to do it.
- Find ways to share your knowledge as an expert at whatever it is that you do best. Maybe you do this by teaching a course for free or holding a seminar. You could also host a field trip for local students, depending on what your industry is.
- Create an internship program. This is beneficial in so many ways. You’re helping a young person get started in their career field, your forming relationships with local community colleges or universities in the process, and you’re also creating your own talent pipeline.
No matter how you do it, it’s important to recognize the value of community involvement and then put a strategy in place.