Gangs, Mobs, and Squads: Promoting Community
Promoting your community is not only good for your soul, it’s good business! Community is the backbone of any small business, and getting involved with your community is a wonderful way to build word-of-mouth advertising into your marketing campaign strategy. Even mobsters know that building a positive reputation with your local community is a crucial part of being in business.
Why Be Part of the Community Gang?
Obviously, it feels great to do good for your community and help out those in need. But there are lots of solid reasons why it’s also sound business practice. Everyone knows the goal of marketing is to convince customers to buy something, right? But it turns out there are a lot of ways you can do that. It just makes sense to help the community if it feels good and it makes you more money at the same time.
We know what makes people tick, and it’s not nearly all about the hard sell. For decades, psychological researcher Robert B. Cialdini a Ph.D. and researcher has studied what influences people. In his book, Influence, he lays out the principles that underlie why people make the purchasing choices they make, and how salespeople can influence those decisions. There’s a lot of shady ways to convince people to buy stuff, and he lays it all out how the dirty work gets done. The thing is, the unethical stuff is only part of the story.
There are a lot of powerful positive ways to get your business noticed. Cialdini states that reciprocity, commitment, being likable, and most importantly, unity are part of how humans are hardwired to make decisions. If you show that you’re part of a give and take if you show commitment if you’re likable, and if you’re part of the mob, you’re going to find that people will choose you over the competition every time. You don’t have to take the low road to be successful. You can build up your community and build yourself up at the same time. The scientific proof is there to tell you it will work.
How to Promote your Community
So now that you’re in the know and ready to join the gang, how do you do it? There are so many ways to promote your community, pick a few and try them for a while. Here are some solid ways to get started:
- Tagging and mentioning other businesses in your social media feeds (favorite coffee shop, lunch spot, food truck, printer, accountant, lawyer, etc.)
- Promoting the people and businesses in your networking group
- Being a mentor
- Donating to a cause (regularly or holding a fundraiser)
- Supporting the causes your employees are passionate about
- Local schools and sports teams (holding a BBQ lunch fundraiser for the High School football team or Cheer Squad)
- Posting about local events happening in your town
- Attending ribbon cuttings and spreading the word about new businesses
- Joining local chambers and civic groups like Rotary, Tourism, etc.
If you’re going to an event, feel free to wear some business swag or bring your business cards, but don’t make a huge deal about it if people don’t ask. Remember part of the equation is commitment. If you keep showing up, people will ask naturally without it feeling like you’re just there to sell something. Choose events that you’re passionate about. There are so many different kinds of causes, groups, and charities. Find ones that resonate with your businesses’ brand archetype and with you.
Leveraging your social media is a great avenue for promoting your community. Not only can you snap a selfie when you go to events, but you can also share local events from other community groups and businesses being “do-gooders”. When you share other’s posts they’re much more likely to share yours in return, getting your social media in front of their community of customers.
Some Local Stars of the Community Squad
Here are some examples from our local community who have leaned into community work and done their part to create unity in the Metro Lansing area:
Paper Image – printed yard signs for businesses during the pandemic that read “we are open” and “take-out available’. Gave them away for FREE.
Bye Insurance – Hotdog/hamburger BBQs for lunch to support HS teams
Seams Sewing & Mercantile– coordinated mask making efforts for schools and non-profits during the pandemic
Zeedia Media– GRAFT Arts Endowment to support a thriving local art community. (We practice what we preach!)
Promoting your community is a no-brainer. It’s good for you, good for others, and good for the bottom line. Businesses only function when they have a thriving community of customers, so get out there and make your community a little brighter and better.
If you want some help making a comprehensive marketing plan that will get your message in front of your target market, let us help! We know that Words Matter, and we’d love to be part of your squad!
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