In a competitive business environment, raising awareness of services and differentiators is key. One of the best ways to set your company apart from the competition is through community involvement.
Often times, gaining and maintaining community support is an integral component to a business’ future. To develop and execute a successful and comprehensive engagement plan, your company needs to commit to being actively involved in the community in which you work.
At Identity, we frequently develop and execute unique community involvement programs that accomplish defined goals and strategies, while interjecting companies’ unique brand voices. Whether your company is building an ongoing charitable campaign, hosting a community event, launching a social media program or simply looking to get more involved in the community, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind as your company looks to 2014 and beyond:
Listen to your audience. It’s no longer good enough to simply know who your target audience is. You really need to get to know your audience. Determine what they are interested in, what they are talking about and how they like to be communicated with. Use that information as a starting point for your community engagement plan.
Mix it up. Bridge the gap between online and offline community interaction. The digitally savvy generation will appreciate the ease and accessibility of online interactive initiatives, such as Facebook contests. But, don’t lose sight of the power of face-to-face contact. Traditional means of communication often establish deeper roots and relationships. Don’t forget that online and offline public outreach campaigns should complement one another.
Maximize your involvement. Generate buzz around your community events and make them newsworthy. Bring in a local celebrity, donate to a nonprofit in the community or hand out useful giveaways to attendees. You want to leave a lasting impression with locals while garnering the attention of media and bloggers, helping to establish positive relationships.
Feed the cycle. Refresh your community engagement plan each year, building off past successes. Put a new spin on your annual fundraiser, create a social contest, host a community open house, or seek out new nonprofits and organizations to work with that align with your company’s mission and values. Whatever you choose, remember to engage, and engage consistently with your community.
The motivation for implementing a community engagement program will differ based on each business’ desires and needs, but an effective plan—large or small—can open the door to new possibilities that will make others want to support and be part of your company for years to come.
What types of community involvement strategies have worked well for your business?