Business Community Involvement Ideas: How to Create a Community Connection
You've worked hard to get your business off the ground in a challenging time. Now, you're ready to build your customer base. A good first step is to evaluate your relationship with your local community. You may have formed a few connections already, but there's always room to grow even closer to it.
Looking at successful business community involvement ideas by local companies and organizations can point you in a good direction, but here are 10 ideas to get you started.
1 Affirm your values
People will likely be more willing to embrace a business that stands for something they care about. You can give back through a charity partnership, by sponsoring an awareness campaign, donating products or starting a pay-it-forward initiative to help people in need.
2 Maintain a welcoming presence online
Thanks to the power of social media, potential customers can interact with your business any time they have access to a phone or computer. With this in mind, create an inviting and accessible website, and join the major online social media platforms. Try to post new content frequently to show you're an active, thriving business and back that up further by responding quickly to comments and messages from community members.
3 Participate in local events
Look for happenings like block parties, concerts in the park, fall festivals and holiday parades. Get your business involved, either as a participant or sponsor. Events offer a great opportunity to introduce your company to people who may not have walked through your doors yet and create a good impression of community-mindedness.
4 Offer training or mentorship
Educational programs show community members you want to help them succeed. Consider collaborating with a community college to offer internships to students, or set aside a day when high schoolers can shadow an employee and learn about future careers. You could also participate in mentorship organizations that pair business leaders with aspiring entrepreneurs.
5 Join local organizations
Your local chamber of commerce, business council or innovation district is a good place to start when strengthening ties to your community. Take an active role and go beyond just attending meetings. You could serve on the board, help plan an event, or join panels or roundtables.
6 Work with local influencers
Look for customers who are enthusiastic about your business. Ask if they'd be interested in acting as brand ambassadors in exchange for free products or services—or even a fee. Encouraging influencers to get the word out about your company is an effective strategy for connecting with the public. It means people hear your message from someone they already know, trust and admire.
7 Build an equitable workplace
Remember, your employees are also part of the wider community. If they feel respected by your company and treated fairly, they'll be more likely to recommend your products to their family, friends and neighbors. Make sure everyone on your team earns a living wage and that hiring and promotion decisions are inclusive and fair.
8 Acknowledge your community's diversity
Your signs, flyers, brochures and job postings should recognize that customers have different identities and come from diverse backgrounds. Make sure the images you use in marketing don't always display the same demographics, and use language that's considerate of everyone. The more people feel welcome by your business, the more likely they'll come themselves and recommend it to others.
9 Support other small businesses in your area
If your company is currently sourcing most of its supplies from national distributors, consider whether there's anything you need that you could get locally. Buying from nearby businesses demonstrates that you care about your neighbors and you want your community to thrive. In turn, the people you support may feel more invested in your company's success.
10 Invest for the long term
Community involvement takes time and continual attention. Your efforts may not boost sales overnight, but consistently implementing business community involvement ideas will pay off in the long run. Indeed, it may take many interactions with the community to establish that brand recognition and trust in your company. As such, keep an eye out for projects and initiatives that are ongoing through the year. It will also demonstrate a greater commitment to your community.
As you work to grow your company, it's helpful to have someone with small business expertise at your side. Consider talking to a small business banker to see which banking services can support you as you pursue your goals.
Financial insights for your business
This information is provided for educational purposes only and should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal or tax advice. First Citizens Bank (or its affiliates) neither endorses nor guarantees this information, and encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation.