In our last blog, we went over three simple ways to get involved in the community without spreading yourself too thin. If you’re still skeptical about community involvement, or perhaps you think the return won’t be worth the effort, allow us to change your mind. Read on for several benefits to getting your business involved in the community.
Nearly every community endeavor provides the opportunity to network with local business owners, non-profit organizations, community leaders, and residents. Take these opportunities to swap business cards and learn more about what these connections offer to the community. You may be surprised by organizations or local initiatives that you weren’t aware of previously. Plus, you may find new collaboration opportunities and ways you can work together in a mutually beneficial way that weren’t apparent before.
While networking is a great way to build your network of contacts, you shouldn’t see this as a quick way to grow your book of business. It’s essential to go into these networking opportunities with genuine intentions to learn and grow. Otherwise, you’ll be known as “that person,” you know the one who added you to their email list without permission or the person who barely remembers your name or what you do but wants to sell you something.
Getting involved in the community is a great way to gain exposure for yourself and your business. In addition to meeting new people, many community events receive media coverage and get shared on participants’ social media channels. Gaining exposure this way can make a significant impact since it’s reaching an audience outside of your own. Public-facing coverage such as this can help generate awareness and improve brand recognition. Exposure can be especially beneficial if you’re participating in an industry-specific event to help position yourself as an industry expert.
In addition to exposure through outside channels, community involvement is a great way to develop content for your brand. Content can include news releases, social media posts, blogs, etc., about the activity. Make sure to mention or tag the organization and other participants (with permission). Tagging others allows you to reach outside of your audience and gain cross-engagement from those brands’ followers. This happens because followers of other people and/or businesses or organizations will see your content via the tag when they previously wouldn’t have been exposed to it.
Sharing about your company’s involvement in a local activity or with a local organization can help build goodwill and trust within your community. Sharing this content also demonstrates that you’re interested in your community’s needs and committed to investing in local happenings.
Further, in-house-generated content, especially that involving people on your team, tends to perform significantly better on social media channels. Audiences typically enjoy seeing the “here and now” versus perfectly curated content that doesn’t seem as authentic.
Local activities and events are also a great way to bond with your team. Whether you’re participating in a local fundraiser, going to an industry-specific conference, or just supporting other local businesses, it’s a great way to get out of the office and bond over something other than work. Attending events as a team is especially helpful if your employees have shared interests or passions that they can incorporate into these community activities.
We understand with COVID-19 concerns, this can be challenging or not possible. However, once it’s safe to resume in-person gatherings, these benefits certainly apply.
It’s a good idea to have guidelines and previously set expectations for your team when participating in community events as a team. Some general guidelines can be about alcohol consumption, attire, whether to wear name tags, having business cards on hand, etc. Expectation setting isn’t intended to create rules or put a damper on the fun. These guidelines ensure your team is aligned in the goal of participation and to ensure everyone is putting their best foot forward.
Attract Local Talent
Getting involved in the community can also help you attract local talent. Whether these are participants working for other local businesses or students learning about companies in the community, participation in community events could be a factor that specifically attracts a potential candidate with shared interests and values like you.
While there are benefits to nearly every community involvement endeavor, it’s most important to be authentic and participate for the right reasons. You should involve yourself in events you genuinely care about and can commit to with consistency. Being selective helps you avoid spreading yourself too thin or appearing disengaged. Visit the community page on our website to see some of the ways we stay involved in Southwest Florida. If you have any questions or want further guidance on how to get involved, contact us.