Community Engagement – What Goes Around Comes Around

Developing a marketing strategy for your business takes time, planning ahead is key and there are many factors to consider. Which channels should you use? What messages should you promote? Who should you target? Shooting Star can help you create an integrated approach which incorporates traditional PR, social media and digital marketing. However, one tool that businesses often overlook is community engagement.

For many businesses, adding a ‘caring side’ to the company is beneficial in several ways:

1. Brand personality

This is an opportunity to write your own story and add another dimension to your brand’s personality. It allows people to relate to your company on a personable level and encourages them to communicate with your business on topics outside of the traditional business-to-consumer dynamic. Consumers prefer to purchase from companies they feel familiar with and community involvement starts to build a level of trust. 

2. Get to know the needs of your community

Getting to know your community can help shape your future marketing strategy. Consider community engagement as free market research to develop a target profile. Ask yourself which age group is communicating with you, what are their interests and how can you help them?

Understanding the issues that are most important to the community, in turn helps you to understand the needs of your customers and will enable you to integrate this information into your marketing strategy.  

3. Networking

Supporting your local community or charitable projects opens the door to a different kind of networking. Traditionally networking events are a conventional affair such as coffee mornings, working lunches or after-work drinks. Attendees are clear that these sessions are business card reaping opportunities. Community engagement allows people to build relationships over a shared positive goal, creating brand awareness and often achieving exposure to customers, investors, suppliers and business leaders.    

4. Staff retention

Happy staff are key brand ambassadors for your company. A strong community engagement or charitable campaign is an important part of retaining loyal employees, igniting their passion for your company and allowing them to develop new skills. Word of mouth is often the strongest tool for promotion, so giving your employees an opportunity to interact with the local community taps into a network that you may not have approached before.

Encouraging staff to get on board with the company’s initiative is one thing but supporting their personal good-deed efforts also goes a long way toward employee retention. It is often beneficial to match fund or provide raffle prizes, which can make the employee feel valued and increases your brand exposure. 

5. Free PR for your company

Getting your name into the press can be a challenge; businesses must always create new and exciting angles that entice journalists to publish their stories and many companies don’t know how to talk to journalists. Developing an effective community engagement strategy or charitable campaign is a good approach for achieving media coverage, especially if your results make a big difference!

Need some inspiration? Last year our client Secret World launched a shoe box appeal for donations for the animals during winter months. The Somerset-based charity liaised with the public and with schools to send in goodies for the appeal. Read the full story here.

Want to get involved but don’t know how? Contact the Shooting Star team today on 01522 528540 or to find out how we can help with your community engagement strategy.