by The Maclyn Group
Community relations is a buzzword that gets thrown around often, but do you know what it truly means and how important it is?
“Community” is an extensive term, but in business it’s about creating mutually beneficial partnerships within the greater demographic area your business serves.
Community relations is an excellent means of attracting new customers and growing your business. Today, we’ll be going over the importance of community relations and why it’s essential to your business.
What is Community Relations?
For a company to be successful, it must develop a relationship with the community in which it operates. To see results, the relationship must be beneficial for all parties involved.
In today’s world, customer relations is an essential part of marketing, so choosing a cause that’s appropriate for your customer’s needs is crucial.
But where to start? Your company can identify an essential need of the community and find a way to fix it– through donating money to that specific cause or even sending a representative from your company to a function for the cause.
Extending assistance through services, goods, or your time helps strengthen your relationship with your community and boosts your business.
Research has shown that 8 out of 10 people buy goods from their local business because of how that same business helped the community. Positioning your business as one that’s involved and invested in its community builds goodwill among your potential customers, generating leads and driving traffic back to you.
A veteran marketer once said, “People buy relations, magic, and stories– not goods and services.”
He was proven right over time. Many more companies are learning that marketing their products alone won’t do. They have to get hands-on with their communities.
The Importance of Community Relations
Community relations is considered a two-way benefit to its society. It positions businesses as civically and ethically responsible in their local communities, fosters goodwill among the locals–your potential customers, and helps the community thrive as a whole.
Community Relations Allows Giving Back
Businesses that participate in community relations benefit by being able to give back to their communities. The beneficiaries in that community prosper from donations and other services.
Community Relations Builds Credibility
Building credibility is essential for all businesses, and it’s no different with community relations. A solid strategy helps boost your company’s credibility and create a personal connection with your customers as compassionate, trustworthy, and invested in local growth.
Community Relations is Great for Advertisement
Word of mouth marketing is king today. Your community relations strategy, when coupled with public relations outreach, can work wonders in generating buzz for your business. The resulting news coverage fosters positive sentiment of your business in the eyes of locals, driving traffic right back to you.
Community Relations helps with Networking
If you extend your time to do community relations, you’ll find that your network will grow exponentially. You might start attracting potential investors and get new customers.
It’ll be easier to retain employees, connect with fellow local business owners for future partnerships, and your credibility ratings will go up as new customers view you as reliable, trustworthy, and honest.
Strategies for doing Community Relations
- Investing in Your Community – Donate to a local cause to show goodwill.
- Giving Through Community Events – Sponsor a local event such as a summer splash or community concert. Not only will this help with gaining trust from your new customers, but it will also provide great visibility to a new audience via on-site activations or visual marketing opportunities.
- Volunteerism – Organize a volunteer day for your team at a local charity. While you won’t make a profit, it will offer networking opportunities and show the community you care.
Leveraging your Strategy
- Social Media Posts – Post pictures from a fundraiser you hosted or your team volunteer day. This will build brand trust among your current audience. To take it one step further, work with your community relations partners to develop a multi-channel strategy that reaches their audience in addition to yours to maximize visibility.
- Public Relations Outreach – Share the story with local media and coordinate their presence on-site for fundraising events or check presentations. This gives your business a true spotlight to share your message directly and build credibility.
Adding community relations to your marketing strategy doesn’t only benefit your company but the community at large, creating a pipeline of brand trust that leads to new customers.