What is community relations?
In the last decade, businesses have become increasingly concerned with social responsibility. Social responsibility is when individuals and companies act in the best interests of their community, environment, and society as a whole.
A large part of social responsibility that is often overlooked is community relations– which may just be the most important marketing tool for small businesses.
Positive Impact of Community Relations for Small Businesses
Did you know that approximately 1 in 5 small businesses fail within their first year, and only 2 of the 4 remaining fail within the first 5 years?
Many reasons contribute to small businesses failing; however, one of the major factors is poor community relations. In fact, 9 out of 10 people said they would boycott a business if they perceived it as irresponsible and untrustworthy. That’s a lot of people!
A good relationship between a small business and its community has many benefits, some of which include:
- Positive brand awareness
- Improved employee retention
- Building trust with the community
- Encourage volunteerism in the community
- Create new relationships with members of the community
How Do You Become “Responsible and Trustworthy” to Your Community?
As a small business, creating a positive relationship with your community may seem challenging, but here are some simple steps you can take to get started:
Demonstrate sensitivity to community concerns and issues
Housing, education, and social inequalities are just a few issues and concerns that can arise in a community. However, don’t fake concern—that’s worse than doing nothing. Instead, choose an issue(s) that you’re passionate about, talk with your employees about it, and come up with a plan.
Create or participate in a community outreach program
Community outreach programs involve providing services to those who would otherwise not have access to the services. This could include working at a soup kitchen, signing up for a community clean up, making holiday cards for a local hospital, and so much more.
Sponsor a team
Supporting local teams and clubs can help your businesses build a positive brand association and separate you from your competitors—all while instilling trust in a whole new market.
Host a fundraiser
By hosting a fundraiser, you can highlight which causes are most significant to your company, further promoting your brand and what your company stands for. It’s an excellent, fun, and helpful way to state what matters most to your business.
Donate regularly to local charities
Making regular donations to local charities helps with long term retention, employee motivation, and building brand awareness, all while supporting a cause of your choice.
Join your local chamber of commerce
Chamber of commerces are dedicated and designed to both promote and protect its members, all while improving the quality of life in a community. It’s great for networking, professional development, volunteering, and so much more.
Communicate with your community on social media
55% of consumers learn about businesses through social media. Take advantage of this and create the image you want to be known for!
Start Your Community Relations Initiative Now
While important, implementing and maintaining community relations is a huge undertaking for small businesses. Luckily, our team at RED66 can help you coordinate your outreach efforts and market them.
We’ve volunteered at our local Kids’ Food Basket, sponsored local motocross rider Ava Mall, and so much more. As a small business ourselves, our first-hand experience has helped us understand just how vital community relations are—so let us help you make it to the 5+ year mark.