Building Up Your Community = Building Your Brand

Wherever your shop is located, creating and maintaining strong ties to your community is vital to your shop’s growth. While community engagement plays a huge role when it comes to beating out your competitors, a lot of shop owners still don’t completely understand the best ways to build sustainable relationships within their community. We’ve put together a list of key ways your shop can network and connect with your community. Check it out:

Leveraging Social Media

Whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter, these platforms will allow you to share content, engage with customers, and most importantly, get to know your community. Social media provides an easy way to communicate new dishes, last minute shop hours, special events, and other information with your community. Optimizing your accounts can open up so many different doors, such as coordinating with local events, catering, delivery options, sharing reviews, and more.

On top of that, social is a great hub for your followers and community to easily open up discussion and ask questions straight to the owner of your shop. The way you interact with comments on your page, good or bad, will determine a lot about your growth. In a recent survey, 44% of people believed that brand conversations (what a brand says in direct communication through direct messaging or in response to a posted comment) was way more persuasive than what a brand was saying in its advertising materials. Being able to directly communicate with your customers on a daily basis shows your brand’s creativity, personality, value of the customer, and understanding of your product. With around 3.78 billion current social media users worldwide, it’s become fundamental to have a social media strategy to help boost your relationship with your community and increase customer retainment.

Taking Advantage of Events

What could be better than a pizza festival (we really can’t think of much)? When it comes to event coordination, shops can collaborate with any type of event, festival, parade, concert, etc. in order to boost community awareness and approval. These events often rely on sponsorships from local businesses, so they’re a great way to collaborate and show your support. Whether you host or participate, it’s sizeable exposure within your community. These events often draw in large crowds, so make sure to take advantage of the amount of people by setting up a space for your shop to gain potential customers in your community and beyond.

Events also provide opportunity to showcase swag items and popular menu items for people to get an idea of who you are and why you stand out from the pack. A study by the Exhibit and Event Marketers Association and the CMO Council found that trade shows and events increased new prospects and business opportunities by 64%-so don’t miss out on these potential new customers.

Providing Contests & Giveaways

“Free” is by far one of the most attention-grabbing words to customers. As you’re probably aware, contests or giveaways are fun and easy ways to grab your community’s attention by providing incentives for your customers. This style of participation keeps your community intrigued and coming back (which creates returning customers). Not to mention, they’re a great way to learn more about your customer’s habits and receive key information such as their email addresses, names, phone numbers, and more. Almost all giveaways require information to qualify for participation, which drives a casual and expected exchange between consumer and shop owner. Contests and giveaways also help you get to know your audience better to send out other personalized communication for future events, offers, and specials. On average, 34% of new customers are acquired through contests, so make sure to implement one into your next marketing campaign.

Meeting Your Neighbors

It’s always important to put your best foot (and food) forward when introducing yourself to possible new customers. This can be as simple as introducing yourself to local businesses or families that live around your shop, which goes a long way. Even a quick hello and handing off a business card or piece of print advertising can be an excellent opportunity to promote your shop on the fly. Doing this small deed shows you recognize and value their (potential) business. It’s also important to remember that happy customers translate into returning customers, which increase retention rates and boost your ROI. If you’re looking for an effective new way to reach your neighbors, Check out our other blogs on how direct mail will affect your next marketing campaign, and ultimately your relationship with your community.

While it may seem hard at first, connecting with your community can put your shop in front of competitors, while also building its customer base. It’s an often cheap yet efficient way to get your shop’s name out there.

Looking for ways to effectively connect with your community on a whole new level? Contact ZaHub!