What’s the secret to effective social media marketing for small home-based businesses you ask? Wielding it to build a brand community through active community involvement.
That’s it. Well, not quite. Bear with me.
Most likely, so far, you’ve been bombarded with concepts like “a business online presence”, “audience engagement” and “social media strategy”.
But what does any of this mean for the success of your business? How do you translate your social media strategy into your target customers making that purchase?
In the real world, you need to execute the brand identity you have carefully crafted on your social media platforms.
Basically, you need to get out there.
So, follow along to learn about the best community involvement strategies for brand community building.
Local Culture as a Catalyst: How to Boost Brand Community Engagement
Building a brand community is not a small feat. But, it can be incredibly fruitful with the right marketing strategy.
Amplify the brand trust, loyalty, reputation, and awareness your business has been carefully crafting online by now walking the talk.
Without matching your words online to your actions, your brand authenticity will suffer. And so will your brand trust and business growth.
It’s not just about the products, the appealing TikTok, or the emotional origin story you’ve shared. It’s about your brand engaging in and empowering local communities.
Involve your home-based business actively and genuinely in local communities. Engage with its members. And then share it on your social media channels.
- Participate in local farmer’s markets and food festivals. Take the opportunity to breathe local culture into your goodies. Offer samples of foods with locally-sourced ingredients and those made in collaboration with other local artisans.
- Participate in music and cultural heritage festivals. Align your brand with the festival theme and sell products related to the cultural heritage. Incorporate local symbols and traditions into the booth design and your branding. Use the opportunity to share stories and traditions of the local culture through your brand’s story and values.
- Participate in arts and crafts fairs and festivals. Provide live demonstrations of your craft, and its connection to the local life and its culture. Showcase products made in collaboration with local artists, and hold collaborative workshops.
It’s not just an opportunity to feature your products and gain brand awareness. It’s your brand’s way of co-celebrating the local culture and heritage. It’s an opportunity to cultivate your cultural sensitivity, understanding, and respect for the local life, traditions, customs, language, and values.
Also, it’s a chance to learn about local challenges and opportunities. And, hence, adjust your business and social media marketing strategy accordingly.
For example, the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival is part of the region’s cultural and historical fabric. An artisanal cheese maker’s attendance would be an opportunity to learn about challenges of local winemakers.
It’s their chance to offer sponsorship and volunteer their time and resources to support them. But also, to align their cheese products to better match the wine flavors resulting from novel wine-making techniques.
Participation in local events is about interacting with people and sharing in the local life. It’s about understanding local community needs and lives and building a brand community around them.
As Harvard Business Review reports, brand communities are a means to an end for their members. Members seek more, such as connection, support, and deeper fulfillment.
So, document your involvement, and promote it on your social media with your online brand community. Use local language and references in all your content.
Promote local success stories that feature locals and your customer base. For example, you could do a live Q&A, featuring local community leaders who can provide a story behind these events.
Show your community love, and it will surely show you some (or lots) back!
How to Build Brand Community Alliances with Powerful Local Collaborations
The power of collaboration with local businesses and events strengthens the social fabric of communities. And it will help build a brand community around your business.
The creativity here is limitless.
You can feature new products or services, host special events, run shared giveaways and contests, and support local causes together.
Document and showcase the whole behind-the-scenes collaboration process. Create compelling types of content around everything from the ideation to the collaborative product stage.
Or, for instance, your business could do a live Q&A stream where you feature your partners. Highlight their stories in real-time and how this partnership continues the local spirit and legacy of community building and protection.
This will create a sense of unity, mutual support, and belonging within the community. It will establish your business as a serious community member invested in its well-being.
Whichever strategy you choose, local collaborations and their co-promotions on social media will strengthen your brand’s networks.
Your business’ inclusion into the local ecosystem will make potential customers more receptive to and aware of your products.
They will help expand your brand’s reach, exposure, and follower growth, target specific audiences, and establish authority in the community.
If your brand constantly shows up for the local community, it will perceive it as a vital member. Its involvement shows shared and mutual care for the community, cultivating brand trust and a strong reputation.
Time and time again, consumers have shown how much they value brands they perceive as genuine and selfless. And not just driven by the bottom line.
In short, the community collaborative opportunities are endless, and so are their benefits.
How to Empower Local Communities with Social Responsibility and Gain Brand Advocates
Giving back is one of the most powerful ways for your home-based business to build potent community relations.
Sure, it’s amazing you remain faithful to your authenticity, and you stick to your transparency principles online. Great work on maintaining your brand voice and identity in your online presence.
But how has your business shown up for its people? Your people are what you make of them. In the case of small businesses building their brand communities, your people are your niche target customers and your local communities.
Yes, corporate social responsibility has become both a trend and a corporate white-washing tactic. One that Gen Z and Millennials especially have caught on.
However, you’re not one of the ‘Big Four’ in mobile communications or food retail. Your home-based business is small, local, quality-focused, sustainable, and community-oriented.
You are opportunely positioned to leverage your embeddedness in local communities. And to truly give back and practice (not corporate y’all!) social responsibility.
And 76% of consumers expect businesses to positively impact the communities in which they operate. Thus, rally existing community members around your brand, as one of its respected advocates.
Is little Marina from a nearby town doing a lemonade stand to raise money for her dog Percy’s surgery? Create content around it and promote it. Donate your time, products, or funds to help a cause that is significant to your community.
Show that your brand cares and invests in local lives. Make a charitable donation, volunteer, host a fundraising event, start community projects, or sponsor local social organizations and initiatives.
You could feature local NGOs’ work on your live streams and highlight how your collaboration will help them advance their goals.
Or you can organize a social media fundraiser for a local cause. It’s a powerful way to instill a sense of community and collective effort. It is easy to track its impact and is sure to enhance your audience participation.
Your business can leverage the power of content creation on social media. It can multiply its word-of-mouth and reputation-building effects.
Authentically Walking the Talk of Brand Social Responsibility
But the most important part of your strategy should be the authenticity behind your support for local social causes. Do it in a way that reflects your brand’s actual values, and norms, and makes a real social impact.
However, don’t do it for the image, likes and shares, because the inauthenticity will surface. Just ask Pepsi after its Kendal Jenner campaign failure.
Consumers are not gullible, and know when brands are self-serving and ingenuine. 64% of them will change their perception of a brand if they consider their community involvement to be insincere. That’s why there is an increased interest in understanding and ‘hacking’ consumer behavior in behavioral science research.
Social responsibility is your brand’s opportunity to connect to and forge a brand community on an emotional basis.
More importantly, it is also your chance to rally community involvement behind worthy causes, forging networks of passionate individuals connected by the same values.
It will differentiate your business from competitors who are insincere and engage in opportunistic social responsibility that customers will see right through.
When done right, giving back to the local community can be an effective marketing strategy. As much as it is fulfilling and wholesome.
It will earn the loyalty of consumers who share the same values as your brand. Authenticity will ensure that your social responsibility endeavors are effective in bettering the local communities and building your brand’s image.
In the end, your business helped make the world a little bit better. It’s a win-win.
In sum, the secret to small business success lies in wielding the power of social media to forge deep brand community ties.
You should engage authentically, collaborate with local partners, and give back genuinely. These strategies won’t just build your brand, they will create a movement.
Elevate your business, foster loyalty, and make an impact. It’s not just a marketing hack. It’s a real commitment to your community’s betterment.