There are a lot of ways to boost your business. You can provide high quality products and services, and you can build your brand with creative and engaging content and small business marketing tactics but to set yourself apart from the competition you shouldn’t neglect building strong relationships with consumers via community engagement.
Philanthropic involvement has been a proven PR tactic for years. Consider the connection between brands and charities that helped garner crucial support for important causes in recent years – with the added assistance of social media:
- I Like It On – Breast Cancer Awareness encouraged girls to post this provocative phrase which actually referred to where they liked to place their handbags. The Facebook campaign earned extensive attention and spurred millions of status updates across the globe.
- UN’s Social Media Envoys – Combine the 50 most influential people and organizations on Twitter with an educational campaign on malaria and you get this phenomenally successful information drive. Imagine the power of Ashton Kutcher’s million-follower tweets in the crusade to raise money for African malaria sufferers.
- Movember – Encouraging guys of all ages to stop shaving for a month? Not a difficult prospect when you add the message of awareness to the call. Each November millions of guys go sans shavers to help bring attention to men’s health issues and raise money for various charities.
These 3 efforts highlight the creative combination of social good will and social media. Small business marketers can take a number of lessons from these and other examples:
1. Find A Cause That Relates To Your Brand
Seems obvious, right? Connecting with the ideal charity is more than just similar characteristics. Your brand consists of not just your products and industry reputation but the unique relationship your audiences have with your company.
The popular fitness company NordicTrack put all the elements together when they opened their retail stores nationwide. Fitness machines were donated to the American Heart Association based on the number of minutes exercised on those machines in new stores.
The AHA used the donated machines to generate cash for causes and NordicTrack helped spread the word about healthy lifestyles
2. Speak To Your Audience Through Their Favorite Channels
Social media is ideally suited for cross promotion of brand and philanthropy. With some creativity small business marketers can create an explosion of exposure and engagement.
Remember that different channels cater to different audiences. A campaign promoting woman’s issues such as domestic violence will have a stronger influence on a channel such as Pinterest because of its heavy female population – 97% of Pinterest users are women.
3. Create Special Events– The rule of consumer engagement for success plays as heavily in philanthropic projects as it does brand awareness. Get people involved and they will take a personal interest in your campaign.
For brands who want to reach out to audiences through special events, special event companies such as Philanthro Productions can provide the guidance and inspiration needed to connect messaging and events.
4. Get Your Employees Involved – You are sitting on a wealth of resources when it comes to creative ideas and man power through your employees. A strong philanthropic campaign can not only mobilize their energy but their enthusiasm to your corporate culture, as well.
Reward employees for their participation in events, invite them to organizing committee meetings and recognize their unique efforts to your cause. When they buy into your philanthropic campaigns, their word of mouth is the best PR a brand can hope for.
Not only are philanthropic campaigns good small business marketing mobilizers, they add a noble sense of purpose to the people who engage in such community building operations. In the end, dedicating your resources to charitable causes is a win-win for both in-house morale and marketplace credibility.
Start now to take your brand to a higher level.
For more ways to build your brand, check out our blog post, Sink Or Swim, Using Your Expertise For Small Biz Success.
(Photo Credit – Flickr Creative Commons: Camera Eye Photography)