How to engage with your local community

November 18, 2020

 

Engaging with your local community can be fun, fulfilling and a great way to achieve enhanced levels of branding, social media engagement and sales. 

Why should brands engage local communities?

An intrinsic sense of local pride can lead to some incredibly strong brand advocates and allow you to achieve enhanced levels of branding, social media engagement and sales.

 

However, before you embark on the journey of creating a local engagement strategy, it is important to understand why you are doing this to ensure you activate the right tactics to help you reach your business goals.

 

Reasons for such engagement, could be improving your SEO within a geographical location, improving your reputation, launching a new product or service, or simply increasing your social media following or local brand awareness.

 

This preparation stage is important to identify your objectives and thus shape your communication strategy before pressing play to activate some of the below local engagement ideas.

 

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How to start a conversation as a brand

It’s true that sometimes less really is more. If you try to incorporate every seasonal and calendar event into your PR campaign activity, firstly you could fall over from the sheer weight of the work, but more importantly, you’ll weaken your brand messaging.

 

Cherry pick the most relevant triggers for your brand. What does your brand have that will create real stand out throughout that event and how does that event strengthen your brand messaging and the consumer understanding of your offering?

 

Choosing the wrong events to tie your PR campaign activity into is pointless at best and detrimental to your brand at worst.

 

For example, if you’re a UK-based business with a local audience, Thanksgiving content is unlikely to have real return on investment, it’s not worth the time or money. However, choosing a charity or awareness event to tag your activity onto when it’s not something your brand has ever invested in before and hasn’t made strides to develop in advance can come across as exploitative and damage your brand reputation. Be picky!

 

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What to focus on in local communications activity

Ask them for feedback

Asking questions is a tried and tested method of enhancing engagement and the buy-in of your audience. You can focus your questions on direct feedback regarding your brand but you can also focus it on them – this can be an opportunity for you to gather intel on your local community; what do they want to see more of, what makes them tick, what makes them happy or sad? If a consumer feels they’ve helped to shape the service or product to suit them, they’re more likely to be engaged.

 

Reward and thank them

Once your local community has bought into your brand (be it only once or numerous times), take the time to thank and reward them. Loyalty offer discounts and thank you freebie gifts always work well. This goes back to the human engagement – we all like being thanked for our loyalty, for sticking with a business during tough times, and it can go a long way in developing a long-term relationship.

 

Run a competition

Time and time again competitions have proven to be a great way to grow a brand’s social media and e-marketing following. The prize should always be sensitive and if possible tied into the wider local and global landscape. For example, as the nation enters lockdown 2.0 – a home-care package would surely be much appreciated by your local community, or perhaps a morning coffee delivery. The ins and outs of running a competition do not need to be complicated. It can be a simple ‘comment on our Instagram post with one reason as to why you want to win’ or simply ‘sign up to our newsletter to automatically be entered into our competition’ – simple, easy, effective.

 

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Let locals become a part of your business development

Rather than seeing your local community simply as potential customers or individuals to engage with, you can allow them to become a part of and help shape the future of your business. Your trusted local supporters can add immense value, become ongoing ambassadors and supporters of your brand – but for them to do so you need to incentivise and welcome them. And in having them help shape your business, they have a service or product that is a perfect fit for them, which does wonders for brand loyalty.

 

Think outside the box

We’ve highlighted the key platforms and ways to engage with a local community, however it’s certainly not just limited to these. Local engagement can be a welcomed opportunity for you and your team to get creative and bring to life your brand personality – if one of your brand pillars is to be personable why not send hand-written notes to your local community informing them of your news? Or how about creating a brand package for the leaders within your community it to those who may need it most? Additionally, stay up to date on what local happenings are taking part in your community? Has a supportive new business launched? If so – celebrate them. Are there any vulnerable individuals living near by? Then why not lend them a helping hand. Such initiatives and actions are not always about sales or following, but about creating a level of respect and trust amongst those nearest and closest to your business. Small gestures – can go a long, and beautiful, way.



 

Short-term flexible packages

For those looking to test the water with PR, we are offering flexible packages to help get your comms positioning right over the next few months.

 

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