When most people hear the term “local marketing strategy,” the first things that often come to mind are location pages (pages that contain local search keywords) for their website and joining local social media groups. But did you know that attending local community events can help drive traffic to your website? Believe it or not, marketing isn’t always best performed by a faceless stranger behind a keyboard who is constantly publishing content to engage your audience.

Even simple things like an employee volunteering at a community fundraiser can boost social media followings and garner business reviews.

How is this possible? Well, too often many people forget that their business depends on customers who are also human beings.

Too often people become dehumanized with terminology such as traffic, visitor, lead, and so on. But the truth remains that you need to treat your traffic as human beings, and you can’t always do that in a purely digital context. Social media marketing has exploded over the past decade, and it can be used to leverage your interactions and engagements with other people in the real world.

Let’s take a closer look at how real-life, face-to-face interactions can boost the effectiveness of your social media marketing campaign.

Active Community Engagement Builds Credibility and a Positive Reputation

Whether you have the opportunity to help alleviate suffering in the wake of a natural disaster (such as a tornado or storm) or participate in local health initiatives, reaching out and directly interacting with the community can work wonders for your online reputation. Or for that matter, your entire brand’s reputation. The results of several studies are truly eye opening with regards to the impact community engagement can have on the success of a marketing campaign.

  1. Cone Communications published a study that showed as many as 82% of Americans consciously use CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) as a determining factor when making purchasing decisions. For example, many people would seek alternative product and service choices if an organization has a negative impact on society.
  2. Another EconPapers study was able to show a correlation between businesses that aided disaster relief efforts of victims of the 2004 Tsunami in Southeast Asia. They were able to show that higher amounts of relief funding and charitable contributions correlated with higher returns.
  3. Harvard Law was also able to establish that community engagement efforts bolsters the reputation of an organization, and even encourages consumers to pay a premium for their goods or services.

So what does it all boil down to? It seems that studies have been able to accurately show the impact of reaching out to your local community and the positive impact on the performance of a business. But even small businesses can take advantage of community outreach to simultaneously improve the well-being of members of their community and build their brand. You don’t need to solve all the world’s problems, but making the effort to show that your business cares can do wonder for your marketing strategy.

Engaging with the Community through Local Causes and Events

Local searches are a necessity for a lot of different types of businesses that are bound by geographic region. Consider a law firm that can only legally serve clients within their own state. For these types of firms, local search traffic is their bread and butter. But if your marketing budget is low and you want to increase the effectiveness of your local marketing efforts, engaging the local community is a fantastic strategy.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a massive corporation or a green startup, you still need to engage events and causes that are relevant to your location to make a greater impact. Though it would be noble and virtuous to save a species of animal from becoming extinct or to prevent deforestation in a foreign country, these may not be your best options because they won’t resonate as strongly with the local community. The ugly truth is that there are a lot of problems in this world worthy of your time and attention.

For example, it might be better to participate in a food drive for veterans in your local community, or to participate in a charitable fun-run to raise money for other local issues.

Be Appropriately Humble with Your Content

Giving time, energy, and resources for the wrong reasons can actually deteriorate your business’s reputation. But at the same time, you can’t be so humble that no one understands how you helped the local community. It certainly isn’t a bad idea to publish content that stirs up more engagement from the local community. It will help the public understand that you are a positive force in local society, but make sure you don’t come off as bragging.

This is done in poor taste, and it can come off as egotistical. There’s a fine line between bragging and showing community involvement, but if done correctly, it can increase your social media following and ultimately help attract people to your business. Also, success stories should be shared. If you hit your fundraising quota or stamped out another problem in local society, it can be incredibly inspiring to share the results online.

About 

Will Hanke owns Saint Louis' top independent Internet Marketing firm, Red Canoe Media. In addition to helping some of St Louis' most recognizable brands with their online marketing strategy, Will also is an Amazon bestselling author, speaker and teacher.