Helping Customers Find You By Sharing Your Story

Helping Customers Find You By Sharing Your Story

Jennifer Smithberger
February 26, 2020

It’s no secret that small businesses are continuously giving back and nurturing their communities through fundraising, volunteerism, and donating time, services, and goods. Close to 42% of small businesses give up to $1,000 each year, and 66% of small businesses give back in some form to support local charities. The reason behind it is simple: when the local community thrives, so do the small businesses that operate within it. Small business owners are personally vested in their communities and they genuinely want to contribute to the place where they live, work, and play.

With all the good that small businesses do, how come it’s not always visible? For many consumers today, a business’ reputation for charitable work is part of their buying decision. Yet at times, it’s hard to know what causes and nonprofits small businesses support, because this information isn’t always readily available. It may be buried in their website or lost in a social media feed. Why isn’t it featured as prominently as the features and availability of the products or services they sell? Searching for information on their community service can feel like a complex research undertaking for potential customers.

We’ve talked to a lot of small businesses and have found two common themes. They all give back in some way to their communities, and they feel a bit uncomfortable proactively sharing their community stories.  Many of these business owners felt that communicating the good deeds they do in their community could be seen as self promoting or bragging, and would make their kindness seem like an ingenious act to drive sales for their company.

However, given that customers want to hear these stories, sharing the good you do as an organization is rapidly becoming “a business as usual” requirement. What we learned is that it wasn’t exactly sharing the good they do that seemed to make small business owners weary to tell their story, rather it was not knowing how to frame it. Here are a few helpful hints that can help you get the word about the good you do in a way that’s more sincere and accurately represents what inspired you to take action in the first place.

Tips on How to Frame Your Story

Sharing how you give on social media can take form in a variety of ways. Using the right methods will help you connect with customers on an emotional level and build that sense of authenticity that is so important for your brand.

It all comes down to how you deliver your message. A good story should include the following elements:

  • Bring your Experience to Life: Using the right imagery will help people get a feel for your experience, make the story more compelling, and better illustrate the challenges at hand and how you took them on. The idea is to inspire individuals to want to do the same, as well as get them energized about your story and make them stick around to learn what the end result was.
  • Promote the Organization or Cause You’re Supporting: It’s likely that if you’re working with a charity or supporting a cause, it’s because it means something special to you. Think of this as an opportunity to create awareness and share their mission: why what they do is important and what their needs are. Bring attention to their team and the important work they do.
  • Shine the Spotlight on the Volunteers You’re With: Whether it was time, money or resources, your employees and customers likely played a part in your business’ charitable giving. Take this as an opportunity to celebrate how they came together, worked as a team, and the power of their collaboration.
  • Focus on Those Who Benefit as a Result: Ultimately, it’s all about who is being helped, whether its an individual, group of people, the environment or otherwise. Whoever it is, make them the hero of your story. Focus on their situation and how what you are doing helps improve their life.
  • Be Grateful and Say Thank You: Most importantly, show your gratitude for the opportunity to make a difference. Having the support of the local community is what makes it possible for you to do good, so celebrate it. Thank both employees and customers who have given you the ability to show support for a cause you care about. Be humble, and never underestimate the power of saying thank you.

Choosing an organization whose cause you whole-heartedly support or whose interests align with your businesses’ offering can help prevent those feelings of being disingenuous because it’s something you are naturally passionate about. We love learning about the good work seedership clients are doing in their community. For example:

  • A gym franchise owner partnered with an animal rescue to bring awareness for the organization, as well as encourage existing members to invite friends to take a class. The owner was open about his passion for animals and shared his story of adopting five rescues.
  • A financial services firm encourages its partners to donate time at local high schools and community colleges to teach young adults financial planning. This allows employees to gain a sense of personal fulfillment while arming youth with valued advice for better decision making.

Further, by making giving constant, and not just an isolated occurrence, you can embed an air of kindness into your culture. This will not only help you feel great about the giving you’re doing, but show customers that it's coming from your heart.

Creating Visibility Into Your Brand

Getting your story heard begins with bringing greater visibility into your small business. This can be fairly easy, especially when you use the right tools. Social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter are the perfect place to share your contributions with your audience. Further, sharing on these channels can open up the conversation between you and customers, acting as a way to build excitement around a common cause and inspiring others to do good as well.

Staying Authentic is Key

When sharing the ways you give back with customers, be authentic. People want to support businesses who are genuine in their messaging, who they feel they can trust. Building brand authenticity helps build connections with consumers that in turn can create long-term customers. Further, studies show that 86% of people find authenticity to be one of the most important factors when it comes to choosing a brand to support. Consumers are privy to brands who try to force authenticity; so build it, don’t fake it.

Feeding into the community who has supported you and sharing it gives your business a human quality that is so important to success. Whenever possible, spearhead causes that are near and dear to your heart. Tell your audience why these causes matter so much to you, and give them a reason to feel excited about your contributions and how their purchasing power can also be used to improve the community. After all, their support is what makes it possible for you to give back.

Sharing Kindness is the Kind Thing to Do

When it comes down to it, sharing your story is a kind thing to do. Doing so shows your appreciation to supporters, and closes the communication gap, bringing everyone in your community closer together. Your customers are the ones who have supported you in your growth, and the reason that giving is possible. Let them celebrate these amazing wins alongside you, and feel inspired to do good themselves.

seedership makes sharing good easy, by tracking good deeds and kindness to paint a full picture of how your business gives back.

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