In the past, giving back has been a way for small businesses like yours to “pay it forward,” and show appreciation for your customers and the community that has supported you. Small businesses and their communities have always been intertwined in a way that the growth of one lends to the growth of the other. The ways small businesses interact with their communities, either by doing charitable work within the community or how they provide jobs, services, and goods to their neighbors, helps weave a small business’ community story.
Today, in this digital era where consumers can easily research and pull up information on your organization with a few searches online, your customers want more transparency into your business’ community story. Is your organization’s charitable giving community story clear and easy to find when your customers look up your online or social media presence?
According to a study conducted by Cone Communications, more than eight in 10 consumers say that it is an organization’s responsibility to share the results of their community giving activities. Keeping your organization’s community story a secret and not a visible part of your business could be a missed opportunity. Your customers want to know how their purchasing dollars are being used to help give back to their community. If your community story isn’t apparent, that leaves your customers, employees, and partners wondering how much your organization cares about the community.
Your customers want to be shown how your business is giving back, not told. With all the businesses that are competing for attention on the internet and other advertising channels, doing good and making it a visible component of your business’ identity is the differentiating factor that drives new customers to your business, and can create loyal advocates that stay for the long-run. Do you know if the good you do is visible? Is it presented in an authentic way that reflects the goodwill that is behind your motivation to give back to the community?
We know that small businesses like yours are big givers when it comes to your communities. In fact, 2020 Springt Into Kindness Small Business Study found that 97% of what small businesses give goes back to local causes and organizations. Your community stories of doing good are deeply rooted in giving back and showing kindness to your neighbors that support you. However, our study also found that three out of four small businesses think that the promotion of their community giving efforts could be more effective. This brings us to the next key takeaway from our study: the giving your small business does may be understated.
Often, sharing one blog story, social media post, or email may not paint the entire picture of everything your business has done for the community. We know that businesses like yours are doing good throughout the year, if you aren’t sharing stories on how much you give back, those one and done updates might be hidden or hard to find on your social media accounts or website. Also, short-lived content pieces like these may seem disjointed and can be hard to connect to the overall community giving story your business is trying to tell.
Given this finding, there were still 27% of businesses that thought the tools they used to promote their giving activities were effective. We found that most small businesses use low-cost and intimate platforms to spread the word of their community giving. The most popular tools are word-of-mouth communication (69%), Facebook (67%), and the company’s website (51%). These tools have great reach and can be utilized to tell your community story, but it takes a combination of different techniques to keep your business top of mind when your customers are away from these platforms.
You have a story to tell, and your customers want to hear it!
We have found time and time again that small businesses are the roots that help feed and support a growing community. We have also know that small businesses give back continuously throughout the year, and that the primary motivations to give back come from the heart. It is this genuine generosity that helps engage your customers, employees, and partners and can help them create emotional bonds with your business. The good that you do for your community helps shape the story that your business tells.
Your community story, or all the efforts that you put into giving back and growing your community, can be the difference that drives customers to spend their purchasing dollars with your business. In fact, according to a study by Mintel, 73% of consumers say a business’ charitable giving affects their purchasing decisions. We know that small businesses are big givers, the missing piece that can help both the business and the community grow is how a business presents its community story and makes it visible enough that it stays top-of-mind to deepen customer bonds, create loyalty, and attract new customers and talent.
The benefits of sharing your community story
A majority of small businesses think that giving back to their communities is an investment and that by consistently giving back, they will see a return on their investment. There are a number of benefits, both expected and unexpected that can be realized through your community giving. Understanding that there is a full spectrum of benefits that giving back provides can help you realize the potential it has to add value to your community and your business. Taking control of how your community story is shown, shared, and told can help ensure that your investment in the community turns into a positive return for your business. Doing good for your community is just the first step, but there is more you can do to proactively share your story besides hoping that customers or a reporter may find out about it through the grapevine.
The benefits that we found that help businesses grow are deepening relationships with customers, boosting reputation, strengthening your business visibility, increased media coverage, expanding your partner network, lead generation, and employee retention. With all that can be gained by making your community story visible, small businesses cannot afford to keep their good deeds a secret.
Now, in this post-coronavirus world, staying visible on digital platforms such as social media and the internet is more important than ever. The more that businesses make visible their good deeds, the greater the opportunity to build their brand reputation and inspire consumers to support their business. Using tools like Facebook or your website to share your community story needs to be presented in a way that is personal, intimate, and easy to understand.
We know that small business owners like you have a lot on their plates with managing the day to day operations of their businesses. We know that your time is extremely valuable. That is why we built our platform. We have seen the ways small businesses give back to their communities, both in good times and in hard times. Small businesses are quick to adapt and respond to the needs of their communities. We also know that sometimes, there isn’t enough time in the day to focus on how your community story is being told.
Our platform was created to help small businesses track, measure, and share the good that they already do for their community, so small business owners can focus on growing their businesses and communities. seedership helps businesses share the story of their community impact with an easy-to-use dashboard that was designed to help engage customers, employees, and partners around the good you do for the community. With seedership, you can directly share stories to your social media timeline, or export infographics that provide your customers the transparency they need to feel good about what your business does for them.
Visit our research page to download our full 2020 Spring into Kindness Small Business Study. You can also register for our webinar on Thursday, May 28 at 3 p.m. (EDT) to review the key findings with seedership co-founder Jennifer Smithberger.
Are you ready to help your business and community grow? Sign up for a free 30-day trial of seedership now.