Community Involvement Is A Sign Of A Good Business
Community involvement is not only a sign of a good business, it also makes good business sense. According to a Cone Communications Social Impact Study, when choosing an automotive repair shop, 89% of female customers will choose a business that is involved in their community.
"While building a name among locals will increase sales and brand awareness, making an effort to serve the community also creates happier employees and more loyal customers. By establishing themselves as pillars of the community, an owner can add real, immeasurable value to their business."Inc. Article
12 Ways Your Business Can Get Involved In The Community
1. Teach a Class
How to change your oil or basic mechanical care of a vehicle, are just a couple of classes you can offer. Many of the home stores offer free DIY projects. Probably because these classes are profitable for there business in the long run. By teaching your female customers about basic mechanics, you are giving them a sense of empowerment, and by spending more time with you as a teacher, the women will trust you and become your loyal customers.
2. Sponsor an Event
Get involved by sponsoring an event like a girls sports team, and attend some of the events. Maybe even provide refreshments after a game. Can we say watermelon slices? Yum!
3. Join a Parade
Many towns and cities have a parade at least once during the year. Check it out and see which one you would like to participate in, then decide what you can do during this parade. Will you throw beads, key chains, or maybe candy? If so, what kind? Remember that hard candy can get stuck down the throat of young children, and so can beads. How about candy necklaces or car shaped chocolate? Chocolate is not for hot temperatures though.
4. Give a Tour
Ask your current and potential customers if you could show them around. They will have a greater appreciation for you and your mechanics. Make sure the shop is clean, though and no inappropriate images on display.
5. Help a Charity
There are so many worthwhile charities it might be hard to pick just one. Let's say that you picked a charity such as Feed the Hungry. You could have a food drive at your shop and have your customers participate by bringing canned food. Call and let them know what you are doing. That makes you look good and your customers feel good about themselves and your shop.
6. Attend a Meeting
Whether it is a meeting for the local school or a business development meeting in your area, attendance will show that you have a stake in the community, and through this you can make meaningful connections. When they know who you are, you may be asked to perform auto maintenance for the city.
"Getting involved with local leaders in either a personal or business capacity can be very valuable. Developing genuine relationships with individuals who are also members of organizations like the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau can be even more beneficial. Once these relationships are established, opportunities will open up to become more than just a connection."Inc. Article
7. Host a School Field Trip
Young students are potential future customers or employees. Have them come into the shop and watch the mechanics in action. Don't forget to provide a snack at the end and you'll be remembered fondly by the students and chaperons.
You could also host a field trip to another site, such as a car museum. Think out of the box on this one. Look at the area around you and see what's a fun and interesting site.
8. Hold a Contest
Whether it's an annual event, or monthly, make it a big deal. It could be a free oil change, a brake job, or even a $50 voucher at the local supermarket, which would be awesome around Thanksgiving.
9. Social Media
Social Media can help to build trust in your brand, manage your reputation, obtain customer insights, which help you to give better customer service.
Business owner Jeff Matt purposed to develop a relationship with his customers. When he opened a third location he realized that it was impossible to be at every location, so the personal touch was more difficult to accomplish. He hired a social media manager who determined the best use of his Facebook page. She found ways that promoted interaction with the posts.
Jeff's FB manager Stephanie Gutierrez "...looked for ways to make the page interesting to all car owners. Gutierrez now posts about things all drivers can relate to, such as traffic, commuting, safety and traveling."Stephanie Guitierrez
Facebook Manager, Victory Auto Service and Glass
One of her posts asked about the best form of transportation and places to park during the State Fair. This got great engagement on the Facebook page. Not only is Jeff's Facebook page a huge hit with his current customers, it has grown and he was able to expand his business by adding two more shops.
Imagine this: you and a group of volunteers are helping to keep a portion of a highway clean. Not only is this cost effective advertising by having a sign with your business name visible for all who drive by, but it also says you are active in the community. For more exposure, all team members can wear a bright tee-shirt with your shop name and logo largely displayed during the cleanup, which is usually once a month, and you'll get even more exposure. If you don't have time to do the cleanup yourself, it is possible to hire it out. Have them stop by your shop first to pick up a tee shirt.
Sponsor a local student who wants to go to a trade school for mechanics. The sponsorship could be a full ride, or books only, or a set of tools. It's your choice! If you offer a full scholarship, you could have a contingency that the student agrees to work at your shop for a specified period of time after graduation.
On the note of sponsoring, a local high school student who has an interest in mechanics could be added to your shop as an intern. What a great way to spread good will in your community.
"...companies that encourage involvement in the community stand out among their peers and see multiple benefits as a result, such as a happier workforce or a more loyal customer base."Forbes Human Resources Council
Involvement develops trust with your community. The old adage, "actions speak louder than words," is very true. By taking action and getting involved with your community, you are saying that you care for others. This will set your business apart from all the other businesses in your area. Getting involved is easy with all the different ways that are available, but taking the steps towards that action will take effort on your part. What are you waiting for?
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