How getting involved in your local community can return great results
I work for a local Indian restaurant - providing "all things marketing" along with helping with their menu evolution and image.
This has really helped them grow their business significantly - even during the Corona Virus / lockdown period. And on a personal level, it's great fun to do - using my skills and enthusiasm to see their sales grow considerably and supporting the owner in terms of innovation and activation (and being a sounding board for many of his ideas)
The ideas below haven't cost a lot to do - we don't "boost" them on Facebook (saving that for key "sales-driving" activities) but have achieved great awareness, interaction and sales growth through being an active partner in local and charitable efforts.
How local facebook community groups can be used to your advantage.
If you are a member of one or more of these kind of group then you’ll be aware of the content that’s posted by their members. Whilst a lot of it is usually people just having a moan about teenagers hanging around, complaining about parking in their street or having a bitch about their neighbours, without reporting things to the council or police.
Most allow advertising - which is often just a jpeg of their menu which gets no interaction or “likes” along with impromptu reviews of your business which become expert reviews - usually when people aren’t happy. And these are often not looked at or commented on as a business.
But there are some that are incredibly active and well moderated to stop the thread becoming dull and pointless - how many posts can there be about Fireworks night and the fact their dog is scared?
Our local group: “Parkwood Resident Community Page” is one of these great groups. with 2500+ members. And whilst there’s a certain degree of the above, it’s achieves great engagement from the local residents.
It doesn’t allow direct advertising from businesses, but are very happy to allow posts that are informative to others which include a mention of a business as part of this.
You need to be a little creative about what you post - there needs to be a community story that's relevant - e.g. a fundraising event for a local charity, recruitment opportunities or talking-up other local business etc.
Here's three ideas that we've used recently.
#1 “Nominate A Neighbour”
We’ve seen some amazing efforts during lockdown by many in the area in terms of fundraising, local care/help for elderly and young mums and those not able to get “out & about” to do shopping.
So we (Spice Fusion) launched a “Nominate A Neighbour” competition for 10 days.
A very simple mechanic, with 3 prizes of a “meal for 2” as the prize. This isn’t costing us very much, but we’re seeing a great love for Spice Fusion - including helping us have one of the busiest weeks in sales ever.
Nomination entries close on Wednesday - whilst there’s been a few clear contenders that have been nominated several times, there’s also many others who may want to just want to give their helpful neighbour some recognition.
We’ve already had over 100 nominations with great feedback of what we’ve organised for the area.
#2 “FOOD BANK DROP-OFF LOCATION”
We’ve been chatting to a local homeless/disadvantaged charity for a while and had already been delivering 100 curries a week that could use on their Food Trucks and Food Banks and shop in Gillingham.
Since we started doing this, the charity has received increased numbers of donations (including 200 Easter Eggs from Tesco) including food, toiletries and clothing. We've really helped by setting a 'drop-off' up in our (closed) restaurant to make it really simple for people in our area.
But they were struggling to cope with the logistics of collecting and delivering them back to their shop/warehouse.
Two of our local residents have really got involved with this and are now delivering twice weekly to them - with both their estate-sized cars being packed full of the donations which have been dropped off at Spice Fusion.
A wonderful effort that also “talks-up” the restaurant in updates on the group page.
#3 HELPING LOCAL CHARITIES RAISE £1000+ EACH
We get a large number of requests for raffle prizes - which are often more for getting sponsorship for a marathon runner or for an event that’s held somewhere which isn’t local to us, or in some cases for an event they are holding in another Indian restaurant!
To stop these requests whilst being positive about their efforts, we’ve introduced “charity fundraising event” opportunity that can raise thousands for them, whilst being a viable option for us.
The package is simple - the charity needs to be able to get 80-100 people to buy tickets for the event. For booking they receive £10 per head as a donation (£800-1000) and are able to run raffles and an auction on the night.
It helps that we’ve a large restaurant, separate bar area, spotlessly clean toilets, free parking and simple disabled access.
We set up a booking / payment solution on our website - or the charity can organise themselves. Whilst were happy to do this and promote (to an extent) we do make it clear they will need to promote to its followers / supporters as its those people that are most likely to buy tickets.
It works - simple and popular. In the past few months we’ve run these for the Oliver Fisher Special Care Baby Trust, the Mayor of Medway and Heart FM Kent “Make Some Noise” and others - with some raising £4k+ for the charity.
All good stuff, with many more ideas for the future. Let me know if you'd like to chat about about these and would like my help to achieve this for your business.
AshleyDoesMarketing provides marketing support for both small and large companies across B2B & B2C markets. I'd love to hear from you - 07540 381994