Are you looking to take your business to the next level? Have you considered the ways your community influences the overall success of your business? Well, you have come to the right place because we are here to talk about all things community engagement and business!
Before we talk about how to utilize community engagement to increase sales and ultimately boost business overall, we think it is important to define community engagement. We will also explain how community engagement and better business are intertwined, which will help you understand why an engaged community is so essential to a successful business.
From engagement strategies and directly engaging with your community, to involving community members in decision-making processes and hosting community organizations, there are seemingly endless ways to boost business or your coffee shop. Let’s get started!
What is Community Engagement?
Community engagement quite literally refers to bettering the engagement between businesses and the communities they service. Community engagement techniques and engagement strategies center around the long-term effects of engaging a community, and the primary focus is on building an honest relationship with your customer base.
Five Ways to Improve Your Business through Community Engagement Tactics
There are many different methods by which a greater level of community engagement can be achieved, but today, we are going to focus on five of the best ways to increase community engagement as a coffee shop.
Five ways to improve business by way of engagement strategies include…
- Keep the personal connection alive between your shop and your customers
- Encourage your employees to engage with the community
- Involve the community in many of your business-related decisions
- Take a genuine interest in the events going on in the community
- Initiate projects to help better the community
Keep the Personal Connection Alive Between Your Shop and Your Customers
If you have a social media account, no matter the platform, you have probably come to realize just how out-of-touch online interactions can seem. Talking to people in person feels far more personal, and the interaction is a lot more meaningful.
The reasons for this are primarily due to the fact that you are able to hear the person's voice, see their facial expressions, and read their body language. When you communicate with others by way of a phone, or through a computer screen, all of those natural facets of a face-to-face conversation are lost, and personal connection disappears.
While social media is an excellent digital marketing strategy, it is less important when you are focused on bolstering your community engagement. In fact, when you want to engage more with your customers and interact with the community, social media does more harm than good.
To optimize the community engagement aspect of your coffee shop, keep the personal connection alive and well. Teach your baristas to ask customers how they are doing. Encourage your employees to remember the names of customers, and incorporate personalized gestures into your business teachings.
For example, pay extra attention to customers who frequent your coffee shop and regularly purchase the same drink. If you see them standing in line during a morning rush, your baristas could start making the customer's beverage before they place their order.
That way, by the time the customer has paid, their drink is already ready for them! Trust us when we say they will never forget your kindness.
Encourage Your Employees to Engage with the Community
Relay your passion for community organizations to your employees by sharing your love for these events with them. Open up to your coffee shop baristas and share the details of your community experiences with them.
Encourage them to look around the community and take an interest in local organizations. Engaging with the community is an excellent opportunity to network with people in the community and create connections that might not otherwise form.
There are many ways of incentivizing your employees to attend community events as well. One of the best ways of doing so is to allot paid time off for your employees so that they can attend community organizations events and interact with community members.
No matter how you choose to go about getting your employees to participate in events with community members, it is a very good idea for business. When your employees have an interest in the community, they will become even more invested in engaging with customers and ensuring they have a wonderful experience in your shop.
Also, customers will be able to recognize your employees as more than just baristas, but as community members just like them! It is a win-win for everyone involved.
Involve the Community in Many of Your Business-Related Decisions
Ask community members for their input on some of the ideas you are considering. Create polls that customers can vote in as a way of understanding what your community wants.
For example, before making major changes, like eliminating dairy milk in favor of alternative milk options, ask your customers to offer their input. The same goes for switching to only sugar-free flavored syrups, for example.
Even if you are making necessary changes that must happen, despite the possibility of your customers not being in favor of the alterations, make sure you inform your community of what's to come well in advance. Equip them with the reasoning behind your decisions so that they understand where you are coming from, and watch as the trust between your shop and your customers grows exponentially.
Take a Genuine Interest in the Events Going on in the Community
Learn about the community around you. Educate yourself on any problems the community is facing, and interact with community members to better understand how you can help. Implement engagement strategies that are genuine.
Listen to your fellow community members, and make it obvious that you want to make the neighborhood around you as good as it can possibly be. When you care about the needs of your community, it reflects well on your business, and you will be viewed as a place that community members genuinely want to support, all because they feel supported by you, too!
Initiate Projects to Help Better the Community
The best resource to turn to when looking into community initiatives is your city's municipality website. When initiatives are active and in-the-works, the details of the proposed plans are written out and explained for the public to view.
Familiarize yourself with the changes that the community members are in favor of, and if they align with what you believe in as a company, then get involved as well! This will show the community that you care about more than just your business. You also genuinely care about the wellbeing of your community; this will develop newfound appreciation among your customers.
Community Engagement: The Secret to Improving Business
As you can see, the community plays an unbelievably large role in the success of a business, especially when your business is that of a coffee shop. Even though you may have an online presence in the form of social media accounts and a business website, the premise of your company is the physical storefront that you operate.
The sales you make are only as successful as your ability to engage with the community. The more positive of an impact you have on your surroundings, the more well-respected your business will be, and the better an influence you will have when it comes to your customers.
Always remember that your customers are human, and just like you, they want to be recognized as people, not just as transactions. By focusing on experiential marketing and always keeping your customers in mind, your business will skyrocket.
Many businesses overlook the fact that their customers are the ones who keep them in business, so do your best to not become a company that forgets where they came from! Engage with your community, and they will engage right back.