Community businesses seem to always be there for each other. These local stores know that for their business to succeed in a community, everyone needs to work together to flourish. It’s a community effort to keep Main Street a thriving local economy.
This mutual support is why many business associations and chambers of commerce have at at least one annual community event that invites residents of a city or town to visit their local businesses. These events usually involve months of planning and advertising and have been marked down on calendars at least a year in advance.
These festivals and fairs are great, but sometimes circumstances dictate local businesses act immediately in order to help their stores and companies thrive. For instance, a historic winter.
Recently, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced Boston Bingo. What is it? It’s a bingo card, but instead of numbers, the squares are full of ideas of what residents can shop for in Boston. It also includes a hashtag that shoppers can use to share their experience in the store and promote the Boston Bingo program.
Mayor Walsh sees the game as a fun way for Boston to come together and support the local economy that has taken a hit due to the 99 inches of snow and the bitter cold. He’s not wrong in using social media to spur engagement within the community. The Social Times reported that 67% of shoppers use social sites while shopping.
Boston Bingo is being spearheaded by the city of Boston, and that’s a great way for government to get involved and help jump start the economy without offering a tax holiday.
However, it’s also a fantastic idea to drive sales during a slow economy without the help from your local government. Every business organization in the commonwealth should be using Mayor Walsh’s idea as a blueprint for a social plan that will work for their network.
You don’t have to replicate the Bingo card. In fact, you shouldn’t copy it. Think of ways to make their idea your own. Create a scavenger hunt that asks people to come in and take selfie with a specific employee. Start a sticker/stamp collection, where customers get a specialized sticker for buying a specific item. Any game that will get local customers out of their house and to your Main Street businesses.
Think of ways businesses can work together to be more engaged with consumers. If someone goes to a hardware store and buys a shovel and rake, maybe they need plants and you can team up with a nursery. If a customer goes into a bookstore, they may also visit the coffee house across the street.
There doesn’t even necessarily need to be a deal or a coupon involved, although that would probably help kickstart the event. Just promoting that your community is working together will get local customers excited.
The success of any community business relies heavily on how local residents engage with it. The more companies that are thriving in a community, the more people will want to visit successful establishments. Start working with your neighboring businesses today to get people excited about their local stores. Keep them engaged and they will keep on coming back.
Nick Pizzolato is the Marketing Content Manager at Wicked Local Media Solutions. For questions, topics for future blogs, or to share your favorite moment from the film “Back to the Future,” email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.