Updated: Feb 15
One business community I have seen go from strength to strength over several years is Just a Card
If you are not familiar with the concept, Just a Card was set up by Sarah Hamilton an Artist from South East London She saw a quote "If everyone who'd complimented our beautiful gallery had bought 'just a card' we'd still be open" from some store keepers who'd recently closed their gallery.
Sarah took the essence of that and distilled it into Just A Card, and founded an online community that has grown to over 80,000
As well as a daily presence for small business owners, particularly makers, Just a Card started to host awareness weeks where anyone who identifies as a maker, or small business person can support the aims of the campaign and bring publicity for everyone.
I think these are into their third year now and really successful for the community that embrace it.
The reason Just a Card continues to flourish on a skeleton crew of volunteers is this, it has a clearly defined community of people, who to borrow a Seth Godin quote believe ' that people like us do things like this' and that means supporting and advertising the campaign and taking part in the online community it generates.
You can do it too
I believe that every one of us has it in us to create a Just a Card. It doesn't have to be so large, but you can create and assemble around you a community that is engaging and uplifting for its followers.
How can I do it? 3 ways I have done it myself
As a Marketeer admittedly I have a head start, because my mind is just in that zone of thinking, I understand that community is good for all of us.
Here are a few of my own community achievements that I am highlighting not to boast but to give you some ideas to set up your own movements.
1. Self Employed Club
The Self Employed Club community. Set up to support in person networking for small business owners originally, this has now moved to a virtual community with an Instagram and Facebook presence. On Sundays I host ' The Sunday Social' on Instagram where anyone is welcome to promote their latest offers and services. On Monday the same thing happens on Facebook. It has been amazing seeing the collaborations and projects that members have created, and the spirit of support for everyone is exactly what I'd hoped for, and its exceeded all my expectations up to this point.
Could you set up your own support network for people doing what you do?
It is very isolated sometimes working alone so don't be shy about putting another option on the table for people to be together and share the load.
2. Monday Mentions
For two years I ran a free community newsletter which I published every Monday.
I spent time each week asking local people to send me anything that they had happening, events, sales, competitions and I created a free online resource, which was brilliant for finding out what was going on in the area, I loved doing it.
I met so many amazing people, and am still in touch with many of them.
It is time consuming, which was ultimately why I ended the project, but I really recommend finding a way of serving your community in this way, with an eye to improving your local area, whilst bringing yourself great PR and sometimes new work and leads.
3. The Free Promotion Guide
Every small business owner can benefit from free promotion. So I spent the last few months putting together a guide of free Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and PR tips that would give anyone who followed them free promotion.
If you would like to grab a copy you can sign up to my mailing list here and it will appear immediately!
Thanks for reading!
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Shona Chambers Marketing is a Marketing Agency based in SE London.
Specialising in helping Small Business Owners and Freelancers with their Marketing