3 ways to build community around your small business

Updated: Sep 26

Hi All

I was just thinking today how well the amazing Just a Card #Indieweek is going on Instagram and Twitter.

If you are not familiar with the concept, Just a Card was set up by Sarah Hamilton an Artist in SE London. She saw a quote "If everyone who'd complimented our beautiful gallery had bought 'just a card' we'd still be open" by store keepers who'd recently closed their gallery. And from there she rallied and founded an online campaign that has recently grown to over 60,000 followers. This week is an awareness week for the campaign where anyone who identifies as a maker, or small business person can support the aims of the campaign and bring publicity for everyone.

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 in the last 3 years that I am highlighting not to boast but to give you some ideas to set up your own movements.

1. The Space at 61 Community - When I started my venue hire business Space at 61 in 2016 I also decided that I would try and found a community of people around the venue that would be interested in coming together to swap advice and support each other though the challenges and joys that self employment can bring.

I established First Fridays a networking group back in January 2018 and set up monthly meetings of local self employed people, freelancers and anyone who wants to find out more about working for themselves, I also set up a private facebook group which has just under 600 members now.

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 on my blog

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. Have you Met?

Late last year I started a series of interviews on local entrepreneurs called 'Have you Met?' so far I have carried out 21 interviews with inspiring small business owners, which I then publicise on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as well as the blog itself.

This project has again brought me into contact with lots of brilliant, mainly women, although it doesn't have to be, men are also welcome :)

I love the feeling that I might be bringing a fab local business new customers who live and work in the same area but just hadn't heard of them yet.

I hope that has inspired you in some way to think about your own small business, your area of expertise and how you can bring your customers, locals, and fans together for the good of everyone including you.

Thanks for reading!


Would you like more help with your marketing? My new book is out now

If you would like a book of 100 Marketing Tips written just for small business owners then do have a look here. I wrote this book to be easy to read cover to cover or to be kept as a reference to dip in and out of!

What to Read Next

In this article I explain how to turn your social media followers into customers. Read it here

About Me

Shona Chambers Marketing is a Marketing Agency based in Nunhead near Peckham. Specialising in helping Small Business Owners and Freelancers with their Marketing. Based at 61 Cheltenham Road, Peckham, SE15 3AF

© 2020 BY Shona Chambers Marketing

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