Yesterday on Twitter I made the comment that communication + unity = community. A simple play on words, it seemed to hit the target with a lot of people. This guest post from Cathy Browne, a Canadian PR professional currently based in the US, takes that sentiment further and looks at how we can all help our local communities.
It’s Martin Luther King Day here in the US, and President-Elect Obama has urged us all to honor Dr. King’s memory by performing good works for others. People all over the country have responded, and I’m thrilled so many have answered the call.
Today got me thinking how, as PR professionals, we can lend a hand every day, right in our own neighborhoods. In this brutal economy, local independent businesses from restaurants to dry cleaners have been suffering for months and will face even tougher times as the year wears on. It’s already happening to my favorite eatery, a Moroccan restaurant called Casablanca which boasts great food and a hard-working, caring owner/chef.
I’ve been doing what I can for them, and pass along some tips that might help a small business in your area:
- If you value a service, and want to see them succeed, get to know the owners. Talk about the challenges they face.
- Offer to take a look at their web site, and give them some suggestions on how they can improve the site to increase traffic. (Often it can be as simple as cleaning up typos, or suggesting they insert photos or a video clip.)
- Suggest they give incentives for repeat customers in the form of a VIP discount.
- Discuss how they can increase traffic on slow days – with promotions such as “15% Off Wednesdays”.
- Help them design simple, inexpensive flyers to promote their business.
- Spread the word on community sites like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Chowhound and Open Table to let others know why you are a fan.
We have so much knowledge. Let’s give back to the people in our own backyards.
- A graduate of Canada’s prestigious McGill University, Cathy Browne is a PR professional with more than 20 years high tech public relations expertise. She has worked with more than 100 companies in Canada and the US, including Lotus, Sun Microsystems, KPMG and Deloitte Touche. She embraces social media as an invaluable PR tool and a critical component of any successful communications program. To learn more about Cathy, please visit her LinkedIn profile or connect with her on Twitter.
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