When you’re trying to cultivate a following for your business, you can’t rely only on online marketing techniques. While they’re useful for what they are, there is true merit in working to engage with the community your business is surrounded by; creating marketing strategies surrounding this engagement has become the heart of many companies’ marketing efforts. 


Why focus on community engagement? For one, it acts as a way to draw in customers and improve their brand loyalty toward your business, as well as to increase their user retention. Community engagement is a financially smart choice as well—staying active and engaged with your community is much more cost-effective than paying for Facebook advertising or using AdWords.


Each community is different, so although there are several engagement strategies listed here, it’s up to you as a business owner to figure out what will work best for who you’re trying to engage. With that being said, here are some strategies you can use to amplify your community engagement.


Give them a place to express themselves.


Your primary focus should, first and foremost, be the members of your community, so to successfully engage with the surrounding area you’ll need to make your strategies focus on them, not yourself. Listen to what the members of your community are talking about—what matters to them? What are their passions? When people feel like they’re being heard and valued, they’ll be more likely to stick with you rather than take their business elsewhere, which is great for customer retention.


Figure out who’s engaged versus who’s not.


Like earlier mentioned, every community is different, and it’s up to you to figure out what will and won’t work for your location. To do this, you should categorize your community into three different sections: who is engaged, who is semi-engaged, and who isn’t engaged at all. Not only will this let you create a rewards program to reward engaged members for their loyalty to your brand, but it will give you a starting point in figuring out what the non-engaged members are looking for and let you show them specifically what special accesses engaged members receive.


Use visuals when creating content.

Most people don’t like staring at a wall of text when looking at businesses online, so giving your posts a visual appeal is much more likely to draw a person’s eye. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and record a fully-fledged advertisement; using free stock images from sites like Unsplash works just as well to appeal to the wandering eye.