Have you noticed your community shrinking, dying off, disappearing? There’s a silent killer out there, lurking, just waiting to “do in” your community. For many, it’s been lurking around for several years, you never saw it coming as you were too busy just trying to keep your head above water. “What is it?” you ask. Well, here’s your answer – it’s complacency.
Two communities, same result
It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about a physical community, your business community, or your online community. Recently I did a webinar for the Travel Industry Association of Kansas regarding “how to engage your community.” Last week I started working with a new small business client who needs the same thing – community engagement. That’s such a big part of marketing, but over the past few years people have allowed it to fall to the back of their marketing strategy. When you allow complacency to take hold, when you take things for granted, your community starts to die off, little by little.
Here’s a reason why, but it’s not an excuse
There’s a reason why complacency has infiltrated communities over the past few years. Now, let me be clear, if you use this reason as an excuse you’ll stay stuck in the same place you are now and your community will continue to shrink. But if you use this reason as a “light bulb moment” then you can immediately start taking action to turn around the complacency. The past few years the economy has not been kind to communities and businesses. We’ve all had to hunker down, work harder than ever, just to keep our businesses open. We’ve been doing all that we can to find new, innovative ways to keep our businesses and our communities in front of people. But while we’ve been spending time with things like social media, we’ve really stopped being social. Think about that for a minute. We’ve been so busy trying to engage our community online that we’ve really stopped engaging in real life. Social media has been a gift, but by putting so much time and effort into it (and yes, we have had to do that to stay competitive), we’ve chosen to ignored the social part. We became complacent about being truly social.
One action, big results
How do you cure complacency? Get out there; see your community members, your business clients, face-to-face. Engage with them in real life. Talk to them, ask them about them, tell them where your community, your business is heading. Get them on the same page as you. You can’t be successful without them.
It was a surprise to my small business client when suddenly she noticed a competitor “infiltrating” a key part of her business. The competitor was out in the community, taking her clients to lunch, offering workshops and other “in person” activities to engage with her clients. She had become complacent, but luckily she recognized this and immediately began a strategy to turn it around.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a small business or a city, town or destination. If you don’t interact with your community face-to-face, if you take things for granted and you don’t engage them, you can rest assured that this complacency will kill your community. It’s an easy fix though and one you can start taking care of right away. And you know what? Not only will you enjoy your time out and about with community members, your business will become stronger and more profitable in the long run too!
For those who are looking to engage your physical community, be sure to download my Community Engagement Checklist! This checklist provides 26 things you can be doing right now to engage and strengthen your community.