Marketing + Community


Engaging your community and marketing your business using three steps:
Lead. Shift. Act.

Yes, we’re living in uncertain times. And, theres a lot you can do right now to keep your business afloat. We’re here to help give you some ideas for engaging your community and marketing your business online.


Lead

You are the captain of your ship. Giving your team a sense of safety and community is important. Create an action plan that keeps them in the loop, and make sure your plan is flexible as rules and expectations are quickly changing. We’d recommend having a weekly team meeting—you can make it virtual using platforms like Zoom. Use this virtual time together to share updates on business operations and address any questions or concerns from the team.

If you’re able to delegate some social media tasks to your employees, considering giving them access to your company’s social media accounts. They can use social media as a platform to talk about topics like home brewing, products you’re selling online, and take-out or delivery offerings.

Photo of Brian McLaughlin, founder Seabird Coffee & Co.
Brian McLaughlin, founder of Seabird Coffee & Co.

Shift

Shifting gears can be hard, and staying nimble and flexible is key. Think of ways you can innovate quickly in this ever-changing environment, and stay up-to-date on local rules and regulations.

First, take an introspective look by shutting out the noise for a few minutes. Remind yourself of your core values, the reasons you began your business, and the guiding principles and standards that make up your professional mission. Use this vision to guide you moving forward. If you ever get stuck, take a moment: take a deep breath, make sure to have compassion for yourself, give yourself time to think, and reflect on why you took on the brave task of starting your business. You got this.

Consider selling roasted coffee online. Keep options like take-out, curbside pick-up, and delivery operations running if you can. If you need help starting an online store, check out our post on A Guide to Setting Up an Online Coffee Business.

Create interesting and engaging social media content and use social media as a place to update your community on your current offerings. If you partner with a local business, ask if they are able to sell your coffee. We’ve seen restaurants selling take-home meal kits adding a bag of roasted coffee. Think about partnering with local grocery stores, restaurants, or online businesses you may be able to work with. 

Listen to your audience. Your customers want to support you and they might have some interesting ideas. Be sure to read your emails and comments on social media from your followers—they often provide a thoughtful perspective you may not have considered yet. Allow them to inspire you and be part of your solutions. Bringing your customers and followers along for your journey creates brand loyalty, trust, and connection.

Photo of Seabird Coffee & Co.'s Instagram Profile.
Seabird Coffee & Co. Instagram

Act

Sit down, make a list of 5 things you can do today, and do them. If you need help getting those things done, get on the horn (or email). See if you can leverage help from your community. This means delegating where you can! If it’s hard for you to ask for help, don’t worry, this is the time to do it.

Your network and team may be able to do things like take photos for your web store and social media channels, or write content to help with marketing. If you’ve got an online business, be sure you’re stocked with labels, printer ink, and mailers. Make a communications plan, including social media posts, emails, e-newsletters, and updating your website. Having a cohesive plan with lists of tasks will keep you—and anyone who is helping you—on track and committed to the bigger picture.

Marketing toolkit:

If you need help with your plan, organizing tasks, or brainstorming new ideas, here are some of our favorite marketing tools:

  • Hubspot has an incredible library of free marketing resources.
  • Facebook and Instagram are the top two social media platforms for businesses.
  • Hootsuite helps you schedule posts to all of your social media channels (check out their free plan).
  • If you need help with your social media posts, Canva is a great tool to use.
  • Grammarly helps you with mistake-free writing that makes the right impression.
  • Mailchimp is the most popular tool to use for sending marketing emails.
  • Miro is an awesome digital whiteboard to use for your team meetings.

By diversifying your business offerings now, you’re setting yourself up to survive this uncertain time and have a more robust business in the future and generating a plan for longer-term success. Remember, you got this.


Featured Bellwether customer: Seabird Coffee & Co., Cohasset MA
Learn more about their story at The Pour.