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Five Steps to Creating a Strong Community Initiative

With these five steps, you’ll be well on your way to beginning your own One Community One Team initiative, and that much closer to helping the communities you serve.

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As a dealer owner, I love using a good portion of our marketing dollars to give back to our community. It not only helps the community partners we’re supporting, but creates a win-win scenario for the dealership. This last year my team and I have created an initiative called One Community One Team; knowing that with Sarasota Ford’s resources, we can make local partners stronger, creating an overall community that thrives. Here are a few ideas to help you start up a One Community One Team initiative in your own backyard.

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Step 1: Assemble Your Team

Obviously the first thing any dealership needs to make their effort successful is the correct team members for job. In order to create your own community initiative, you will need a videographer to create and publish the videos and a digital advertiser/social media specialist to post them across social channels, at the very least. 

Step 2: Create Outreach Efforts

At Sarasota, we aligned our values with opportunities to give back in the community and then reached out to those organizations. We began with local heroes like police officers, veteran organizations and fire fighters, but also felt it was important to build up the next generation, so we spoke with local schools, sports teams and student organizations.

From a business perspective, it’s good to take a look at the top demographics in your area and, if possible, align potential service opportunities there. Another great idea is to ask your customers who they would like to see you support locally. This way you’re not only helping your community, but giving your resources directly to the causes your customers care about most. You can have your cashiers do this at service check-out, or bring it up as a point of conversation during the sale. 

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Step 3: Build Out Your Ad Targeting

With social media, in addition to targeting your list of previous customers and recent website visitors, valuable demographic data is constantly being compiled by the social networks, which can then be used to run demographic-based targeted ads.

Have you recently highlighted a local veterans organization? Get your ads (and the project you recently launched) in front of those who have shown interest in the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). Has your dealership purchased uniforms for the local high school varsity program? Run ads to those who don’t just live near the school, but also to people who have been inside the school recently. Due to the data found within the advertising platforms available by the social media platforms, the options are endless.

Step 4: Leverage Your Partners’ Reach

You will be amazed at the resources many of the non-profits in your area use to reach out to their supporters. When donating or creating an event for a community partner, ensure you ask them if they would be open to sharing the video across their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, in their newsletter, and even tie it into their own PR efforts. What’s better than having a third-party, such as a local community organization with a lot of raving fans, informing their passionate supporters that your business is fully behind their cause? Nothing.

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Step 5: Reach Out to Local Media

In order to garner support for the community initiative you are supporting, reach out to local newspapers, broadcast channels and other community supporters to cover the event. The result will be more support for the cause and a bonus natural payoff of goodwill toward your dealership.

With these five steps, you’ll be well on your way to beginning your own One Community One Team initiative, and that much closer to helping the communities you serve. If you’d like to see examples of some of the programs Sarasota Ford has put together within our One Community One Team program, please visit https://www.onecommunityoneteam.com.

Matt Buchanan

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