We had a blast getting a buzz while creating buzz this weekend at the seventh annual Maplewood Coffee Crawl; endless coffee, delicious samples and getting to know our neighbors and fellow business owners. When you're a small business, it’s so important to be part of your community and collaborate with other local businesses. Not only for fun and creating a buzz, but for driving more business (oh, and it’s pretty easy when you have an awesome community like Maplewood in St. Louis, MO!).
We jumped at the opportunity to get out in our local community during the Maplewood Coffee Crawl. Approximately 15 Maplewood shops served coffee, snacks, and other fun treats to over 100 patrons. Businesses represented this year included, All Out Wellness, Living Room, Strange Donuts, Traveling Tea, Tim Hortons, Stone Spiral, Great Harvest Bread Co., La Cosecha Coffee Roasters, Vom Fass, Larder and Cupboard, Foundation Grounds, Mystic Valley, Kakao Chocolate and Schlafly Bottleworks. We were thrilled to not only taste our neighbor’s delicious recipes, but to get to know the owners behind their creations.
We love that all the Maplewood businesses collaborated to promote the area with the Coffee Crawl. Maplewood businesses jumped on Twitter and started sharing, retweeting and liking posts from the day. We met new faces, created buzz for ourselves and others, and new businesses learned about us in return. Social media plays a key role in community collaboration. So if you aren’t on Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, yet, hop on and start connecting with the local businesses in your area. The retweet is the new neighborly wave.
Companies that can create or participate in a collaborative network and connect with other business and potential customers will benefit from a competitive advantage.
Successful networkers understand that community collaboration is a two-way street. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to help fellow small businesses grow. By consistently bringing value and opportunity to those in your network, industry, and your area you’ll be attracting others to your business. In short, by giving business to others, you will get business in return.
1. Offer to swap guest posts for each company’s blog. We love this one because it's beneficial all around. When you're out and about at a networking event, run this idea past your community colleagues. This is a much easier concept to discuss in person than over email. Next time you meet a local business owner, ask them about their website and blogging efforts and see how you can collaborate.
2. Introduce another business on your social media pages. Alliances can bring value to your own customers and business as well as an opportunity for you to be seen by new audiences. Typically if you shout out to someone on Facebook, they will give you a shout out back. This get's both your businesses in front of each others followers.
3. Make your presence known. Utilize events in your neighborhood, like we did with the coffee crawl. Walk around with a few business cards, an open mind, and meet new people. You're bound to meet other local business owners at a local event. While you're there, snap some pictures or videos and tag those businesses when you post.
4. Host events together. Who says you have to host events alone? Throw a trivia night, bar crawl, or outdoor concert with other companies in your area.
The day was filled with sugary treasures , caboodles of caffeine, and new local favorites. Here's a shout-out to the fine roasters at Art House Coffee, Chauvin Coffee, Goshen Coffee, Kaldi’s Coffee, Killi Caffe, Kuva Coffee Co., La Cosecha Coffee Roasters, Riley’s Coffee Co., Stringbean Coffee Co., Tim Hortons and Wayfarer Coffee Co. Now we know what coffee to stock the Seafoam office with.
Check out this South 40 News article for more pictures and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see our favorites from the day! What are your favorite ways to create buzz about your business in your local community?