It has been a challenging year for everyone. Fortunately, we continue moving forward with the encouragement of a wonderful community of supporters. In addition to our employees and partners, these are the people who buy our products, engage with our content and share their experiences with others. As we approach the winter holiday season, I wanted to offer a few meaningful and creative ways to thank your community for continuing to show up.
1. Acknowledge them. We all appreciate being recognized. Find ways to put the spotlight on your community. Profile your customers’ businesses in your newsletter, celebrate the accomplishments of your employees or highlight supportive fans/followers on your social channels. Carve out a little time to like, share and respond to their content.
2. Bring them together.Fostering a sense of community is a great gift for your supporters. Ideally, you could create a shared experience, conference or event. Until in person activities are safe, there are great virtual options. Host an online meet up, launch a Facebook group or build a digital community. The goal is generosity. Bring your community together around a common interest, need or purpose.
3. Give them special access.When you provide special access, people feel valued and trusted. Be creative. Access goes far beyond your products and services. This could be a fireside chat with you or your leadership. Or, a behind the scenes look at your home office or the books on your nightstand. Share details about a hobby you enjoy, your favorite podcast or vacation spot or a few unknown facts about yourself.
4. Give away your time. Our time is the greatest gift we can offer to someone. Find a way to use this precious gift to support your community. Accept an unpaid speaking opportunity with an audience you care about or open up room in your calendar for coffee meetings. Donate in-kind services or volunteer alongside members of your community.
5. Advocate with and for them. Another important way to thank your community is to see and hear them. Support the issues, policies or movements that affect your community. Take time to learn about their circumstances and to empathize with them. Use your business, your influence or your voice to create positive changes in support of those who support you.