Creating and fostering an authentic awareness for your brand is essential when you operate your own small business. However, it’s not always easy because of how diverse (and expensive) marketing can be! With the exception of going “viral,” it’s hard to break through the digital chatter and stand out. So most small business owners like yourself need to employ traditional forms of raising brand awareness.

Or do you?

It’s important to challenge these more traditional avenues to create something unique—something worth tweeting or “hashtagging” about—in order to raise significant brand awareness. Have you considered hosting a special event instead? Planning a small business event that is in line with your brand is a very effective way to generate online noise about your brand, your products or your services. With one single event, you can generate photos, hashtags, videos, and tweets and create great general buzz about your business! Below are three types of events, along with tangible custom promotional products, that can help promote your brand and boost your overall brand awareness.

1. Host a Blogger Event

With the rise of social media, influencers, bloggers, vloggers and brand ambassadors, hosting educational events for these important players in the digital sphere is a great way for people to learn about the behind-the-scenes of your business journey. Every city nowadays, no matter how small, has a thriving community of well-connected bloggers or social influencers. Scope them out by checking local hashtags on Instagram. Whether you’re interested in pushing a new product or you simply want to have a bigger impact locally, it’s important to have a clear strategy and end goals. Hosting an intimate dinner at a restaurant or a fun brunch, or bringing in someone that bloggers can learn from (like a professional photographer or an inspirational speaker), are all great ways to communicate what your brand is and what you do.

Find a commonality between your small business and this group of people to really extend your relationship from social media to offline. In this manner, you’ll create an honest relationship with a group of really well-connected people who will advocate for your brand online and through word-of-mouth. When it comes to planning a blogger event that really makes an impact, it’s important to factor in your budget and location while sticking to a single theme. Give them the VIP treatment, because they may have thousands of followers that take their recommendations quite seriously! Talk about what makes your business truly unique without it sounding like a commercial. They want to get to know your brand, but they also want to spend time learning and socializing with each other and growing their sizable networks even more!

Social media influencers are particularly partial to items that photograph well. Think about your products or services, and provide a free item filled with products that match the aesthetics of the crowd. Order custom notebooks, pens or stationery, and you’ll pretty much ensure several photographs of your event all over Instagram and personal blogs.

2. Host a Free Concert

paper wristbandsHosting a concert sounds like a logistical nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be if you’re organized! Whether you’re a sponsor in a festival or you’re hosting on your own, participating in and celebrating local musical talent is a great way to introduce your brand quickly to a wide audience base. Plus, who doesn’t like free music? From outdoor events in a local park to creating an awesome lineup at a local coffee shop, you can really share a lot about your business with the use of promotional items. From the standard beverage sleeve to custom paper wristbands, you can really take this opportunity to make your brand name as visible as possible. Stick to a consistent color story and ensure your logo and messaging is clear and to the point. Many companies like TabBand, offer affordable custom printing on Tyvek wristbands in 9 different colors.

When people receive free items and enjoy themselves all at the same time, it’ll foster a positive feeling whenever they see your brand in the future. Take further advantage and offer them a discount code if they post on social media with any of the promotional items like the exclusive security armband or that fun Koozie!

3. Host an Event To Benefit a Local Charity

Another great event idea for your small business is to host a special event benefiting a local charity in the community. This is an effective way to insert yourself into a localized niche while also making a positive impact. It is very important to remain authentic and genuinely have a passion for the charity of your choosing. Luckily, there’s no real shortage of great groups of people dedicated to improving many facets of life for others, so finding a charity whose ideals align with those of your business should be rather easy! Not only will you make crucial connections, but you’ll be regarded as a business dedicated to the community you’re located in, which can be invaluable as your business grows.

Some charity event ideas include:

• Raffles, giveaways and silent auctions that include your products and services
• Golf tournaments
• Marathons or walkathons
• Bowling leagues
• Fashion shows
• Wine tastings
• Galas

With just one charity event, you’ll make an impact by providing a sizable donation, building a positive reputation and generating positive media recognition!

Before taking on the responsibility of an entire event, you can also initially establish a relationship with your desired charity by making a direct donation from your small business. From animal shelters to children’s summer camps, you can raise awareness either by making a monetary donation or providing supplies. Does your local dog shelter need a new bathing station for its pups? Sponsoring the purchase is a great way to generate buzz in the form of online press releases and even local news coverage. The charity may be more than willing to include your business logo on some of its own press materials or website!

Planning a local event can really bolster the visibility of your small business, and it’s probably not as hard as you think! However, make the most out of your event by establishing one cohesive theme and really sticking with it through your storytelling and your promotional materials before and during the event, and by choosing activities throughout that align with your brand. Customization is key to really separate yourself from the competition and make a lasting impression!

Mike Ferring
Mike Ferring

M Ferring owns Ampro Group LLC.