12 Most Worthy Ways Chambers Provide Value Through Social Media
Are you a small business owner or executive? If so, I bet you are either a member of your local chamber or have considered joining. You may have asked yourself if your chamber offers you benefits that are keeping up with technology.
Here are 12 benefits you should be receiving if you are active in your local social media savvy chamber of commerce.
Disclaimer: Some of these benefits are widely available today. Others will be offered by your chamber tomorrow.
1. Building relationships
When you join a chamber you are sure to be invited to the business breakfasts, luncheons, and dinners. The value of face-to-face networking opportunities is priceless. But so are the online relationships that the chamber facilitates for you through social media. Your social media savvy chamber is the communications hub of your community. Your visibility in the community and the quality and quantity of your local relationships should increase dramatically from the chamber’s social media activities.
2. Member marketing
Who in your community doesn’t do business with at least one chamber member? Between the grocery stores, hardware stores, banks, credit unions, plumbers and non-profits, everyone in a community has a relationship with at least one member. Your chamber should use this reach into the community to promote your business far and wide. Stay top of mind with the chamber staff by re-sharing their posts and the posts of fellow members. The reality of life is that you must first give to get. Take a proactive approach of using social media to benefit your fellow members and they will reciprocate.
3. Learning center
Need some social media and technology training? Your chamber should be a prime resource, helping you to take advantage of the social media revolution. Attend their classes on SEO, social media, and Internet marketing. These classes should be both live and in-person and through webinars and recorded video. They should fit your schedule rather than you accommodating theirs. If you would prefer to learn about the chamber’s social media solutions for your business, you should be able to view the webinar recording on Sunday night after the kids are put to bed.
4. Digital solution center
Are all the technological and marketing changes leaving you confused or anxious? Your chamber of commerce should act as a digital resource for you. Need reputation management or help with online reviews and comments? Your chamber can help with that. Need to implement a text messaging campaign. The chamber has a partner. Need a YouTube video created, edited, and uploaded? Call the chamber and they can help get that done for you.
5. SEO benefits
Your membership in the chamber should provide you at least one inbound link to your website or blog. Really, through the chamber’s Pinterest Boards, Tweets, Facebook posts, and other stories you should regularly benefit from additional inbound links that drive traffic to your website and help you rank higher in search.
6. Strengthening the local economy
Chambers are all about growing the local economy by promoting shop local and other strategies. They should be using social media to spread the word about the value of doing business in your area and with you specifically. These shop local promotions or cash mob campaigns should be a regular feature of your social media savvy chamber. Your chamber should be a constant source of reminders and data on the value keeping money circulating in the local economy.
7. Promoting the community
Visitors and locals have turned to the chamber for information for decades. The chamber’s website, blog, and social media platforms should be a key resource for people that are looking for local and regional information. The website should contain a member directory that you can update with your social media profiles, hours of operation, a map, and other information.
Your chamber should be in your corner when it comes to advocating for small business friendly policies. They should also be there for you when you need to work with a department or agency to obtain a permit or fix an issue. If necessary, they should be ready to use their reach and relationships established through social media to publicly advocate for you and your businesses’ needs. Having the chamber on your side, especially if they have thousands of members and fans, puts you in a much more powerful position over standing alone.
9. Event promotion
Your chamber is probably already promoting their events through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. They should be actively promoting your events and news too. Working together as the small business community, the chamber and its membership should use their immense reach to promote your events through all of their appropriate social media channels. If the chamber has done a good job of educating the members on social media, the members will be proactive on cross-promoting each others events and news.
10. Affiliate marketing
With today’s technology it is easy to set up affiliate marketing accounts. Many people already do this through Amazon and other sites. Chambers should be creating affiliate cross promotional relationships for the members. Working together, the members should be earning commissions for helping to sell and promote other members products and services. The chamber should act as the hub of this activity.
11. Group buying
For a long time, Chambers have negotiated discounts and specials for their members to enjoy when they are in need of office supplies, insurance, or business travel. You should be able to go to your chamber’s website for a list of the group discounts you are entitled to as a member. If you wish to offer a discount to all the members or your chamber, or chamber members in general, your chamber should be able to facilitate and promote that.
12. Working together
One piece of string is easily broken. Many pieces of string wrapped into a rope is much stronger. By working synergistically through the chamber, the small business community and individual firms are made much stronger. It is easier than ever to work together today because of the Internet, social media, and the power of the Tribe, as Seth Godin has written about. In the age of social media, small business owners and executives should consider themselves to be part of an ecosystem working to lift all boats. The social media savvy chamber is the coordinator of this activity.
As an entrepreneur or executive I hope you do explore the benefits of a membership in your local chamber of commerce. Hopefully, yours is a technology progressive organization that is using social media and the other tools of the modern communications and marketing age to the benefit of their members.
If you are already a member, or have looked into your local chamber’s benefits, what have you found, social media and otherwise?
Featured image courtesy of Creative Commons.