Chambers of Commerce have long been providing support to local businesses. Their support is one of their greatest “value-adds” and one of the biggest reasons local businesses become members. (Plus the fact that it is generally considered good business practice to be a chamber member.)
After an intensive exploration of local businesses and their use of digital and social technology, it appears as if the digital age has snuck up on small businesses, and now the prospect of getting into the game is so overwhelming that they don’t even try. I’m inclined to think that now is the time for Chambers to take on more of a leadership role. (Free eBook: #ChamberFail – A Case For Making the Shift to Digital)
Lead by Example
- Do you have a website for your business, and is it mobile-friendly?
- Are you, personally, using social media as a consumer1?
- Have you set up accounts for your business on social channels, and are you using them to engage2 with constituents, customers, and the community?
Provide an Entrance
As new members join the chamber, information about their digital assets should be collected, shared with other members, and displayed (as hyperlinks?) on the online Member Directory. The chamber can then use the member database to organize the town’s “Digital Neighborhood.”3
Joining the Digital Neighborhood would be part of member orientation. The chamber could also offer occasional workshops and user tips on the best ways to benefit from the Digital Neighborhood that is maintained by the chamber.
Model Best Practices
Member support is what a business owner expects when they join their local chamber of commerce. These days, that support should include online engagement2 by the chamber. This requires a process for monitoring online conversations initiated by members, and contributing in a way that advances their messages.
Ribbon cuttings are a prominent feature and benefit offered my most chambers of commerce. They’re also a perfect opportunity for creating rich and relevant content, perfect for sharing on digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Community events are often promoted if not sponsored by the town chamber. These events deserve a digital strategy for creating visibility, rallying volunteers, and reporting the highlights after the event. Using social media channels that are connected with the Digital Neighborhood, shareable content4 will reach a targeted audience that can appreciate it and can potentially respond by becoming involved.
To learn more, subscribe to my blog where I am documenting my findings and ideas related to Bringing your LOCAL appeal to your ONLINE presence™.
1 By using social media as a consumer, you’ll gain invaluable insights for relating to consumers when using social media for your business.
2 Engaging requires “listening” to, commenting on, interacting with, and sharing other’s posts.
3 Local Heart of Digital Neighborhoods
4 Advertisements or posts that include nothing more than “Check this out” are not likely to be shared. Rather, create posts that are informative, entertaining, educational, and/or include a clear call to action.