Some people think a chamber membership is all about networking and because of that they see it as obsolete. After all, you can just meet other business people online, right? Search on Facebook and a number of business groups will come up, many geared to a certain profession or business size.
Some of these groups are private so you have to apply to get in. A few even require you to answer questions and promise to play nicely with others. Upon acceptance, you can spend all day chatting it up with other like-minded business owners (for free!).
No need to join the chamber, right?
Saying that joining a Facebook group for business replaces the need for a chamber membership is like placing a nickel in your piggy bank and claiming to have a retirement account. Sure, the two are kind of similar but you’ll never get the same amount of return from that group as you will from a chamber membership. Here’s why.
With a chamber membership you get the following things you won’t get from a Facebook group:
1. A Connection with the Community and a Marketable Designation
The chamber is a well-respected community organization. Many people see it as similar to the Better Business Bureau. Your membership plaque or window cling tells customers that you are intending to be part of the community for a long time. Being a member of an online group is not a reputation builder.
2. Knowledgeable Help
With an online Facebook group, someone will ask a question, others will give their advice. This can be a wonderful experiment in crowd-sourced learning. However, it can also have its downside. While the group administrator may have asked a few questions when someone entered, most groups do not vet members. Anyone can offer advice, skilled/experienced or not. It’s difficult to tell the good from the bad.
Facebook also allows frequent contributors in the group to receive a designation next to their names. Be aware this just means they answer questions often. This does not indicate expertise of any kind just a willingness to jump into conversations and post.
3. Hands-on Learning Opportunities
The chamber offers hands-on learning opportunities as well as lunch and learns. For many people, it’s hard to learn by being told what to do. But seeing it or working on it on their own through the instruction of others, can help improve the learning experience. That’s why some chambers have created learning opportunities that include things like social media help and in-person website attention. Check with your local chamber to find out what sort of learning sessions it offers.
With Facebook groups, there’s a limit to the amount of information must people are willing to share. In depth learning will likely occur elsewhere.
4. Ribbon Cuttings
When you open a new location for your business, hit a milestone anniversary or some other accomplishment, your Facebook group might send you some emoji balloons but the chamber will be there with a social media mention, perhaps an article, help on a press release, and/or a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate your time in business.
Your Facebook group may be exceptionally supportive and you may even feel like you have a group of online friends, but it’s likely that as supportive as these friends are, they are not lobbying on behalf of your community and business on a local, state, and national level. Your chamber is. Many businesses forget this valuable part of chamber work. While most businesses can’t afford their own lobbyist, they can afford chamber membership.
I’ve known a lot of people to get “burned” by something they shared on social media. If you need help on a delicate matter within your business, it’s likely you don’t want to splash it across a public forum, even if that forum is a “private group.” If you’re dealing with something sensitive and you need advice on next steps (like in the case of a termination, business bankruptcy or going-out-of-business situation) you don’t want to share that with the world. At the chamber, you can get the help you need or a reference to someone who can assist you without sharing it with the world. Chambers handle delicate situations all the time and they do so with discretion.
There’s nothing wrong with joining Facebook groups. They can be extremely helpful in hearing advice from people who may have gone through similar situations. But these memberships will never cover everything your chamber can do for your business. Still, there’s no reason to choose between one or the other. When it comes to business growth, multiple tools and investments are required, and chamber membership is an excellent one.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Writer’s Weekly. Used with permission from Frank Kenny as we purchase this service for our Chamber Nation customers.
We purchase communication guidance from Frank Kenny so Chamber Nation can provide valuable content to our Chamber Nation customers. Here is another important tool for you.
Here is a must do for you. Download the recently released 2018 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report from Marketing General. It's their 10th annual report with lots of trends, data, and insights about membership organizations. You will find it super valuable. It's 79 pages and free.
You will discover things like...
One recruitment channel that has seen recent growth in reported effectiveness is paid digital marketing. ...digital channel was almost invisible in our research until 2015.
Associations with increases in their one-year membership and five-year membership numbers are significantly more likely to have a higher percentage of millennial members.
In looking back over data from the last ten years, it is significant to note that the 2018 key membership statistics mirror the resiliency that associations have reported over this period, perhaps challenging those who have prophesied the imminent demise of the association membership model.
When it comes to fulfilling new memberships, for 2018, only 44% of associations report sending a mailed welcome kit to onboard new members. This is down from 51% in 2017and significantly down from 83% ten years ago in 2009.
In our 2010 research, only 22% of associations reported offering automatic annual credit card renewals. This payment method has expanded over the years. Automatic annual credit card renewals are especially popular among IMOs, with 45% making this option available.
When asked the engagement opportunities that associations report as increasing over the past year, over half of individual membership associations report increases in participation in the following areas: in their public social media (73%), in a private social network (59%), in their young professional program (54%), and in attendance of their webinars (52%).
Here are the sections:
Your business will never bring in enough revenue if people don't know about you. Most businesses don't fail because their service or product is inferior to everything else on the market. They fail because no one knows about them or they don't differentiate themselves from the competition.
But it doesn't matter how good your offerings are or how loved they could be. If people don't know about them, your business will never succeed.
Some businesses think that social media has replaced advertising.
It hasn't replaced it but it has changed it. People don't want clever taglines anymore.
But you still need to get their attention.
If you don't have the budget for Super Bowl ads (or any other major media presentation), then you'll like these budget-friendly ideas.
Social Media Paid Ads
In the beginning of social media, businesses could post and get seen. No longer. These days without engagement, only a fraction of your audience will see your posts. Even when they chose to follow you!
As dismaying as this may seem, social media paid advertising is one of the least expensive forms of advertising out there. It's not as cheap as it once was but it does have some very good targeting options that can help ensure you will reach people who are most likely in the market for your services or products.
Ever notice that item you were just checking on Amazon appears all over the Internet afterward? That's not some sort of sign. That's remarketing or retargeting. It allows you to present paid ads to people who have already shown an interest in your site. Those are the folks who are at least remotely interested in what you have to offer. Since purchases are an emotional buy, "following" people until they make an emotional decision often benefits you.
While you're considering this avenue, don't forget about Facebook's pixel that can present targeted information to people who have visited your website in the past.
Websites with banner ads often are inexpensive from an advertising perspective. Look for industry experts with websites or online personal pages (like blogs or private online communities) where your ideal demographic hangs out. If they have ads on their site, ask them about their ad policy. They may also have newsletter ad opportunities or may accept advertorials/sponsored content. While the latter falls more under marketing, it can be very valuable in reaching your ideal audience.
Ask for details about the website's demographics and click-throughs and what you get for your advertising money.
Finally, it's important to understand that hard sells aren't appreciated by anyone. Clever slogans may get noticed in Super Bowl ads and commercial awards shows but your customers are looking for sources that will help them know, like, and trust the person they're buying from. You need your advertising to be focused on helping and not disrupting your audience. You do this by answering questions and solving problems that they care about.
GDPR Summary for Association Executives
The General Data Protection Regulation is a law intended to strengthen the right to data protection of individuals in the European Union. The regulation takes effect on May 25, 2018, and applies to all companies and other organizations established anywhere in the world that offer good and services to people in the EU or collect and analyze personal date of EU residents.
The people whose personal data you collect, use, or process in any way are referred to in the GDPR as Data Subjects. This new complex set of rules aims to allow data subjects full control over their personal data, by imposing strict obligations which organizations that process their data will need to comply.
Breach of those obligations may incur a fine of up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 million (whichever is greater).
In brief, here are some of the main elements to consider for achieving compliance with the GDPR.
HERE IS THE LINK! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uxw9NIafksw#action=share
Kilby, Dave via calchamber.onmicrosoft.com
December 4, 2017
TO: SCACCE Members
FROM: Patrick Ellis, 2017 SCACCE Board Members
Dear Chamber Member,
On behalf of the SCACCE Board of Directors I am writing this letter to inform you of the action that the Board has taken regarding the future of SCACCE. During this year, the SCACCE Board has met and discussed at length the future of the organization, due to continued declining membership. This led us to the decision to approach W.A.C.E. with a strategic plan. That being, W.A.C.E. would take over the responsibilities of running workshops in Southern California, including the Leadership Team workshop, and SCACCE would dissolve, therefore transferring all remaining funds to the W.A.C.E. Educational Foundation.
This was not an easy decision, but one that we as a united Board believe needed to take place. We ask for your support and appreciate your feedback. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to reach out myself, Dave Kilby, Jeremy Harris or Theresa Harvey (contacts below). We need to hear from you by December 18, 2017, as the decision was made to dissolve effective December 31, 2017.
Regarding the SCACCE scholarships for WACE Conference 2018, we are honoring those for this year and they will be announced within the next couple weeks.
Thank you for your understanding in this decision. We look forward to hearing from you and to working with W.A.C.E. to provided relevant and timely workshops for the Southern California Chambers of Commerce.
Patrick Ellis – firstname.lastname@example.org – 951-677-7916
Dave Kilby – email@example.com – 916-930-1202
Jeremy Harris – firstname.lastname@example.org – 562-983-1241
Theresa Harvey – email@example.com – 714-871-3100
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