Lucky you. You are now in control of the chamber’s voice and have one of the biggest opportunities to make an impression on your larger community. The chamber social media job comes with great responsibility and whether it’s a new one or one you’re expanding, there are a few things you need to figure out and implement.
Strategy First in Your Chamber Social Media Job
It bothers some people to talk about social media strategy since it’s all supposed to be about building relationships and it is.
If you’re performing social media for business you need to think about strategy too.
Whether you’re taking over the social media job at the chamber or you’re doing social media for the first time, here are some questions you need to look into or use as a beginning point for strategy.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
Before you do anything on social media, you should be very clear about who you are “talking” to. If you don’t have one already, write up a brief ideal member description. What kind of business do they belong to? How old are they? Note details about them and their business. Here is a Member Personas webinar from Cathi Hight.
Now, consider whether you should expand the concept of your ideal member. Should you expand it to also include an ideal Millennial member? If so, the way you speak to them (as far as what events and offerings are of interest) and the platforms they use, will be different than if you are targeting an older demographic. You may decide you want to be doing both, and probably should be.
Are You on the Right Platforms?
The previous question got you thinking about your ideal member. Now you should think about them in reference to the social media platforms the chamber is (or soon will be) using. If your chamber members are mostly over 50 and you have no interest in recruiting younger people, Snapchat is not the place for you.
If you’re already participating on social media, take a look at the platforms you’re on. Do they fit your ideal demographic? Are there others you should be on?
What’s Your Posting Frequency?
You want people to become of aware of you and get to know you. That will never happen if your posting is inconsistent/sporadic.
You want people to see the chamber on social media as a resource. That’s going to mean committing to a consistent publishing schedule. You can make your life a little easier by using an auto scheduler such as HootSuite, Buffer, Tweetdeck, SocialOomph, and Zoho Social. If you have a little money in the budget consider Agora Pulse, Edgar, or BuzzSumo.
However, engagement needs to occur in real time.
Are You Posting Things People Care About?
This is one of the most important questions you can ask every day in your chamber social media job. You don’t receive bonus points simply for putting stuff out there. You want it to be relevant to people’s needs, the kind of people who belong to and you want to join the chamber. For instance, writing an incredibly well-researched, historically accurate account of the first person to eat a papaya is not a good article on social media unless it inspires, educates, or entertains your audience.
If they couldn’t care less about that papaya, you’ve wasted a lot of time creating content and sharing it, regardless of the merits of the actual article, your writing style, etc. On the other hand, if you are in the papaya capital of the world, your post will likely receive a lot of shares.
It doesn’t always have to be business either. You can post things that people care about for fun and to help increase your engagement.
Do You Have a Consistent Voice?
Ideally, you would have a consistent voice on social media. You would shoot for remarks like, “that sounds like the chamber.” That is not to say you should be stuffy or overly formal. Quite the opposite. Let your personality shine through. Remain positive in your messaging. Look for opportunities to lift people up in your community.
Are You Working Towards Becoming a Resource?
No matter how hard chambers work, there are still many people in the community who simply don’t know what you do. Or rather, they may know you’re an advocate for business but they don’t know where funding comes from or whether you’re a government entity, etc. That’s okay.
But what you do want them to be clear on is that you are a resource for the community. That’s why it’s important to do more than toot your own horn. You want to share uplifting things about your area, the people who make it a wonderful place to live, the new businesses moving in, and other celebrations.
You also want to share things that can be of dire importance, like serving to connect those businesses in need, especially during a time of natural disasters. With every post you choose to do, you should be thinking about how this will position the chamber in the community. Ask:
- Is this helpful?
- Who are we connecting?
- How does this help us meet our mission?
Are You Posting at the Right Time?
There will never be a magic answer to this question. You will arrive at the answer by trial and error. If you are posting the right content on the right platforms consistently, then the next thing you’ll want to perfect is the timing of delivery. Some chambers are very successful and reach many people by posting on off-business hours for some of their posts. Social media traffic is less and people can give you more attention than the fire hose of information on the sites during the day.
Experiment with the same kinds of posts at different times of day as well as different days, until you figure out the best times to reach your audience.
Are You Thinking About the Member Journey?
Okay, we’re going to talk about marketing for a second. If you have the chamber social media job, you may have a background in it or maybe not. Either way, here’s some great advice to always consider. Members and potential members go through stages. First, someone who just moved into town and is only beginning to familiarize themselves with your chamber is going to look for very different content than your existing members. And your new members are looking for different kinds of posts than members who have been with you for fifty years.
At the same time, some content all members and potential members will enjoy. For instance, a beautiful sunset appeals to members, nonmembers, newbies, and veterans.
You need to post content that is personalized to different types of people and the stage of their journey in getting to know who you are. Keep a posting calendar as well as which group it appeals to. That way you’ll know if you’re leaving someone out.
Are You Thinking About Business and Tying Posts into Conversions?
Posting good content and resources can make you part of someone’s internet habit but if that’s all you’re doing, you’re missing out on the business return on social media. With social you want to give, give, and give good advice, content, and resources, paying close attention to what your audience wants and needs. But you must do more.
There are several ways you can do this but the most important thing to do when it comes to potential members is to secure permission to communicate with them outside of the social media platform you are using. Facebook is nice but it’s only worthwhile when your potential members are there. Same for the other platforms.
If, however, you are able to secure their email addresses, you can reach them at all times even if they give up a particular platform.
How do you reach them?
The easiest way is to offer something they want. This could be a cheat sheet for starting a business in your community. It could be an infographic created by a member partner detailing changes to tax laws for the year. It could also be a white paper on how to improve your grant writing. Think about your potential members and what they need to improve their business. Then create content that would help them do this. Give it a sexy title and let them have it for free in exchange for their email address.
After they agree to give you their email address, request permission to occasionally send them a newsletter or business how-tos. Make this communication worth their while. Give them specifics about the type of information you’ll be sending so they can see the value in it right away. If you tell them you’d like to send them your newsletter every week, that may just sound like another piece of junk. However, if you tell them you’d like to send them your chamber newsletter that contains secret discounts, first-heard news about the community, and helpful marketing tips for local business, they will be more eager to read it.
Once they give you permission to contact them, send them a welcome email and a copy of some free content you think they’ll enjoy.
Continue building this relationship so they can see the value behind what you do for the community and what you can help them with when it comes to their business.
In conclusion, cute and funny posts aren’t enough when it comes to being successful in your chamber social media job. While offering content your audience loves is the first step, you’re ultimately looking for ways to continue the relationship.
Remember, you have different segments of your audience that need different things from you. Think about each of these demographics and how you can provide what they need in a means they’ll respond to. Then find ways to stay in contact with them as they weigh the benefits of becoming chamber members.
This article is part of our “Now What?” series, designed to help new members, new chamber staff and new board members get up and running to be an effective part of your chamber of commerce as quickly as possible.
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I’m in Charge of the Chamber Social Media Job. Now What?
I’m in Charge of Chamber Events. Now What?
I’m in Charge of Chamber Membership Development. Now What?
Our Chamber Started a Young Professionals Group. Now What?