Guest post on Social Media Ambassadors by Membership180 founders, Jay Handler and Annette Medlin.
When Membership180 partners with a Chamber of Commerce on a Membership Campaign, there is a LOT of work that goes into preparing for those 3 days.
Besides getting to know everything we can about the Chamber…from its history to the demographics of its members and the community at large…from the staff to the Board and everything in between…we want to ensure that the STORIES of the Chamber are being told far and wide.
One of the very first things we do once we arrive in a new city is to establish a new “Social Media Ambassador Team” for the Chamber.
Social Media Ambassadors Share the Chamber’s Story
You see, we know that it will be FAR easier to recruit new members when they’ve heard all the great things coming out of the organization over and over again.
It’s what we call the “Velvet Rope Theory” of membership.
If you drive by a new nightclub in town that you’ve never heard of before, you might just drive right on by.
BUT…if you’d heard the “cool girls” at the gym talking about that same club…if there were a velvet rope and a bouncer and a long line of people waiting to get inside…you’re far more likely to be curious enough to stop the car and find out what all the buzz is about.
There are a couple of very important factors to remember:
- Chambers of Commerce are NOTORIOUSLY bad at telling our stories.
- We tend to forget the 80/20 Rule and spend most of our time talking about things that only 8-12% of our members really care about.
- Most of us are guilty of “preaching to the choir” and some even lock the doors to prevent anyone BUT the “choir” from hearing the message.
That’s where our Social Media Ambassadors come in, and why YOU should consider starting a similar group within YOUR organization.
We need to create a buzz…a Velvet Rope around the Chamber.
Where you might have trouble taking credit for the latest big project the Chamber worked so hard on, these “outsiders” have no such hang-ups.
In fact, Social Media insists upon transparency…something many in your town might not feel they get from Chamber staff who are paid to say what they say.
Social Media Ambassadors
While we might get stuck in the rut of promoting our networking events and ribbon-cuttings EVERY…SINGLE…DAY, having a group of third-party advocates who are waiting to push out the REAL work of the Chamber on our behalf will help us to remember to TELL those stories.
And, by adding voices to the delivery of our messages, we are increasing our footprint and speaking with a much louder voice to a larger audience.
Yes, we believe it is VITAL to the success of any Chamber that those stories get spread throughout the communities they serve.
And, whether you follow our lead and use an outside team of volunteers to help or you keep it in-house completely, spreading the word about what your organization does as the “voice of business” in your community is important to your sustainability.
Find ways to communicate to more people within your service area. Open your Facebook Fan Pages to everyone in your community and foster discussion with businesses whether they belong to the Chamber or not.
Identify and incorporate “loud talkers” in your area to help spread the word.
Put up the velvet rope and make everyone wonder “What’s going on at the Chamber these days? I hear about them ALL THE TIME!”
Do that…create that…and watch your membership grow!
What’s your take. Do chambers need to tell their stories better?
Jay Handler. As a sought-after speaker, trainer, and consultant, Jay’s diverse client list includes small business, corporate brands, associations, chambers of commerce and non-profits. His clients have included Comcast Business Class, the National Kitchen and Bath Association, South Carolina SAE, Carolinas CCE, Minnesota CCE, local Chambers across the country and internationally at the Engage Mexico Social Media Conference. Additionally, Jay is in his second year as a faculty member for the US Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management. Aside from M180s core business of Recruit, Engage and Retain, Jay offers training to clients from his career background of sales, marketing and social media. Google+
Annette Medlin. Annette has been in non-profit management for over 25 years; the last eight years as a chamber Executive. She has held leadership roles in industry professional organizations including the Carolina’s Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and with the US Chamber Institute for Organization Management as a student, a class advisor, a member of the Board of Regents and this coming summer as faculty. Annette has recently been added to the team of the Women Speakers Association, promoting the voice of women in 120 countries on 6 continents. In addition to M180s core focus of Recruit, Engage and Retain, Annette brings training to clients in the areas board development, strategic planning, executive coaching, risk management, women and community, leadership and diversity.
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