Monday, April 10, 2017

Improve Your Business Reputation with the Chamber of Commerce

The chamber of commerce is often seen as a Better Business Bureau of sorts. People have confidence in using businesses that are members of the chamber. Chamber membership equates to business respectability in many customers’ minds, which often means greater sales for business members.

Many people see chamber membership as a ringing endorsement of good business. While we don’t advertise that chamber members have better business practices than non-members businesses, a chamber membership does show interest in the local business community and for many, that equals a business endorsement.
But we’re not the only ones who think chamber membership makes for good business.

The Schapiro Group Study and Why It Should Make a Difference to You

A national study of over 2,000 adults conducted by the Schapiro Group showed that being active in a local chamber of commerce pays off if your goal is more customers. That’s because two-thirds of those surveyed believed that chamber members use good business practices, care about customers, and are involved in the community.
While some people may wonder if a study that was conducted back in 2012 still applies today, all you need to do is consider that people do business with organizations they know, like, and trust. Using good business practices, caring about customers, and being known as involved in the community sure sounds like the beginning of “know, like, and trust” principles. 
The study also found that when consumers knew that a business was a chamber member they were 49% more likely to think favorably of it and 80% more likely to purchase goods or services from the business in the future.
People see a correlation between community involvement and being a good company with worthwhile products. Consumers in the study were 10% more likely to think a business’ products were better than the competition if the business was a chamber member. The study also revealed that for national restaurant franchises that are chamber members, people are 36% more likely to look favorably on that franchise.
The researchers said, “any belief about the chamber of commerce—whether that belief was true or not—could have a significant positive impact on how someone views a member… he or she is more likely to think that the [member] company’s products stack up well and have a favorable opinion toward the company.”

Why Does Chamber Membership Make Your Business More Appealing to Customers?

These results aren’t surprising to chambers but they might be to the rest of the community. Even though they shouldn’t be. Here’s why:

You Care

Community involvement is important to people who are shopping in town at local businesses. Joining the chamber is seen as being civic-minded even if the business is not all that involved. Having a membership is proof to many people that this is a business that plans to stay in this community and contribute to it. It has roots and a stake in how things turn out.

You’re Endorsed

While the chamber doesn’t endorse its members or rate them like a Better Business Bureau or Angie’s List might do, many people still see that as part of the chamber’s job. Since most chambers vote their members in, people assume there’s a vetting. Even if there isn’t a formal review process, the trust people have in the chamber is transferred to its members as well.

You’re Investing in the Community

No one is forced to join the chamber and membership isn’t free. If you join the chamber you are investing in the economic health of the area and you want to take a leadership role in the business community. People like to support businesses with a cause, so if you invest in your business through chamber membership, people are more likely to see you as being a part of something larger than yourself. The bonus is that it’s also good for your business as you’re doing good for the community.
Establishing know, like, and trust is essential to business these days. All of those take time to do. You’re fortunate if you have an established business and have had the time to do that in your community. If not, a chamber membership is a great way to have a respected business leader “vouch” for you as people generally transfer our reputation in business to our members, even if not in an official capacity.

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,, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.

Why Join The Heart of Wisconsin Chamber Of Commerce

Monday, March 13, 2017

8 Ways to Get Noticed on Social Media Today

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / iqoncept

There's a lot of noise on the social media channels and getting noticed can seem a task akin to pushing a large bolder up an icy slope in gale-force winds blowing down off of the mountain. But it's not as hard as you think. Here are several tips to help you get your business noticed today.

Post the Easy Shares

There are certain types of posts that a large number of people respond to. These include:
  • Funny posts
  • Statistic or data posts (if it's from your business, even better)
  • Inspirational quotes
  • Dramatic images
These sorts of posts are easy because not only are they popular with most audiences, you're not creating them, merely curating them. A quick search will land you several. You can auto-schedule them for times throughout your week.

 Use Images

This is easy if your business is a restaurant but if it doesn't lend itself to images, you can still be creative. Use pictures of your community, the weather, your team, your pet… just give people something to look at.

Ask Questions

Social media shouldn't be your business shouting into a bullhorn at other people. You want to create an environment in your social media profiles that is conducive to conversation.
To do this effectively, apply what you know about starting conversations in the non-virtual world? Begin by asking questions.

Use Hashtags

Hashtags help people find conversations and topics they're interested in. Use hashtags for your industry, business, town or whatever applies to your posts.
If you notice a hashtag is trending on one of the social media platforms use it but be respectful of your audience. Make sure your share is related to the hashtag. People don't enjoy a hasthtag hijacker who uses a trending topic on a post that is completely unrelated.

Think Mobile

If you're sharing something, make sure it can be viewed on a mobile phone. Mobile is becoming the way to access social media and the Internet. Don't tease your audience by sharing something they can't see.

Remember It's About Them, Not You

A good conversationalist does not make it all about him/her but creates a dialogue instead. A great conversationalist learns quickly the interests of the person he/she is speaking and turns the conversation to those. A safe topic is the other person since most people find themselves incredibly interesting. The same is true of good social media practices. The conversation needs to be about your audience 80% of the time. You can occasionally (20% of the time) mention something about your business directly.

Give Them Reason to Follow

The key to getting more shares is getting more followers. If they don't see your content, they can't share it. Most people follow brands and businesses for discounts or coupons. Keep this in mind and offer discounts to your followers or give them information before anyone else sees it, this could be a product preview or access to early buying opportunities.

Use Evocative Headlines and Teases

Imagine you ran a pool company and you wanted people to click on your URL in your social media post. The best way to do this is to use a teaser or appeal to the audience’s natural curiosity. Like this:

"Doctors say if you have this condition, swimming is the best form of exercise for you."

Your audience will wonder, What condition? Do I have it? Maybe I need to swim more.


Present the reader with a problem, allude to the fact that the clicking on the URL will tell them how to solve it, and then sit back and watch the interest grow.
To improve your social media reach for your business, remember social media is no different than how you build a relationship offline. You want to be a good conversationalist. Talk about something other than yourself; involve the person you're speaking with, have a dialogue, not a monologue; and don't dominate the conversation. Social media takes work, just like building an offline relationship, but a consistent presence and caring attitude will take you and your business far.

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,, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at and MemberclicksShe’s just your average bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.

Monday, February 27, 2017

5 Ways the Chamber Can Help Make You a Better Networker

Networking opportunities are everywhere. You no longer must leave your house to be able to network, but studies now show that online networking doesn’t hold the same power as in-person networking. Networking is critical to landing a job, learning about opportunities before they are broadcast, and getting more sales for your business.

You need to do it, even if you hate it, and one of the easiest most effective networking groups is the chamber. But the chamber does more than just introduce you to others. It offers very strong networking tools and opportunities. Here are several things you probably didn’t know about how you can improve your business networking with chamber membership. 

5 Ways You’ll Improve Your Networking Skills with a Chamber Membership

According to HubSpot, 85% of people “say they build stronger, more meaningful business relationships during in-person business meetings and conferences.” Chambers facilitate this on a weekly basis in some form or fashion, but there are a host of other ways they can help you improve your networking. Here are 5 ways the chamber can make you a better networker that you might not have thought of.

1.             In Person Events

The chamber offers a host of in-person events from formal networking events to informal member mixers. There are even opportunities to sponsor events and showcase your business location.

2.             Networking Assistance

If you’re like most people, you’re not a natural networker. It’s something you do because you know it’s necessary, but not something you enjoy. The chamber is rich with experience and advice on how to improve your networking skills. Check to see about networking courses or training. Also, don’t be shy to admit to the chamber staff that you’re struggling with networking. They can easily keep an eye out for you and help introduce you to the people who can make a difference in your business. You don’t get this kind of service from an online group.  

3.             Leads and Mastermind Groups

Some chambers offer leads groups where business professionals from the community bring leads for one another and help the members grow their businesses. These groups are often more targeted than the open networking events for the entire chamber membership. Getting to know a select group of business associates in your industry or a complimentary one, can help your business take off.

4.             Thought Leadership Opportunities

Many chambers offer members the opportunity to share their knowledge in the form of educational sessions. This can position you as a thought leader in your industry and helps with networking after the event. People will naturally want to discuss the materials you presented.

5.             In Sight, On the Mind

Most people are extremely busy these days, particularly business owners. While social media can be a very effective tool for keeping in touch, it’s too easy to miss people’s posts there. At an in-person event, on the other hand, you come face-to-face with someone and they’re immediately on your mind again.
When you’re an established acquaintance and people know, like, and trust you, they are more likely to buy from you and refer you to others. Plus when they know you (from having met you in person), your social media posts will be more meaningful to them.

A Final Word About How the Chamber Can Make You a Better Networker

Networking is painful for most of us but having an organization that specializes in it can help you get the training and assistance you need to get more customers and grow your tribe. Chamber membership is a pretty small price to pay for that.

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,, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.

Upcoming Chamber Events

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Tuesday, March 14, 2017