Rural Nevada County in Northern California

Unless They Are Integrated Into the Business Plan

A few days ago I attended a town hall meeting  in my rural community hosted by the local Chamber of Commerce. The purpose was to get feedback from local businesses so that the chamber can formulate a strategic plan. It was a ‘gather-the-information’ type of meeting.  I am not a member of the local chamber and I must confess that I am not involved with our local business community as much as I would like to. Mainly because my own business (Hware) has more of an e-commerce focus and I live/work about 30 minutes from the downtown business area.  However, I happened to be in town before the meeting and the topic was of particular interest to me, so I stopped by and joined the two hour session.  It was a room filled to capacity with many concerned small business owners.

Social Media is One Piece of a Marketing Model

Frankly, I don’t know much about the folks running the chamber or the board of directors, but I do know this. Business as we have come to know it has CHANGED! Technology has always led the way in changing the way we do business. The personal computer revolutionized our business world as did the internet. The current technology revolution is social media. Social media tools are mostly FREE today. There is however, speculation that FREE may no longer be. What is key to the success of the chamber, among many other things, is a social media plan that is cohesively tied to the chamber’s business plan and integrated into their strategic plan. Strategic planning is extremely useful for long-term goals, however the problem with most strategic plans is that once they are done, they tend to get shelved and rarely referenced. That is why it is critical to integrate a strategic plan into a business plan and then show details how the marketing model, revenue model, operations model, etc., supports those plans. Social media falls under the category of marketing. The chamber is the voice of the local business community. It is there to serve the local business community and it should do so with the use of the latest and most cost effective technology tools.

A Basic Social Media Plan For the Chamber Should Include the Following:

  • A blog, which is the hub of an online presence
  • Put out a blog post a minimum of once  a week
  • Presence on major social networking platforms, i.e., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
  • Allow for members to comment and post on those platforms
  • Create a membership site for forums and discussions
  • Have an intermediate level of understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for internet marketing
  • Allow for members to post videos about their business on Chamber website and Chamber social networking platforms
  • Weekly vlog (video blogging)
  • Ongoing education and training for members on how to use the latest technology tools
  • Annual Business Technology Conference for small business

Businesses and Organizations Are Much Like Technologies

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been in existence for almost 100 years. It’s hard to adapt when you are used to doing things a certain way for a long time. Change can be scary and yet it can be a good thing. Hosting a town hall meeting is a step in the right direction for the local chamber. Yesterday’s technologies were the PC and the internet. Today it is social media and internet marketing. Tomorrow will most likely be mobile and geo-location technologies. Businesses and organizations are much like technologies. They are dynamic and ever changing. They go through phases. Some survive, some thrive, while others are put to rest. They get birthed, mature, change, merge, or take on the appearance of a dinasour. What is most obvious in today’s economy is that many small business owners are hanging on like a cat on a tin roof. Many resources are needed. Here are a few online sources as well as Nevada County Business sources that I hope you find useful. Feel free to add additional resources in the comments section.

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