Venly Social Media Case:
Community Connection Campaign
Launching a Community Connection Campaign
Chambers of Commerce were the original social network for businesses. In today’s digital market, local Chambers can continue to support their members by combining online and offline opportunities to connect and grow.
Local Chambers of Commerce risk being outdated in a world where communication between businesses and customers occurs more frequently online and through social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). Chambers today are looking for ways to increase connection among their membership and their communities, but they typically lack the social media knowledge and disciplined processes to succeed on their own.
By launching a Community Connection Campaign with their Venly Fellows, Chambers can support their local business communities with the help of Venly’s social media expertise. The Amherst (MA) Area Chamber of Commerce’s Community Connection Campaign shows how this can be done.In an effort to expand the Chamber’s capacity to help members grow and support each other, the Amherst Area Chamber officially launched its Community Connection Campaign by hosting a Social Media Garden Party. This Campaign makes the Amherst Area Chamber a national role model for how business associations can offer their members innovative ways to reach more customers at a lower cost, create jobs, and strengthen their community.
Behind the scenes, the Chamber coordinated the outreach to get their members involved in the Campaign. For the Amherst Area Chamber, that meant Membership and Marketing Director Joan Temkin supported outreach for the Garden Party and each event going back to the first introduction of Venly to the Amherst Area business community.
The Social Media Garden Party was planned at the Amherst History Museum and Historical Society to kick off the Campaign. Over wine and cheese, Executive Director of the Amherst Area Chamber Tony Maroulis introduced Chiderah Okoye, their Venly Community Connection Campaign Director. They spoke about what the Campaign can bring to Amherst and asked local members to talk about their businesses and their own goals for social media. In many cases, the business leaders were already working with Venly Fellows and spoke about how effective that relationship had been for them.
After the attendees introduced themselves, three local business owners spoke about how social media has helped them grow the community surrounding their brand. The attendees then had a chance to meet their local Venly Fellows and ask questions about Venly’s services, social media, and community-building.
I could tell the quality of Venly people the moment I walked into my consultation at the library. I trusted their coaching. So when my Fellow told me about Yelp, I was skeptical, but I claimed my page like she told me. A week later, I got a call for a $4,000 job from someone who was moving to the area and had found me on Yelp!
John Delomino, Owner, Fine Interior Painting
At each Community Connection Campaign event — including brown bag introductions, one-on-one consultations, and forums on a particular topic — the Campaign team facilitates a Facebook LikeFest. This provides a way for each business owner to “Like” the other attendants’ Facebook business pages, thus strengthening the connections between the chamber members and their businesses. A LikeFest is an ideal way for local businesses to establish online ties with other businesses in a simple and time-efficient way.
The potential gain in outreach for a Chamber-wide LikeFest is enormous. In the Amherst Area, 378 of the Chamber’s 500 members have a Facebook page. The number of “Likes” that could be created in the Amherst area is almost 150,000, and each member could increase its own page’s “Likes” by more than 350.
As a Campaign event, the Garden Party was an opportunity to promote a LikeFest for all members. Attendees were invited to take advantage of the Venly Like Board, an easy way for them to “Like” all of their colleagues’ business Facebook pages from one simple online page. The tablets and laptops used for the LikeFest also allowed business owners in attendance to schedule consultations with their Fellows.As a result of the Social Media Garden Party, Amherst Area business owners learned how social media can increase their outreach to current and future customers as well as help them partner and support other local businesses.
1. Host a Community Connection Campaign launch party. Contact Venly State Director Chiderah Okoye at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how your chamber can launch a Community Connection Campaign.
2. Include a LikeFest as part of every Campaign Event.
3. Sponsor local business consultations for your members to help them learn how their businesses compare against other local businesses and national best practices. Their 30-minute consultation includes in-person coaching by a Venly Fellow combined with an online meeting with a national expert on social media benchmarks for their particular business category. Consultations can be held each week at the local public library or at one of the local colleges.
For an assessment of how your social media strategy compares with others in your business category, please schedule a Chamber-sponsored, free 30-minute consultation with one of the Chamber’s local social media consultants and a national social media expert on your business category.Schedule A Consult Online
* If you have questions about this social media case or about social media in general, please email our Community Connection Campaign Lead, Chiderah.Okoye@venly.com