Modern Chamber Marketing: How to Successfully Build a Digital Community

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This Old New Business Podcast with Jeff KorhanThis is Episode 4 of This Old New Business weekly business podcast with Jeff Korhan.

Join me and Frank Kenny as we discuss how to succeed these days with digital marketing. Frank will share how he facilitates a vibrant Facebook group to build community that keeps its global membership actively engaged.

You will find this interview especially interesting if your small business is a member of a chamber of commerce, or any other organization such as Rotary that supports businesses within a local community.

You will want to listen to the very end of this episode. The energy really takes a jump during our exchange of not just what’s working with digital marketing and networking, but also how the interruptive practices of old can turn away potential customers in a heartbeat.

Our Featured Guest: Frank J. Kenny

Frank Kenny is a longtime entrepreneur and former chamber of commerce CEO. He is the founder of a number of educational communities designed exclusively for chambers and their members, including the very active Chamber of Commerce Professionals Facebook group, and Chamber Pros Insider, both of which provide strategies and advice on social media and digital marketing.

The Age of Continuous Beta Has Arrived

The fact that Frank and I both succeeded with social media by simply testing the waters to discover what works is actually what you will hear from many social media practitioners. What was true in the early days of digital marketing is even more relevant today: You have to experiment, fail, learn, and adapt.

That’s one of the themes of this podcast. In the book The Start Up of You, co-author and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman notes that these days you need a plan A, B, C, and for when things dramatically change, a plan Z.

www.jeffkorhan.comThe reality of our business environment is the destination, however your business describes it, is likely to change before you get there. Therefore, Frank suggests you just plan for being in start-up or continuous beta mode.

You Can Succeed in Any Economy

When Frank was CEO of a chamber of commerce he doubled the size of his chamber with social media at a time when many chambers were shrinking. The approach was simply reaching out to businesses to inquire if they would be interested in hanging out with some folks that were interested in them as people.

Caring enough to take the time to connect with people one-on-one is a powerful way for succeeding with digital marketing. Frank recommends Nimble Social CRM for facilitating this with your communities.

One of the advantages of Nimble is the capability of importing email contacts. Once this is accomplished, you can invite them to connect with your social media communities.

Facilitating Solutions Generates Leads

According to Frank, chambers of commerce by definition believe in small businesses and community. Therefore, it’s not surprising why the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Facebook group that he facilitates is so active.

Chambers of commerce are much like small businesses in that resources are limited. Being a member of a community of like-minded professionals is invaluable for getting solutions to problems.

When the respective members derive value from any group, they are likely to share their enthusiasm with friends and colleagues. This is why the group Frank facilitates generates leads for consulting and other premium resources that his business offers.

Once again, helping is the new selling.

Lighting Round Tips and Advice

Frank’s Top Sales or Marketing Advice – Bring people into your world by providing value up front. Give gifts. Be generous. Engage with them. Most important, be patient. You are building a tribe that can become your greatest (digital) asset.

His Favorite Productivity Tip – Put all your social media platforms into a bookmark folder on your browser. Each morning as you are enjoying a cup of coffee, go from tab to tab, staying up to speed with your connections and building those relationships. Make it a habit.

A Quote that has Inspired Frank’s Success –  “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”  Zig Ziglar

Key Take-Aways

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How is your business adapting its selling practices to an environment where buyers have new expectations?

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+

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Comments

  1. I appreciate the opportunity Jeff.

    I am always excited to talk about chambers, networking, social media, digital marketing, and small business.

    • It was great to have you on the show Frank.

      One thing I love about podcasting is that you learn so much from the guests. My understanding of chambers is much broader now.

      And I can see how these digital technologies are ideally suited to chambers – as they are for small businesses that also need to build their communities.

      It feels like we just got started with this, so let’s plan on doing it again sometime. :)

      • Sounds good Jeff. I am especially excited to get the members of chambers networking among themselves, rather than trying to sell each other something.

        My mantra is, don’t sell to your friends. Let them sell you to their friends.

        • That’s a good mantra Frank.

          Businesses these days need to be more “outward facing” – focused on helping others in the community. That encourages a collaboration where everyone gets more of what they want.

          Plus, studies show 80% of all consumers do not trust businesses or brands – but they do trust their friends. So, anything a business can do to get them talking on their behalf is smart marketing. :)

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