The Chamber knows

Ribbon cutting

From ribbon cuttings to upcoming events, the local chamber of commerce knows a lot of valuable local information. But are they sharing it? 

Every time I see my local chamber director at an event she lets some little bit of news drop like everyone knows it. Inevitably, someone at the table is surprised. (Usually me.)

“Chambers of Commerce consistently undervalue their information,” Ali Crain, with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Executives told me. I agree.

As the small town chamber of commerce, you are aware of lots of things that other people have no idea about. You just don’t remember that no one else knows it. Here are some ways you can start sharing more of that information.

Collect business news

  • New business, whether moving into the area or opened by locals.
  • Remodels or upgrades you hear about.
  • Events of all kinds.
  • Mentions of your town made in the media or online.

Rule of thumb:

If you find yourself passing this information along to even one more person, it is worth sharing to lots more people.

How do you keep track of it?

  • Keep a legal pad. Any time you hear a bit of business news that you are allowed to share immediately, write it on that legal pad.
  • Keep a big blank calendar. When you hear any bit of local business news that you can’t talk about yet, write it on the date that you are allowed to release it publicly.

How do you share it?

  • Make a list of all the ways you can share info: Twitter, Facebook, Newsletter, in meetings.
  • Use your calendar and legal pad to give you ideas of what to share through those channels.
  • Each time you share an item, put a dot next to it. Repeat each item at least 7 times, and at least twice in each channel. Preferably at different times and on different days.

Share more publicly
Stop restricting info to just your paid members. You want people to see how valuable and connected the chamber is, so show them. Make your email newsletter open to the public. Create a public archive of newsletters. Open a Facebook group or Page to everyone, member or not.

If the only people who know are your members, then you’re missing the opportunity to recruit anyone else.

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About Becky McCray

Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband own a retail liquor store in Alva, Oklahoma, and a small cattle ranch nearby. Becky is an international speaker on small business.

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  1. says

    Yes: “Stop restricting info to just your paid members.” That restriction is a BIG turn-off to membership expansion. It makes the Chamber seem like some kind of secret society.

  2. Ellen says

    Yes! This is so important, not only for internal marketing for also to show outsiders — including prospective entrepreneurs — that things are happening in your community. The newspapers don’t always report on new business openings, expansions, events, etc. Sadly, in some communities, the only local business news reported is when a large employer has a mass layoff.