Monday, December 28, 2009

Resolve this!

New Years, birthdays, anniversaries--they're all good time to pause, take stock and set goals. So often we call this the Revolving Resolution time.

Revolving, because they keep coming back again and again and again . . . . you know the list.

We may be setting ourselves up for failure when we write down these goals . . . but we could also be realigning ourselves to a noble vision that's been crowded out of the picture by everything else we deal with on a daily basis.

In January, the Chamber will kick off our Women in Business Season with "Resolve This!" a fun presentation by The Amazing Maxwell which is meant to help us leave grumpy depressing 2009 behind and focus on 2010 with positive energy, a can-do spirit and . . .optimism.

Remember optimism?

One of the things I enjoy most about Chamber work, is the contagious optimism that spreads when members get together. We may call it networking, or you could call it synergy--whatever it is the Chamber seems to have a lot more Tiggers than Eeyores--and that makes these events fun.

Remember fun?

Brian Tracy advises you to surround yourself with like minded optimistic people if you want to be successful. This peer group will keep you motivated, keep you energized, help you celebrate successes and help you rebound quicker from set backs.

Stephen Covey talks about putting First Things First and planning by plunking down your imporant "big rocks" first and then filling in the rest of your day, week and month with the other stones, pebbles and sand that need to be done.

Resolution time is about remembering those big rocks. Looking at your day, week, month, and year ahead and putting them on your calendar.

Covey also reminds you that you "Start Over Every Day."

It takes 3 weeks for a new routine to become a habit. Can you start over every day for 3 weeks?

And if you are successful--what new habits would you want to cultivate?

Yes there are the health habits, which we all work on with varying degrees of success. That doesn't mean they are unimportant--it does mean we have to start over every day and "Just DO it!"

There are the learning habits, which some of us work on formally by going back to school, working for continuing education credits or degrees--or informally by learning new hobbies, new sporting activites, listening to podcasts, CDs, books on tape, rss feeds, blogs and other sources of information.

There are the social habits. When I was growing up my dad had the longest arms of any human being. There were 5 of us kids and at the dinner table if you were out of line, he could reach across the table with lightening reflexes and give you a "thunk on the head." Just a thunk. Enough to get your attention and then there'd be the reminder, which as often as not came from my mother--who seemed to be in on this tag team. "Don't interrupt. Let your sister finish speaking." Okay . . . I'm still working on that skill. New Years is a good time to remember that it's not polite to cut the other person off, finishe their sentance or change the subject just as they're getting to the good part.

Social habits are the frosting on the cake of relationships. Do you listen as much as you talk? Are you sincerely interested in the other person when they're talking? Do you follow up? Do you say thank you? When someone sends you a referral do you remember to do the same?

At the April Women in Business event we'll be talking "True Colors" personality evaluation and training. In True Colors code, the people that do the social habits well are the "Blues." They know that relationships are at the heart of our families, friendships, business and society.

I'm not a Blue . . . but I have some Blue in me and I get it. I see it in operation at our Chamber functions. Members who are good at cultivating and maintaining relationships have a higher chance of business success. It's not fluff. It's important.

So Resolve This!

1. Make your health and wellness a priority--and start over every day. Don't let one cake derail you for another year.

2. Start learning something new this month. You don't have to tackle something big, ostentacious and amazing, like say, particle acceleration--but surely there is SOMEthing you've hankered to know more about. SOMEthing you want to learn how to do. This year . . . do it.

(Brian Tracy tells the story about learning that one of the biggest markets for motivational books and lectures was Germany. And he was the #2 Motivational Speaker there. In order to be #1, all he had to do was learn to speak German fluently. So he took a look at his schedule, possible training options and realized--that in 7 years he could be fluent in German. A friend exclaimed, "SEVEN years! That's a really long time, why bother?" And Brian replied, "In 7 years I'll be 7 years older whether I learn German or not. If I DO learn German I'll be 7 years older and the #1 motivational speaker and author in Germany.")

3. Practice your social graces. Ask questions of others and learn about them before rushing in to talk about yourself. Say thank you. Write thank you's (and yes--even emails count). Give referrals. Make "Givers gain." a habit! (Terry Bean recently published an eBook on networking and he stresses the point again and again--GIVERS GAIN. It could be a universal truth.)

And here's the key to success.
WRITE down your goals.
REVIEW your goals at least weekly.
Look at your progress in weekly and monthly terms--not just daily. In excel, they're called trend lines. It doesnt' matter if Monday was a blip--if the trend line for the week is pointed in the right directly.

For more information on the Chamber's events, activities and resources that can help you reach your goals visit:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Think Local, Buy Chamber

Chambers of Commerce are the original "Shop Local" campaigns. Many Chambers were formed with a root purpose of uniting local businesses together to commit to patronizing each other and promoting each other's businesses.

The network of the Chamber's membership is an instant peer to peer strategic referral partner group which can be very effective at getting the "word of mouth" out about your business.

So why is shopping local important? It seems obvious . . . but let's look at some numbers.

First of all local businesses support the community, and we're not just talking charitable donations. Your local storefronts and offices pay taxes which support police, fire, roads, water and sewer services in our area. This helps share the burden covered by home owners.

Did you realize that when $100 is spent locally at an independently owned business (restaurant, retail or service provider) $68 of that immediately stays in the community through payroll, taxes, rent, supplies and other operating expenses.

Spent that $100 at a local franchise and $43 stays locally.

When you spend $100 online with a business that is not located locally . . .none of that money stays in our local economy.

Statistics from

Keeping money in the community is important. reports that $1 spent locally can cycle 7x through the community before leaving for another community. SEVEN TIMES. That's powerful.

For the curious, check out which is a website that tracks US and Canadian dollar bills. Yes, some enterprising group decided to stamp currency with the "Where's George" website and invite you to log in when you have the bill in your possession. You'll be able to see how far the bill travels, how long it takes to enter other communities, how quickly it moves across the country. And that's the physical dollar bill.

Online transactions and credit cards move money quicker than that.

The 3/50 Project also reports that if HALF the employed American public spent $50 a month locally, that it would generate $42.6 billion in revenue.

There's power in spending locally.

Shop Local campaigns aren't about completely changing how you shop. Nor does it prohibit patronizing businesses outside your home zip codes. It IS about thinking local.

It's about recognizing that eating out once a month at a local restaurant has an important role to play in the fluidity of our local economy.

It's about choosing to get your car washed, buy a birthday card or pick up a flowering plant or bouquet because your patronage means more than just support for the local shops & stores. It means support for your community.

When you travel this holiday season, we encourage you to Think Local with the communities you visit. Explore what's unique. Ask your friends and family members to share what they love about where they live.

And when you have visitors to our community--roll out the red carpet. Show off what makes the Clarkston Area unique. What do you love about our area? Share with friends and family the businesses, stores and entreprenurial spirit that makes Clarkston a unique home town we can all be proud of.

All of us working together keep the economy going. Keep businesses open . . . and drive the economic recovery.

I shop local--and you can too.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Search Engine Marketing

--Source: PC Miracles, SEPT 2009 Newsletter

Add yourself to the local search engine pages:



Other websites to list yourself include:

Social Media Bootcamps returns JAN 22

We've had a lot of positive feedback about our Social Media Bootcamps. We're pleased to announc that we've scheduled another session in January.

January 22, 2010

Bootcamps are structured to let you take what you want to take, or stay for everything at a special discount price.

In January we will offer a 200 level course on TWITTER.

A year ago at this time, few of us had heard of Twitter. Now it is everywhere and some say, on it's way out of fashion.

I'd argue that Twitter can be an effective tool, but you need to understand how you're going to use it before jumping into a 24/7 Twitter update commitment.

For the Chamber's purposes, we utilize Twitter as a way to engage our followers in real time, informal news and updates. Twitter is becoming a tried and true tool to drive traffic to our website. Twitter's linked with the Chamber's Facebook Fan Page and Linked In accounts. So one update hits all three media.

You've learned that iPhones have lots of aps that make it more fun, functional and engaging.

So does Twitter. There are several cool tools that make it easy to navigate, update, search, post pictures, videos and more.

Our Social Media Twitter Session will give you an entry into the Twitter world. Bring your lap top and set up an account. Walk through some of the applications and start tweeting that morning.

Following the Twitter session, we'll have a presentation on websites, which can include a group review, critique of your website, if you'd like. We'll be looking at how easy is it to navigate, how easy is it to find. What makes a good website engaging and draws traffic on a consistent basis.

We'll end the morning with a repeat of the Linked In Session which was first held in November. If you attended that November session, you can sit in on this session for FREE as a refresher. Better yet, invite a coworker or friend to the session and help them be more effective while showing off the pieces you know and navigate easily--while learning new features and applications yourself.

Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to work with David Benjamin, Voices of Detroit and Jason T. Ryan to host these events which bring you the best information and tools to help you grow your business and stay ahead of the competition.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New member orientations

This morning we completed another of our New Member Orientations and I continue to be impressed at the caliber of businesses joining our Chamber and bringing their time, talent and expertise to help strengthen our local economy.

What takes place at a new member orientation?

We start by learning about facilitated networking, a key way that our Chamber increases the meaninful connections you'll make at our events. Just introducing yourself and your business is basic. We want to learn more about each other so that we build relationships, not just a pile of business cards.

Facilitated networking activities are often disguised as fun and games. You'll find common elements in the variety of facilitated networking activities we do. The goal is to convey information, learn something new about the other person that helps you remember who they are the next time you meet them. Facilitated networking activities help build relationships that are built on trust and mutual interests.

When I hear members laughing while they're doing a faciliated networking activity, I know we've done our job. When you laugh with another person, you bond.

Following the faciliated networking activity (which can take 15-20 minutes) Teri Robinson and I will go through some of the values your Chamber membership offers. Starting with a form that will help you write down your business and marketing goals, we take turns showcasing how to network in the Chamber, how to market, what promotional things are free, what are nominal cost. We take the mystery out of "Where do I begin?" and give you insider tips on what's coming up.

During the orientation we also hear from an Ambassador and a member of the Board of Directors. This morning we were honored to have Johnna Struck, Chamber President and Deb Gordinier, Chamber Ambassador join us in welcoming our new members.

If you missed your new member orientation, or joined prior to when we started offering these events you are still eligible to attend. Contact Teri Robinson at the Chamber office and find out when the next one will be held--and jump on in.

New member orientations are the best way to maximize your membership!

SEE MORE PHOTOS on the Chamber's Facebook Fan Page.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Podcasting from the Clarkston Union

This week the Chamber participated in some podcast recordings at the Clarkston Union with Voices of Detroit.

The idea and opportunity was brought to us by Jason T. Ryan, Vision Fuel Media, a member of the Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and winner of the 2009 President's Award.

Larry Henry, a longtime Detroit radio personality probably most familiar to listeners who follow WWJ sports, and Dave Benjamin co-founder of Voices of Detroit met with myself, Bob Thomas, Michigan Chamber of Commerce; Tim Flynn, Clarkston Legal; Tammy Ullyart, Four Seasons ChemDry and Erich Lines, Clarkston Union for a series of conversations which were recorded and are now podcasts.

Getting Over the Fear Factor

While many of us can be intimidated by a microphone, it helps to think of the colorful sponge covered microphones as friendly clown noses. They're just decorations. Seated at a table with Dave and Larry, we're just having a conversation. A conversation that's being recorded, but you soon forget about that.

What's a Podcast?
The simplest way to understand podcasting is to think of it as radio broadcasting for iPods.

What do you talk about? It's an interview. We provide Larry and Dave with brief bios and some bullet points of interesting facts, tips, knowledge we're comfortable talking about ahead of time. Larry and Dave take that information and create an interview that draws you out, gives you the opportunity to share your expertise and share your knowledge. The charm of Voices of Detroit, is their expertise in making you comfortable, as well as knowing the listener.

Still have some butterflies?
If you asked me to be entertaining, informative and articulate for 20 minutes, I'm pretty sure I'd have a conflicting appointment, need to take this call and . . . oh sorry . . . I'm supposed to be across town right now. How about you? Unless you have a performing career or background, it's kind of scary to think about being "on stage" "on camera" or "on microphone."

The podcast format, particularly with Voices of Detroit, made it comfortable, easy and . . . well . . . I have to be honest. . . . FUN!

We're going to do this again!

Clarkston Area Chamber will be working with Voices of Detroit again. We already have 2 members who've expressed interest in being in on the next taping.

So why should you think about participating in the podcasts?
What's in it for you?
People do business with people they know. People do business with the people they remember and think positively about. Do people remember your name? Are you in an industry where it's hard to differentiate yourself from your competition?

Being part of a Voices of Detroit podcast gets you on their website, you get links for your website, we do press releases and place links on the Chamber's website. Do you already see how YOUR name and business name is rising in a Google or Bing search?

What do you talk about?
Let's be clear. Nobody knows your business as well as you do. Surely there's some aspect of your business that you are passionate about. Talk about that. Talk about new trends. Help educate others about what you do. How do you explain what you do to your mom?

Trust me, there is a lot to talk about.
With over 13 years at the Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce I have learned that members love to talk about themselves, their jobs and their careers. And I've learned that it's very interesting to listen.

Your story is interesting. Your story makes you memorable.

Being memorable increases the opportunity to get the call when someone's ready to do business.

Your expertise is valuable. Your expertise positions you ahead of your competition--IF potential customers, clients and referral partners know about and recognize your expertise. Being published, being interviewed, having articles written about you, increases your visibility and recognition as an "expert".

So does, adding this information to your references, resume and creditials.

Watch for eBlast updates on the next podcasting event.
Members automatically receive eBlasts (if you have an email address on file with us).
Or sign up for eBlasts at

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A little bit about Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce

PURPOSE: To promote and enhance business opportunities in the Clarkston Area for our members.

Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1988 by 42 local business owners. Today, membership is over 550 . Most of Clarkston’s members are locally owned and operated businesses, service providers, retail, banks and health industry related.
The Clarkston Area is a charming hometown community with an historic downtown area.

The Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce is a vibrant resource for your business.
· An Average of 3 networking events monthly. Held at varying times, breakfast, lunch, afternoon or after hours, these events provide every business leader an opportunity to jump in and get connected.
· Signature community events like: Concerts in the Park and Taste of Clarkston provide opportunities to position your business prominently and positively in front of a loyal local community audience.
· Marketing opportunities—monthly mailing to 1000 area businesses and many free online opportunities for members to enhance their listing, add photos and logos to their listing.
· Your first link with social media. Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce utilizes
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and a Chamber Blog with up to date information and links. Clarkston was the first Chamber in SE Michigan to utilize Twitter, including adding it to the Chamber’s dynamic website. And provides ongoing training and hands on sessions to teach you how to get the most out of social media for your business.
· Access to decision makers and elected officials. With guest speakers like L. Brooks Patterson, Congressman Mike Rogers and local elected officials, the Chamber keeps you in touch with the people making decisions that affect your business and community.

Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce
5856 S. Main St.
Clarkston, MI 48346
PH 248-625-8055
You can also find us on Facebook and LinkedIn: Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce

Think Local Buy Chamber

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Annual Meeting 2009

Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce
ANNUAL MEETING--September 17, 2009
Keystone Distinguished Service Awards
Board Members: Donna Bullard and Sue Fryer
Committee Chair: Heidi Nettler
Ambassador: Tom Lowrie
Volunteer: Connie Morgan
Partnership: Independence Township Parks & Recreation
Service: IGD Solutions
President's Award--Jason T. Ryan

(effective October 1, 2009)
President: Johnna Struck, Changing Places Moving
President Elect: Bill Burr, All Saints Cemetery
Immediate Past President: Heidi Wood, Genisys Credit Union
Treasurer: Deb Hansen, Oxford Bank
Secretary: Steve Hyer, IGD Solutions
Top 10 Supporters of Chamber Programs and Projects
Learning Experience
Smith's Disposal
Mt. Zion
Clarkston Medical Group
Law Office of Robert E. Kostin
Planet Kids Children's Center
Palace Sports & Entertainment
LaFontaine Automotive Group
McLaren Health Care Corporation
Genisys Credit Union

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sounds like a really good time at Taste of Clarkston

We are pleased to have Genisys Credit Union sponsor our entertainment at Taste of Clarkston this year.


DJ Jim Tedder, Tedder Productions WALDON STAGE

Stardusters Band WALDON STAGE

Kofi Ameyaw of Sunkwa Ghana rhythm xylophone On Church Street
sponsored by Sandy Mabery and
DJ Jim Tedder, Tedder Productions WALDON STAGE

Chiffon Sisters WALDON STAGE

More strolling entertainment and surprises will take place at a variety of venues, including a Kite Demonstration by Great Turtle Toys at the schools on Waldon; Balloon animals in Depot park; Mt. Zion entertainers throughout the day and more!

The Job of our Ambassadors

Chamber Ambassadors do a lot to help make our events warm and welcoming. You'll find them in a variety of roles at our events.

First Impressions are lasting! Your role in greeting our members and helping everyone feel sincerely welcomed, happy to be at our event—is essential to setting the tone for everything we do.
· Arrive early at an event and greet attendees with a smile and their first name (if you know it). Welcome them to the event.
· Help them find their name badge.
· Identify first timers or shy attendees and pair them with a Matchmaker Ambassador.
· REMEMBER not to get involved in long conversations while greeting, your job is to keep people moving into the group.

With your knowledge of Chamber members, events, programs and projects you are the air traffic controller helping members land good contacts, connections and relationships.
· Working with Greeters and Chamber Staff you will arrive early at events and position yourself near the check in area.
· When a first timer or newbie attendee is identified they will be handed off to you.
· Your job is to help move them, courteously away from the entry door, into the event.
· Start a conversation, about THEM. Help them get comfortable and feel welcome. Ask questions that help you learn about their business, hobbies, networking objectives.
· Utilizing your expertise and understanding of who is at the event, introduce them to other Chamber members.
· REMEMBER—your job is to focus on the other person, help them feel comfortable, welcome and included. You do not need to stay by their side for the whole event, but check up on them periodically to make sure they are not standing alone in a corner.

You are the leader—welcoming, friendly, knowledgeable and organized.
For some BOBs we utilize small group rotations.

· Plan to arrive on time (events start at 7:45 a.m.)
· Work with Chamber staff to be briefed on the format and questions that will be utilized. Because we receive so many last minute registrations, the actual networking activity may not be finalized until the night before an event. You most likely will not have advanced warning of the questions/theme—but you will receive easy to follow printed directions.
· As facilitator, your job is to welcome the group and get them started on each rotation question.
· ALWAYS start with the person on your left.
· ALWAYS speak last. (This is a code to the Chamber staff, so we can follow how close your group is to finishing it’s assignment prior to the next rotation.)
· Keep everyone to the time limit in a cheerful manner. (remember you set the “networking temperature” for the group.
· Do not let any one person dominate the conversation.
· Make it friendly and comfortable for shy people to participate.

You are the Master Connector—the Maven of knowledge
At Mixers and WIB events we try to seed every table with one or more Ambassador or Board member.

· REGISTER EARLY--When you tell us you’re planning to attend, we count on you to be there and can make table assignments accordingly
· Plan to arrive to the event on time (events start at 11:45 or 10:45 a.m.)
· When it comes time to take your seats, you become the “host” of the table.
· Facilitate introductions
· Draw people out
· If you already know everyone around the table, try to find out something new.
· Don’t let one person dominate the discussion
· Your goals for your table are to:
o Set the “networking temperature” for the group.
o Learn something new about the people seated at your table
o Take the information you’re learning, match it with what you already know and help the people at your table connect with other Chamber members who could be good strategic referral partners, help for their business or potential customers/clients.

You are the front lines of our Grassroots, Guerilla Marketing and Social Media Network

· Your enthusiasm and network of connections helps us get the word out quickly and with credibility to members and non-members.
· Carry some extra registration forms with you so at another function, or on a sales call, you have the opportunity to share information on an upcoming Chamber event.
· Add the Chamber’s website or a tag line about an upcoming event to your signature area of your email. (If company policy allows)
· Personally invite someone you’ve recently met, welcomed to the Chamber or haven’t seen in awhile to attend an upcoming event.
· Join the Chamber’s fan page on Facebook and post comments, photos, links or photos.
· Follow the Chamber on Twitter to be “in the know” on up to the minute information—SHARE that information by ReTweeting it.
· Post the Chamber’s logo link on your own webpage.
Sometimes you can’t make every Chamber event. You still have an important role to play as an event Booster!

Smiling faces and a big hearty welcome from the Chamber’s Business Community
Dropping everything at the office to run out quick for a 15 minute photo opportunity welcoming a new business is very important.

· We need you to act as greeters to officials, community members and the new business.
· We need you in the photograph
· And we need you to spread the good news about a new business opening in town.

Being an Ambassador is fun and exciting. You work with a group of other Chamber members who are upbeat and professional. If you'd like to consider being an Ambassador contact and we'll line you up for a 3 month test drive.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Do you use Guerrilla Marketing?

What is the purpose of your marketing – What is your marketing asking
your prospects to do first?
If your marketing doesn't include a call to action, don't be surprised if your audience doesn't do anything with the information.

What are the benefits of your product(s)/service(s)?
There's a difference between a FEATURE (eg: Advertising Advantage) and BENEFITS (eg: Your business brand recognition and opportunity for doing business with other business leaders grows when your message is put in the hands of 1,000 area business owners.)

Your Target Audience
Who are you trying to reach? Who's your ideal customer, client, contact?

What is your marketing niche?
Are you the best value? Do you provide the best service? Do you have customized products? What's different about doing business with you, instead of doing business with your competitors?

What is your marketing identity?
Designing the "voice" of your marketing ensures a unified look to your marketing efforts. Creating a marketing identity (which often times is YOUR personality/branding) will help you be remembered.

What is Guerrilla Marketing?
It is a body of unconventional ways of pursuing conventional goals. It is a proven method of achieving profits with minimum money.

Your Guerrilla Marketing Weapons
Guerrilla Marketing For Turbulent Times© 2009. Ed Tate & Associates, LLC.

1. Competitive Advantage
2. Marketing Plan
3. Outrageously Good Service
4. Follow-up!
5. Fusion Marketing
6. Positive Attitude & Enthusiasm
7. Free Consultations
8. Customer Reactivation Letter
9. Website and Online Presence
10. 30 second marketing message
11. Community involvement
12. Business Card
13. Testimonials
14. Location
15. Stationery
16. Phone demeanor
17. Logo
18. Promo Kit
19. Hours, days of operation
20. Brochures
21. Reprints
22. Professional Photo
23. 800 Number
24. Targeted list from list broker
25. Public Seminars and lectures
26. Audio and videotapes
27. Refreshments offered
28. Credit cards
29. Club/Association memberships
30. Effective use of voice mail
31. Circulars
32. Smiles and Greetings
33. Pricing
34. Prospecting Letters
35. Contests
36. Phone on-hold marketing
37. Research studies
38. Make an audio tape interview
39. Toastmasters
40. Postcards
41. Waiting Room resources
42. Inserts
43. Trade show display
44. Speak at Conferences
45. Radio and TV commercials
46. Gift certificates
47. Assisting in others’ workshops
48. Start a Fusion Marketing Group
49. Speed of delivery
50. Classified Ads
51. Customer mailing list
52. Enthusiasm
53. Yellow Pages Ad
54. Sales Training
55. Teach Adult Education Courses
56. Online Marketing
57. Participate in Chat Room
58. Publish a newsletter
59. Join Speakers Bureau
60. Demonstrations
61. Serve on an association board
62. Charity fundraisers
63. Create an online newsletter
64. Create an Advocates list
65. Post on an e-bulletin board
66. Free workshops
67. Brand-name awareness
68. Free information
69. Human Bonds
70. Continued Education
71. Free Gift
72. Word of mouth
73. Columns
74. Create an audio tape interview
75. Write an article
76. Link to other websites
77. Mastermind group
78. Create a set of client handouts
79. Booth at Health Fairs
80. Photograph
81. Imagination
82. Add signatures to your emails
83. Walk your talk
84. Write a book
85. Panel or Advisory Board
86. Get listed with search engines
87. Marketing savvy
88. Host your own radio show
89. Compile E-mailing lists
Join the Chamber of Commerce
91. Audio or Video clip on website
92. Competitiveness
93. Displays with other businesses
94. Free video tape
95. Take -one boxes
96. Recorded info by phone
97. Convenience
98. Free audiotapes and articles
99. Theme Line
100. Satisfied Customers

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I don't have time for that?

People do business with people they know.

Networking is relationship building. It's how you get to know people. Do you have a rapport with them? Do you trust them? Do they know you? Do they care about your interests or are you just a quick sale?

Recently a Chamber staff member was asked to help a prospective member make contacts with his target audience. They weren’t really thinking about being a Chamber member, but they wanted the advantage of the Chamber’s credibility and connections.


Chamber staff: “Would you like to come to a BOB as my guest and I’ll introduce you to some of our members and you can check out the value of our Chamber before you become a member.”

“I don’t have time for that. I don’t want to be a member. I just want you to introduce me to my prospects.”

“We’re a membership organization. I’d be happy to make introductions, but you need to be a member. And the best way to make connections is to participate in networking events so people get to know you.”

“I don’t want to be a member. I don’t have time for that. I just want to get to my target audience. Networking events aren’t made up 100% of my target audience.”

“Do you understand that other Chamber members can be strategic referral partners and getting to know them will help you reach your target audience?”

“I don’t have time for that!”

This is such a rare sales personality type in our interactions with Chamber members and prospective members that we were a little taken aback.

Clearly this person feels they don’t have time to invest in a relationship. They only want the sale. If you don’t have time for the relationship, do you have time for good customer service? Will you take shortcuts if I contract with you, because you don’ t have time?

Well . . . good luck with that.

Our research shows us that, especially in today’s economy, people do business with people they know. People they trust.

I’m sure that when you think about the people you refer and the people you do business with, you’ll agree, that knowing them, trusting them, staying in regular communication with them, increases your opportunity for business.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Maximize your EXPO experience more tips and trends

1. Keep handouts short and sweet. Provide a one page fact sheet at the show instead of a brochure. The most serious prospects prefer not to wait for information to be sent after the show. Strike when the decision process is hot.
2. Increase pre-show promotions. What are you doing to drive customers and clients to the EXPO? Did you know that 33% of people who visit an exhibit are influenced by pre-show mailings. Direct mail provides an incentive to visit the booth and helps prime the pump. The preshow mailing list should follow a descending priority: existing customers, previous leads, last Expo’s attendees and the current Expo list.
Texas Instruments used its distributor’s customer list, rather than the show’s registration list, for a recent show mailing and increased its response rate by 66%. Don’t forget — one mailing is not enough. A minimum of three mailings is required to garner attention.
3. Ask for more names. Identify other people with whom booth visitors will share information once they return home. 60% of visitors will share the information with at least two other decision-makers within their company after the show. Ask for those names.
4. Customer intimacy is in. Design your booth layout to create a warm, friendly discussion area. DO NOT STAND BEHIND YOUR BOOTH Create a side-by-side discussion zone and remove barriers between you and the visitor. Small, round counter-high discussion tables increase sales interaction and get prospects to stop and talk about their needs. Time is precious. A total of 58% of prospects will not wait longer than one minute for a sales representative’s attention at a trade show exhibit.
5. Dress casually. Dress should be brightand business casual. Long-sleeve shirts with company logos have replaced business suits. Avoid golf shirts, unless you're in the golf industry. Research shows that they are too casual and reduce credibility.
6. It happens at the end of the EXPO. You’ll meet the genuine prospects toward the end of the day. Serious buyers run out of time and cram in the most urgent needs just before they are forced to leave. Don’t discount the last few visitors. Booth staff energy and enthusiasm should remain high for those last-minute shoppers.
7. It happens on the Web. Increasingly, attendees are visiting the Website after the show to avoid the sales pitch. If that’s the case, distribute business cards with just a name and a Website address. Trade show exhibiting is not an inexpensive marketing proposition. Yet, predictive elements and behavioral rules can dramatically improve the number and quality of trade show leads and boost after-show sales revenue. “Trade show attendees are more focused, desiring immediate answers and higher-quality information. It has become increasingly important to adapt trade show marketing strategies to these changes.”

EXPO--TH November 12, 2009 5:00 pm Business Hour
6-8 pm FREE ADMISSION for the Public!

ADDED VALUE for attending the EXPO Workshop!

Virtual Expo AN ADDED EXPOSURE OPPORTUNITY FOR EXPO EXHIBITORS! Each exhibitor will have a promotional web page on the Chamber's website with their business profile and an opportunity to extend a “show special” to visitors. This great feature will extend the life of the Expo for a full 30 days!

EXPO workshop Thursday, September 3, 2009 2-4 p.m. at Clarkston Schools Administration Building.

REGISTER at or call the Chamber at 248-625-8055

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Maximize Your Expo Experience

  • First impressions count! Show off your professionalism.
  • Have more than one representative available for face-to-face B2B networking.
  • Have clear signage and displays.
  • Be creative & make the most of your booth.
  • Attract more attention by doing a presentation or demonstration.
  • Provide a great exhibitor drawing item to entice visitors. Collect business cards and draw at your booth.

November 12, 2009 5:00 pm Business Hour

6-8 pm FREE ADMISSION for the Public!

ADDED VALUE for attending the EXPO Workshop!
Virtual Expo

AN ADDED EXPOSURE OPPORTUNITY FOR EXPO EXHIBITORS! Each exhibitor will have a promotional web page on the Chamber's website with their business profile and an opportunity to extend a “show special” to visitors. This great feature will extend the life of the Expo for a full 30 days!

EXPO workshop Thursday, September 3, 2009 2-4 p.m. at Clarkston Schools Administration Building. REGISTER at or call the Chamber at 248-625-8055

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Are you getting the most out of EXPO, BullsEye and Taste?

Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce has 3 exceptional exhibiting opportunities coming up this fall.

1. Taste of Clarkston--Sunday, September 27, 2009 Noon-6 pm in downtown historic Clarkston. Potentially your biggest B2C Audience. If weather is cooperative--we can easily have over 15,000 people attend the Taste of Clarkston. It's a local audience! 72% are from Clarkston zip codes. Another 12% come because a friend of family member in the Clarkston zip codes invited them. (2007 survey)

2. BullsEye Small Business Conference--October 22, 2009 7:30 a.m.-Noon at Oakland Schools. Potentially your biggest B2B Audience. This is conference is hosted by the Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Waterford Area and Pontiac Regional Chambers of Commerce. Four keynote speakers with time between sessions for networking and visiting exhibits. Exhibitors are IN the conference room, so you don't miss the presentations and you're right there ready to interact when the break begins.

3. EXPO--Thursday, November 12, 2009 6-8 pm A mix of B2B and B2C, this event has it all. A special B2B only hour 5-6 pm includes strolling appetizers (because we KNOW you just came from work) and time for exhibitors and Chamber members to visit and see all the booths. The doors open to the public at 6 pm and it's FREE Admission. Several businesses are donating iPods for EXPO raffle prizes and you can donate one too--or create a gift basket or gift certificate for either B2B (given away at EXPO Afterglow at Mesquite Creek immediately following the EXPO) OR B2C (given away at the EXPO throughout the evening).

Great Opportunities--but how do you make the most of them? If you've exhibited at Trade Shows and EXPOs before you may wonder why you're not getting the business you'd hope to get at these events. Are there tricks, tips, secrets of exhibiting that your competitors know and you don't?

The Chamber wants your exhibiting experience to be the best it can be. To help make that happen, we're bringing in Stacy Himmelspach, Insight Advisory Services to present a workshop on maximizing your EXPO experience. This isn't just for EXPO! It's for ANY trade show, any time you exhibit, any opportunity to gain a new audience and customer base.


September 3, 2009

2-4 pm at Clarkston Schools Administration Building


*Signing up for Beer University later that evening, you'll SAVE another $5 on combined registrations when you sign up for both at the same time. (Beer University 5:00-8:30 pm at On the Border, Baldwin Rd., Auburn Hills. TICKETS $50 at the door; $35 early bird rate when you purchase by Aug 28.)

1. Participants will develop a plan for getting prepared for the EXPO
2. What to expect at the EXPO
3. Helpful hints for successful EXPO
4. Networking and planning with veteran EXPO exhibitors
5. Business growth expectations
6. Follow-up process: During and after the EXPO, how you will follow up with contacts you have made.

ADDED VALUE for attending the EXPO Workshop!

Virtual Expo
AN ADDED EXPOSURE OPPORTUNITY FOR EXPO EXHIBITORS! Each exhibitor will have a promotional web page on the Chamber's website with their business profile and an opportunity to extend a “show special” to visitors. This great feature will extend the life of the Expo for a full 30 days!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

We're cooking up some tasty treats for TASTE Sept 27 2009

Taste of Clarkston is fast approaching.

September 27, 2009
Noon-6 pm on MAIN STREET
in Historic Downtown Clarkston, MI


This event involves over 30 restaurants, 100 sponsors and 300 volunteers.

Participating Restaurants (as of 8-18-09)
1. Biggby Coffee
2. Brioni Café & Deli
3. Bullfrog’s Bar & Grill
4. Caribou Coffee
5. Clarkston Café
6. Clarkston Union
7. Costco
8. Culver’s of Clarkston (may have 2 booths; one in Depot, one on Main St.)
9. Essence On Main
10. Fountains Golf & Banquet
11. Gregg’s Gourmet Café
12. Hamlin Pub
13. Little Caesars
14. Longhorn Steakhouse
15. MacPhee’s Restaurant & Pub
16. Max & Ermas
17. Mr. B’s Roadhouse
18. O’Malley’s Galley
19. On the Border
20. p’Fino Gourmet
21. Paint Creek Country Club
22. Papa Romano’s
23. Pete’s Coney II
24. Qdoba Mexican Grill
25. Rainforest Café
26. Rib Rack
27. Ruby Tuesday
28. Rudy’s Market
29. Shepherds Hollow
30. Stir Crazy Fresh Asian Grill
31. Tropical Smoothie Café Dixie
32. Tropical Smoothie Café Sashabaw
33. Via Bologna of Clarkston

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Think Local, Buy Chamber

This Spring the Chamber formed a special task force and charged them with:

  • developing a shop local chamber branding initiative that creates awareness and consumer loyalty for our member businesses.

The challenge to the task force was to develop something that would:

  • not exclude any sector of our chamber membership (eg: could not be so focused on retail sector that it offered little for our service sector members; could not exclude members outside Clarkston zip codes) and

  • oh, by the way . . . we have no funding for a big broad marketing campaign. So be creative and think of ways to get the message out utilizing social media, guerilla marketing and grassroots communications.

Along the way we tested the slogan "My Clarkston Buy Clarkston." It resonated well to begin with but quickly demonstrated that it is a best fit for the downtown businesses inside the City of the Village of Clarkston. It did not meet all of the charges that the committee had been tasked with.

So the committee went back to the drawing board. While reviewing logo selection an intense discussion revisited all of the work and research that the task force had undertaken.

With each logo concept (and we had over a dozen to choose from), the task force discussed, debated and challenged what the program is and how it would help our businesses.

We knew what it would NOT be. Our surveys and research showed us that we did not want it to be a coupon program or incentive program. There are many programs like that out there and we were concerned that repeatedly discounting our value offerings as "the only way" to get consumers to think local, was not the primary message we wanted to send.

We thought of the program from the consumer's side. What would inspire them to take an extra moment before making a decision to purchase goods and services?

We thought of it from a business's side. Do we want commerce to stop at a zip code? Is "local" to be defined by artificial boundaries of a zip code or muncipality boundary, or by the natural existing patterns of commercial enterprise?

Do we want to promote all businesses in our community--or are we focused (as our mission says) on our members? What is the value of membership if we give our brand away to non-members?

We are not a DDA.

So where does this take us?

The task force agreed that the goal of our shop local initiative was to get consumers and businesses to THINK LOCAL.

Think about what's available right here in our area.

  • Think about the independent business owner, franchise owner, office manager, service provider that is vested in seeing our local economy thrive.

  • Think about the friends and neighbors who ARE these business owners.

  • Think about the feel of our hometown community. What would be lost if a local business closes it's doors?

  • Think about what local businesses give back to the community. Through taxes, community involvement, civic leadership--our business community is a big portion of what makes the "Clarkston" brand, whether they are located in a Clarkston zip code or not. (eg: Palace Sports & Entertainment; Costco; Changing Places Moving & Storage; Waterfall Jewlers to name a few.)

From the business side, the task force felt we were right on target with the business pledge to consumers. What is the value our businesses will provide to consumers when they DO "Think Local?"

Think Local, Buy Chamber Business Owners’ Pledge
• We will smile and treat you with respect and courtesy.
• We will offer quality products and services at a fair price.
• We will serve you promptly and be committed to your satisfaction.
• We will respect your privacy and never sell your confidential contact information.
• We will thank you for your business.
• We, too, will shop and hire local.

The task force then quickly decided upon Buy Chamber. Ideally we would like consumers to THINK about their purchases and contract services and then take action by BUYing from a Chamber member.

The Chamber Board of Directors concurred that that is the cornerstone of what this shop local imitative really was intended to do.

As a Chamber of Commerce our first duty is to our members. To promote them. To help them grow their business. To help them connect with other businesses, consumers, clients and referral partners.

Recognizing that My Clarkston, Buy Clarkston's best fit is with the downtown businesses, the Chamber has offered the slogan, logo designs and website domain to the downtown businesses for their use.

Think Local, Buy Chamber and My Clarkston Buy Clarkston are complimentary campaigns. Our campaign is a Chamber message. My Clarkston Buy Clarkston is a downtown business message.

Will there be a My Davisburg, Buy Davisburg campaign in the future? There could be if the local businesses in the hamlet decide to implement one.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Chamber GPS--Where are we and who are we?

The Chamber covers the Clarkston area--which we define as the City of the Village of Clarkston, Independence Township, Springfield Township, Davisburg and the Dixie Corridor. It matches the overlay of Clarkston Community Schools attendance boundaries with some extra areas.

Our mission is to promote and enhance business opportunities in the Clarkston Area for our members.

You wouldn't think that defining your geographic area would be difficult. Surprisingly, when you bring 18-20 people together and ask them to tell you "What is Clarkston?" you'll get several different answers.

It could have been just the City of the Village of Clarkston. From a municipality standpoint, that is the most accurate definition. The City is the only REAL Clarkston in some people's minds.

Yet the city is about 1 square mile, with a 2 block business district and 800 residents. It also sits in the middle of Independence Township, not unlike a donut hole inside a donut.

Clarkston could be defined by the Clarkston zipcodes. 48346 and 48348. And in truth, the largest portion of our membership resides in those zipcodes. Yet the intermingling of commerce between Springfield Township to our west and a sliver of Waterford Township to our South doesn't stop at a postal zipcode.

A study of where natural patterns of commerce were taking place indicated that Davisburg and a large portion of Springfield Township utilize Clarkston businesses for retail, restaurants and services. Mostly rural and residential there was no hub of business promotion or development until you reach Holly. For those reasons, we included Springfield Township in our geographic definition of the Clarkston Area.

The Clarkston Chamber was founded 10 years before Waterford Area Chamber was created and in those years many businesses on the border with Clarkston joined our Chamber and were very active and commited to improving our economic climate.

Since a vibrant and growing Waterford Chamber under the direction of Marie Hauswirth came on the scene, many of these businesses still choose belong to the Clarkston Area Chamber (in addition to joining the Waterford Chamber.) Several Waterford business owners have been Presidents of the Clarkston Area Chamber.

It is a myth that you have to have a business located in the geographic area of a community in order to join their Chamber of Commerce.

It is a myth that by virtue of having a business located in a geographic area, that you are automatically a member of the Chamber of Commerce. We are not a DDA. We do not receive tax dollars or other financial support from governmental agencies.

So why would you join more than one Chamber? Well . . . why do you subscribe to more than one magazine or newspaper? Why do you watch more than one TV station? And why would you belong to more than one club or professional organization?

You do it for information, for programs and for social and business networking.

Clarkston Area Chamber is an expert on OUR geographic area. We know it well. We can help you know it well. We connect you to the audiences here (business to business and business to consumer.) While our programs are good and members like what we're doing . . . we don't do it IN Waterford for our Waterford member businesses. The same is true of our Auburn Hills members, the Lake Orion members, the Pontiac members, the Rochester members.

If you want to be promoted and connect with businesses and consumers in those areas, you need to join those Chambers.

If you want to be promoted inside our community, then we recommend you join OUR Chamber.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Website now offers more Social Media Connections for members

Clarkston Area Chamber is pleased to launch a new feature on our website which allows our members to post your Social Media Contacts which then become quick links on your business listing.


(The icons are LINKS)

Add your photo and logo too!

Monday, August 10, 2009

What's rain got to do with it?

The Chamber's largest event, our signature event, has become The Taste of Clarkston. It involves over 30 restaurants, 300 volunteers, 100 sponsors and exhibitors, and partnerships with the City of the Village of Clarkston and Indpendence Township Parks & Recreation.

It's a one day event (held the last Sunday in September) on Main Street.

If the weather is anywhere near nice . . . it's a fantastic event. It runs smoothly, we have a good hometown crowd of around 18,000 people. There's great food, live music, free KidZones with activities for kids of all ages.

If it rains . . . .it is a financial nightmare.

This weekend I visited with my sisters, one lives in Milford (Milford Memories) and one lives in Pinkney (Brighton Art Fair). Both communities had planned, prepared and presented their signature outdoor summer events. Both communities were hit Saturday with their absolute worst weather nightmare. Downpours. Thunderstorms.

Because I work at a Chamber of Commerce and KNOW what goes into these event, and because my sisters (and nieces) are game for adventure, we went to the art fair anyway. We brought umbrellas, we got wet and we had a great time. The artists were stunned to see us. We were probably 1/2 of the buying public that showed up that morning. (And the afternoon had worse weather.)

All the while I was visualizing what would happen to Taste of Clarkston if we had this kind of weather. (The puddles in the street became a river. My shoes are still drying out.)

There's only so much you can do to plan the perfect family friendly event--if the weather turns on you . . . we don' t have a back up date. We don't have a rain location.

What's rain got to do with it? Everything.

I have to remember that this is why we picked September for this event. Historically the end of September, early October is dryer than July or August. Freak thunderstorms shouldn't happen. We might get stray rain showers from a fringe finger of a hurricane that hits the Gulf coast . . . but we should be good.

Should be.

Cross your fingers (and join the prayer team!)

Friday, August 7, 2009

60 Useful Minutes--a programming concept

Throughout the year, I collect information from other Chambers and organizations, looking for ideas that may fit the interest and needs of our Chamber. The idea file is very thick. There are a LOT of great ideas out there.

This one, is intriguing and I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on 60 Useful Minutes.

What is 60 Useful Minutes?

How about revving up on a Friday instead of winding down? End your week on a high with 60 really useful minutes hosted by Clarkston Area Chamber.

Once a month (or twice a month or weekly), a member company will be presenting a practical workshop - against the clock - for business owners and managers who will take away six practical tips which can be implemented immediately, to improve their business.

We’re not serving breakfast or canapés, just invaluable business advice in 60 really useful minutes! Starting promptly at 9.00am every Friday morning, we promise to get you out by 10am, ready to tackle your day.

That's the idea in a nutshell.

The purpose of this type of event is to compliment our current programming:
BOBs (Business Over Breakfast) are monthly quick facilitated networking events.
Luncheon Mixers are monthly relaxed networking and updates on local government planning, economic forecasts and business development in and coming to our community.
Women in Business are a series of 4 events January-April that inspirational and educational networking events.
BullsEye Small Business Conference is an annual 1/2 day educational conference in partnership with other Chambers.

I'm looking for programming that offers our Chamber members:
  • Opportunities to present
  • A chance to share your knowledge and expertise with other members
  • An opporutnity to increase your strategic referral network and expose you to a larger customer base
  • It's an opportunity for members to develop leadership and public speaking skills.

What do you think? Is this something you would be interested in attending? Is it something you would be interested in presenting at? You can leave your comments on this blog or email

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Drive traffic to your website--Twitter; Tweetdeck and TweetLater

Checking those website stats
Thanks to the email reminder from our webhost, IGD Solutions, ( I reviewed the latest website tracking reports. (I appreciate the email reminder--even though I KNOW I should look at the website stats at the first of the month, it isn't on my radar until I get that email.)

July continued the trend for growth in traffic to the Chamber's website. We are now averaging 375 unique visits each day--11, 627 per month. That represents an 11.5% increase from June.

Over 80% of our visitors type in our URL directly. Which means, we are either Bookmarked in Favorites, or visitors already know about us and how to get to us. ( By the way . . . have you ever typed in That takes you to one of the many other Clarkston's in the United States. That one happens to be in Washington.

TRIVIA INFO: Clarkston, Washington is right across the river from Lewiston, Idaho. Get it? Lewis and Clark?

Back on task . . . The next thing I look for is what websites are providing referrals to our website? Where's the click-thru traffic coming from.

Big surprise . . . the top referral site is Google. Next--Yahoo. Then--Bing. Now seriously, were any of you surprised by that?

What was of interest, however were the referral links coming directly from Twitter.
Our website stats also show that traffic that comes from Twitter DOUBLED from June to July.

This is an intentional strategy--to use Twitter to drive traffic to our website for more information.

What's working for us? Including hotlinks to specific pages on our website with a teaser tweet helps a lot! (I know . . . DUH)

I have found these Twitter applications very helpful in implementing this strategy.

How Tweetdeck can save you time and increase your productivity
Setting up Tweetdeck (at Jason T. Ryan's suggestion--Thanks Jason has been a huge timesaver.

For those of you familiar with the Twitter home page, you see that you have one listing of feeds from all the people you're following. You have to click to a new page to see direct messages (DM) or replies (when someone references you in a tweet using the @ sign in front of your name--eg @CACOC)

Tweetdeck allows you to have multiple columns on view. If you looked at my Tweetdeck you'd see: ALL friends; Replies; Direct Messages: Clarkston (anyone referencing "Clarkston" in a tweet shows up here) and Chamber (Chamber members who are tweeting are in this special "call out" column.)

This has really helped me respond better to direct messages and replies. It helps me keep track when people Retweet a message (RT) so I can thank them.

However the most convenient part of Tweetdeck is that you can do your tweet postings from the same page--AND you have the ability to shorten urls or add a tweetpic without moving to a new screen/website.

Being able to shorten URLs allows me to put in specific links for our webpages (or other resources) without losing valuable space in the tweet. (There are only 140 characters, so you have to use them wisely).

TweetLater covers for you when you get busy during the day

The next terrifically helpful tool that works for me is TweetLater.
This application allows me to preprogram in Tweets that will be sent at a later date and time (I pick the day and time.)

It occured to me pretty early on that most people know the Clarkston area because it is the home of DTE Energy Music Theatre (Pine Knob Theatre . . . I know, I know).

Since we are known by this--we can capture tweet interest and website traffic if we can connect ourselves to DTE. We want the traffic, particularly for restaurant and retail businesses who might be able to pick up additional customers who are visiting our area. (It's not just about website numbers--we also want to increase real business for our members!)

With Tweetlater I was able to preprogram tweets for the entire DTE season. The tweets go out the morning of/or night before a DTE Concert. They state the concert info, time concert starts so it will be captured by anyone searching for band or concert info. The tweets also include rotating message reminders like "Check out your dining options in the Clarkston area." (and a link to our website)" or "What else is in Clarkston? (and a link to our website)" "We invite you to check us out. (and a link to our website.)

To follow up with this--you will find our website homepage message includes "Home of DTE Energy Music Theatre" and quick links to restaurants.

Tweetlater can also be used to set up rotating welcome messages for when people sign up to follow you.

You can preset your messages to tweet early in the morning, then repeat at 11 and 2 and 5 pm

This is a very helpful tool if you're trying to promote a sale, a product, a general message.

I will admit, it is hard to be creative 24/7. It's hard to get through all the "to dos" during the day, especially if something unexpected comes up. Tweetlater has your back. You pick the time when you ARE feeling creative. Preprogram the tweets and then . . . forget about it.

FEEDBACK: If you find this information helpful, shoot me an email or leave a comment on this blog. (

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Social Media overview

It starts with your website

I started with the Chamber in 1997. I've overseen the development of the Chamber's website and website revision, revision revision. In those early days, it wasn't clear what purpose the website could really offer a business, though "everyone" was telling us we needed a website.

In many respects the early website was just an electronic business card. It was static, updated perhaps annually. Current and timely information could not get on the website fast enough to encourage anyone to visit more than once. The most important part of the website was (and still is) the listing of our members.

Today, our website is much more dynamic and functional. It is timely. Information, photos, events and dates can be updated daily. New members are listed on the website within 48 hours of joining.

The website is the anchor of our social media plan. It's where we can post more information on ideas, topics. It's where we promote our members, put a "face" on the Chamber with photos and member profiles, links to members websites and email. The website compliments and becomes the destination for Tweet links, Facebook updates and eNewsletter/eBlast communications. The website ties our message all together.

Jumping in with FACEBOOK

I learned of Facebook while my sons were in college. They would post photos in Facebook and send me a link that allowed me to see them . . . but nothing else . . . at that time you had to have a university/college email address in order to get an account with Facebook.

When Facebook opened up to all users, I was one of the first to jump in. AND . . . didn't know what to do after I was in. At that time posting a status update, poking and uploading photos was about all you could do on Facebook. I SO didn't "get" why anyone would want to poke anyone else.

So I did nothing with Facebook for about 3 months.

It was scolding from my sons that finally prompted me to take time to explore a little more.

YES . . . when you first jump in, there is a learning curve/black hole that will absorb much of your time and attention. I recommend exploring any new social media at a time when you can afford to enjoy the journey of exploration . . . and then be fearless. This is the time to clicky click . . . "what's this button do?"

FULL DISCLOSURE I don't watch a lot of TV. I've never seen Survivor, don't know when American Idol is on and have only seen clips of Dancing with the Stars on Hulu. SEE all that time I've saved that I can use elsewhere?

The good news is, once you've started to become familiar with screens, functions and applications, it goes faster. Facebook is now something I check a couple times a day, not unlike checking my email. Often I get a treat when I open Facebook. Photos of newborn grandnieces Lilli or Addi. A photo journal trip of niece Serena and her family's trip to the Detroit Zoo.

Undoubtedly there will be a photo posting of a cool car spotted by one of my sons. They tell me this is a 21st century version of bird watching. They have a list of cars they've seen and want to see. The more rare the car, the more points they get for getting a picture of it.

Facebook has been primarily, for me, a family connection tool. I've reconnected with several friends from high school and college, but it hasn't been a business tool.

Then came the Chamber's Fan Page

We started with a group page, which, at the time, was the right place to be for businesses.

Then Facebook launched FAN pages. The functionality of Fan Pages, announcing events, invitations, photo albums made it a lot more verstile for what we wanted to do.

DID YOU KNOW that when you're a fan you can post things on the wall, links, photos too?

The Chamber's Fan page will compliment information found on the Chamber's website, upcoming events, photos, announcements. But it also includes YOUR input and participation. Add your links, your videos, your comments.

You don't have to be a member of the Chamber to be a fan of the Chamber. Invite your friends and family members to be a fan too!

TIP: PHOTOS from events are posted on the Chamber's Facebook Fan Page BEFORE they are posted on our website.


I've been an active Blogger since the summer of 2004. Over the years I've run four different blogs, this is now my 5th.

Don't be surprised if you haven't heard of them. Three blogs were the online diaries of our family cats (created for the amusement of my large extended family). The fourth was a blog about training for and completing the Disney Marathon.

Unfortunately the best cat blog I had going, has now come to an end. Our treasured cat Dougal passed away July 29, 2009.

There are all kinds of blogging tools out there. You can see that I have used and Both are easy to use. The trick is . . . use them. If you intend to be a blogger, you need to keep fresh content on your blog.

There are lots of tools to measure the effectiveness of your blog. You can see how many followers you have, how many views you've had. Which posts got the most interest.

You can link to your blog from a Facebook posting, or a tweet. You can include a link to your blog in an eNewsletter.

There is also a Clarkston Chamber GROUP on Linked in.

I'm not sure when I first joined Linked In. I know from other people's recommendations and experiences that I clearly am not fully utilizing the power of Linked In.

I've personally found the layout and functionality to not be terrifically intuitive. When I start to try and navigate what else Linked In can do . . . I tend to run into road blocks, get frustrated and just forget about it.

So it's something I'm working on. (and I'm open to tips or suggestions on how to get more out of it.)


In January I attended a meeting with the Oakland Chamber Network and heard a presentation from Detroit Regional Chamber on Twitter.

Initially the concept . . . 140 characters of "What are you doing right now?" seemed frivilous.

Yet, in an attempt to one up my sons, (the techie physicists in the family) I asked them if they'd ever heard of Twitter. Naturally they had. One was already on it. The other felt it was a little frivilous and that AIM does the same thing.

With support from the other son, I jumped into Twitter. I started with a personal account, to explore what Twitter is, how it works and how it fits into my schedule. (Like my son in Grad School I don't really have time for another time wasting internet gadget).

During this time period the Twitter explosion happened. Suddenly everyone was talking about Twitter. Oprah joined Twitter.

And the interesting thing is . . . the more people that are on Twitter, the more opportunities there have been for it to be a useful business tool.

I created a Chamber Twitter account (@CACOC). During set up of the account, I discovered you could put the Twitter feed on a website or blog . . . well . . COOL!

With Twitter on the front page of the Chamber's website, everytime I Tweet it updates my website. The power of Twitter is fascinating. The power of being immediate is invigorating.

Initially I looked for people to follow and just listened for awhile. I selected media outlets like the Detroit News, Freepress and Flint Journal. I follow the Pistons, the Tigers and the Lions.

When I found someone whose tweets were intriguing, I looked at who THEY followed and checked them out.

As @CACOC began to Tweet, I had already settled in my mind what "identity" I wanted to the Chamber's Twitter account to take. That helped drive the content I tweeted and retweeted. And it drove the types of people and organizations I follow.

I'm not going to tell you what that identity is . . . check out @CACOC and see if you can figure it out.

How much time does Social Media take?
It's kind of like asking how much time does your family take?
Social Media is about relationships. It needs to be something that's integrated into your daily routine. When you check your email--check twitter and facebook.
Don't let it consume all your free time.

Like gardening, though, you need to nurture the seedlings. Water them. Make sure they have good nutrition (content).

You can't plant seeds and come back 3 months later and wonder why there's no harvest.

Social Media Bootcamp

July 31, 2009 Clarkston Area Chamber hosted dynamic presenters Charlie Wollborg, Curve Detroit and Terry Bean, Motor City Connect.
Additional Presentations by
Dan Izydorek, PC Miracles
What you need to know about computer safety BEFORE you go online and dive into social media.
Sue Kinch, Fresh Eyes Business Services
Effective email marketing
With nearly 60 attendees, this workshop clearly sparked interest in our members. From non-profit organizations and public access TV to Oxford Bank and Genisys Credit Union, we had a wide variety of industries represented.
During introductions, I learned that many of our members are getting involved with Facebook, but aren't sure how to use it in a business capacity. A few members are on Twitter, and many have heard about it, but don't know what it is.
Some members are involved in Linked In, but again, they aren't sure how to maximize it's effectiveness.
There was concern that social media is a big black hole that sucks up time with little ROI.