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.