Monday, March 26, 2012

Insider Tips for the Clarkston Area

At a recent event, we asked Chamber members to share their insider tips for the Clarkston area.

"Use Pine Knob Road to get to DTE Energy Music Theatre."
Nathan Sealey, Brass Ring Wealth Management

"Check out the Back Court restaurant at Deer Lake Athletic Club.  It's open to the public and has great food!"
Tammie White, Deer Lake Banquet Center

"It's a small community.  Everybody knows everybody!"
Jason Ryan, Groupon

"When you network with good people, your business grows."
Denise Poniatowski, Divine Nutrition

Chamber Staff have a few recommendations too:

Downtown is very walkable.  It's the perfect after work or weekend route for meeting friends, taking the dog for a walk or exploring with your kids.

If you want a good seat at Concerts in the Park, come early (by 6:00).  As an added bonus, you get to hear the local talent pre-show.

The biggest parade on Main Street with the July 4th parade.  If you want a seat on the curb in the downtown area, you'll need to stake out your spot by 8:30.  However, you can find great spots at the start of end of the parade route up until the start time of the parade (10 am).

Look around.  Hidden gems like Via Bologna are tucked away--but they are well worth hunting out.

We love to dine outside. Now that the weather is nice, we look forward to eating outside.  Check out Mr. B's Roadhouse, Mesquite Creek, Clarkston Union, Union Woodshop, Dairy Queen, Via Bologna and more!

The Clarkston Historical Museum is located at the Independence Township Library.  Beautiful visual displays change on a regular basis.  It's well worth a stop by while you're checking out the latest audio book collections or DVDs.

The Spraypark at Clintonwood Park is a great place to take the kids.

We have a LOT of recreational options in the Clarkston area.  Between beaches, golf courses, the ski hill, cross country skiing, hiking, fishing, fitness trails and bike paths--our area also hosts a variety of fitness race events, 5Ks, fun runs and walk-a-thons.

Go ahead . . . show off!  Invite your friends and family to come see Clarkston.  Show off your own "insider tips" as you give them a tour.  We have lots to offer!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Finding and Keeping Quality Employees--tips from our members

At a recent Business over Breakfast, we asked our members to share tips on how to find and keep quality employees.  Here's what they said:

"Compensation. Incentives. Benefits. Encouragement."
--Joy Vander Weel, All Saints Cemetery

"Make employee feel appreciated. Offer sales incentives.  Thank them often. Give encouragement.  Great benefits include: health, 401k match, excellent vacation time.  Genisys Credit Union is Hiring!  Full and part time.  Apply online at"
--Hollie Sayles, Genisys Credit Union

"The greatest way to attract and keep employees is how you treat them."
--Ron DeLorme, Manage Max Performance Improvement

"Involve the employees in the decision making."
--Carol Peters, Lafontaine Automotive Group

"Offer incentives like tuition reimbursement."
--Fred Ritter, Clarkston Autowash Co.

"Feed them."
--Chris Collins, Planet Kids Premier Academy

"Use 4 hour working interviews and ask staff opinions."
--Dr. Bryan Cornwall, Advanced Petcare of Oakland

"Invest in them!  Spend time getting to know their dreams.  Love them (in the right way)."
--Janet Tait, Wellness Enhancement LLC

"Work for your wife.  Divorce is expensive."
--David Jackson, Ideas for You

"Define jobs specifically.  Recruit widely.  design interview questions to reveal job skills.  Do not SETTLE for warm body!  Lots of talent available in Michigan."
--Ron DeLorme, Manage Max Performance Improvement

"Casual Friday."
--Fritz Jackson, Ideas for You

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Social Media Tips--What's working for our members

At a recent BOB, we asked our Chamber members, "What's working for you with Social Media?"

"Keep tweets limited to 120 characters so others can retweet.  (RT)"
Jason T. Ryan, Vision Fuel Media

"Facebook is working!  I spend 10 minutes a day.  I respond to other's posts.  One in 20 of my posts is about my business, the rest is about my life."
Laura Jasurda, Rodan and Fields

"I'm a fan.  Linked in helps you think strategically about your contacts.  You can use it to send a thank you for connecting--it leads to conversations."
Larry Ribits, Keaton Publications

"I use Constant Contact--it helps me stay in touch and in front of customers and clients, even in the busy times."
Tom Lowrie, Lowrie's Landscape

"Having information about our natural burial area The Preserve, is bringing great interest to our website."
Russ Burns, All Saints Cemetery

Cross links from Twitter to Facebook to Linked in etc and to your website will help you come up higher in Google and other search engines."
Tom Kiihr, Signs Now Waterford

From the Chamber staff
There are a lot of online social media marketing outlets and tools out there
Invest a little time learning about what each has to offer
Go to where your target audience (and prospective audience) spends their time

TWITTER, the Chamber utilizes Social Oomph to pre-schedule tweets.
Look for content that's easy and interesting to tweet for these pre-scheduled tweets.
We use motivational and inspiration quotes
DTE Energy music theater concert announcements
Local blood drives and community events and activities.
Along with general Chamber information, trivia and tips.
We also use Tweetdeck to "listen".  We've set up columns to capture keywords and phrases of interest to our community.  When people tweet about Clarkston--we want to hear what they're saying.

CROSS LINK We've connected Twitter and Linked In to our Facebook page.  When we post once--it shows up on all 3 Social media outlets.

FACEBOOK--photos and weblinks grab the eye and engage the audience.
Asking questions--even simple ones like "What's your favorite flavor ice cream" can engage the readers.  Let them tell you what they like.

What else is out there?  
Have videos of your business, events, activities, products, testimonials and staff?  Upload them to YouTube and link to them from Facebook and Twitter
Have photos of your business, events, activities, products and staff?  Use Flickr to post them online.
Sign up for Pinterest and learn how to "pin" photos to your public bulletin boards.  You'll find out what people respond to when they Like or Repin your photos and videos.
If you've posted photos or videos on your website, Flickr or YouTube, you can PIN them to your Pinterest boards.  (Facebook photos and videos don't pin . . .yet)

If you have a retail business, you might want to investigate FOURSQUARE.  This social media, location based smart phone app encourages users to announce where they are by "checking in" with their phone.  Retailers and restaurants can capitalize on this by finding out who visits them on a regular basis.  You can also encourage users who are nearby to come on in and check your business out, by posting a special offer on FOURSQUARE.  When a user is in the area, their phone will tell them what special offers are nearby.

There's a lot of social media tools that are out there--free of charge--but needing an investment of your time to learn and keep current your online presence.

There are also a lot of tools out there for additional charges (many of these are nominal annual fees) to upgrade your accounts, give you access to more features or even monitor and manage your online presence for you.