I recently took a survey sent to me by the Western Association of Chamber Executives. The focus of the survey was social networking. At the Dana Point Chamber, we are big advocates of social networking and use it to expand our reach in to the community. From Facebook and Twitter, to LinkedIn and Plaxo, there are many social networking applications that can help build awareness for your company or organization.
It surprises me when so many businesses and organizations discount the importance of social networking and media. Does this mean that your company has to have a Facebook page or a blog? No, it doesn’t. But be aware that your current and potential customers are like to have one…and it does impact your business.
For example, in the past month, I have seen three Chamber members mentioned in blogs or on a Facebook page…and not in a positive manner. I happen to personally know the owners of these businesses, so I know that the comments made in those social networking outlets were exaggerated. But would a potential customer or client know that?
The fact is that the internet and social networking are fast replacing traditional sources of information…just ask the Seattle Post-Intelligencer or any major newspaper in Philadelphia. However, unlike traditional media sources, the internet contains highly subjective and sometimes incorrect information. This doesn’t mean the internet is junk or invaluable…it’s quite the opposite. This means businesses and organizations have a chance to tell their story the way they want it to be told, not how someone else sees it.
About once a month, I google “Dana Point Chamber of Commerce”. Why? I want to know what is being said about our organization, both positively and negatively. A while back, I found a comment in an OC Register article that discussed our new website. The commented noted that there was no membership application on the website. There was an application on the website, but perhaps it was not prominent enough on the site. We made that change and we have seen an increase in new members who have joined because they were able to easily find our application online. We turned a small comment found on a newspaper website into revenue…all from a simple Google search.
Businesses and organizations need to recognize the power of social networking and media. While it may not make a huge impact in your day to day operations, it could impact how you are perceived by current and future customers. If are interested in learning more about how the Chamber has benefitted from social networking and how you might be able to apply the same results, please contact us. And for those of you are ready taking advantage of social networking, you can follow the chamber on Twitter or add us as a friend on Facebook by searching Dana Point Chamber.