TVCP News

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Our new Executive Director

On behalf of the Tri-Village Chamber Partnership Board of Directors, we welcome Stephanie Evans as our new Executive Director.

As many of you know, Stephanie served as Membership Manager with the organization since mid-2017.  In this role, she worked closely with our former Executive Director Michelle Wilson. They formed a dynamic duo, helping increase our community connections and further our chamber’s goals.

Stephanie acted as the Interim Executive Director over the past month, and the Board made the unanimous decision to remove Interim from her title and offer her the full time position. Thankfully for the Board, Stephanie accepted.

Stephanie’s passion for our business community will lead us into our next great chapter.

Congratulations Stephanie – we look forward to continued success!

By |2018-10-23T13:21:04+00:00October 23rd, 2018|TVCP News|0 Comments

Online Presence: Website and Social Media

Our August Monthly Luncheon focused on how your business presents itself online.

Isaac Noland from Red Tail Design Co joined us to talk about websites and social media.

We’ve organized a condensed outline of his talk and some links to resources and further reading that can help your business.

Online presence

What your online presence looks like depends on:

  • Your industry
  • Size of your business
  • Where you are located; state, city, neighborhood
  • How much time and money you dedicate to using social media and your website

What is “online presence?”

A holistic view of how your brand is represented on the web.

More specifically, online presence is everything including:

  • The words on the homepage of your website
  • Your twitter profile pic
  • The link in your Instagram bio
  • The about section on your Facebook
[At the luncheon we talked] mainly about what is under your DIRECT control.

Two main components:

  • website
  • social media

Website

It is your home on the web. It may be a person’s first interaction with your brand.

If it’s messy, it can reflect poorly on your company.

It doesn’t need to look flashy or be complicated.

Clean, clear, succinct, informative.

It’s a place where people can answer their own questions about your business.

Ask yourself:

  • How do you think people use or access your website?
    • Mostly on phone or desktop?
  • Have you looked at your company’s website on your phone recently?
    • Tried to use it? If you didn’t know the website already, what would you think?
  • What elements of a website do you think are essential and why?
  • Have you Googled your own business recently?
    • What does the search results page look like?
  • How often do you update the site and what gets updated?
    • Is there a plan or process for updates? Even just a casual one?

Things to do when thinking about building a new site:

  • Look at competitors and others in your industry.
  • What features do their sites have? Do they make sense to have?
  • Make a list of sites you like, note why.
  • Make a list of sites you don’t like, note why.
  • Make a “sitemap,” the pages that you need a new site to have.
  • Plan out the written and visual content of each page.
  • You either need to provide it all or pay for it’s creation, or some mix of the two.*
  • Organize your brand files, make sure you have large pngs of your logo and as many resources as possible to provide.
  • Will you know how to update your site?
  • What if you want to work with a different company later?

*Website designers and developers are not copywriters, they are not photographers, they are not graphic designers. and vice versa. But, any given agency or group probably has some mix of those skills or at least works with people who do. In many cases you should be able to provide rough information and pay a dedicated copywriter (with web experience!) to make it work great for your site’s needs.

Next,

Social media

The big three:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

More specialized:

  • LinkedIn
    • Professional services, B2B
  • Pinterest
    • Visual, arts, creative, lifestyle, life brand, health, beauty

My philosophy for social media and small businesses

There is higher social media potential if someone directly involved with your business is actively using your social media. This means you or your employees personally managing your channels and actively using them every day.

Reasoning;

  • You care about your business more than anyone else
  • You or a direct employee will most likely be frequently present at your place of business
    • Newer, quicker and more casual social media offerings shine here
      • Instagram stories, for example
  • Hiring someone means paying them enough so they can spend the time to know your business as well as you do, and answer questions about it around the clock
  • You’ll spend a lot of time communicating with a hired outside person, providing
    • Pictures
      • Instead of just posting them yourself
    • Brand resources
    • Answers to their questions
      • Instead of just answering them yourself

Can you cut out the middleman? Leverage your intimate knowledge and familiarity of your business while having systems in place that prevent you from getting bogged down in the actual nitty-gritty?

With a little practice, I believe you can have a more robust, active, natural and organic feeling social media presence than you could achieve by hiring someone.

As for knowing where to start and getting that practice:

You can hire someone to create a strategy and train you on its use.

This person/company:

  • Audits your current online presence, researches audiences, industry etc
  • Creates social media goals to support your business goals
  • Designs an actionable plan and consults you on how to carry it out

For example, they can:

  • Identify what aspects of your business’ day-to-day life can be added to an Instagram story every morning, and what the text should be, and who should be tagged.
  • Develop clear, specific social media responsibilities for existing employees, allowing you to empower them with more responsibility (and compensation as necessary) to a degree that helps your business.
  • Help your business build its internal knowledge base and employee skill sets.

Cost analysis:

What does it cost to hire someone month to month,
Vs.
Paying more upfront for a strategy, and time spent with training and or promoting an employee .

I think that in many cases that should even out in less than half a year, and put you in a good spot.

Obviously in the real world it isn’t this clean cut. Building a strategy, sharing responsibilities, and learning new tools can and will look very different for each business.

Main point: it is not one-size-fits-all.

When hiring in the social media field, or identifying employee responsibilities:

Think about, is this person responsible for:

  • Taking photographs?
  • What media are they expected to write for? (Facebook posts, Instagram posts, tweets, blogs)
  • Designing graphics?
  • Making video?

The answer will be a combination of what you already know you want and need, and what a professional recommends. Ask questions! Play to your existing strengths and the strengths of your employees to get the most out of your time.

No matter what your media management structure looks like:

Easy things you can do NOW:

  • Look at all of your active accounts
  • Do you have any old or outdated information in them?
    • Very important for Facebook, there are SO MANY options and settings
  • Where does the bio link go on your Twitter or Instagram?
  • Do you have outdated admin lists on Facebook?

Plus

  • Check social media even if you think you DON’T have an account there, use their search function
  • Organize your properties. Collect passwords, usernames, emails associated with the accounts

How do you determine what social media are right for you?

Questions to ask:

  • What do your competitors use?
  • Where is your audience?
  • What tools do each social media channel offer?
  • How does this channel support your goals?

Can’t be avoided:
You need to dive in and spend time. Try out a new feature on some social media. Be deliberate and think about how your business can use it.


Resources

Download the above outline as a pdf.

In February, Isaac Noland spoke at the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Ohio Winter Conference, hosting sessions on social media with Libby Gierach, Director of the Hilliard Chamber of Commerce.

Included here are some select slides from that presentation. Focusing on Twiter and Instagram, they use examples from the TVCP’s social media when talking about tools available to you.

Click here to download a PowerPoint file of these supplemental materials. 

Blogs and publications to check out:

Social media management tools usually are good sources of information. They work to attract users with useful resources on their blogs.

Hootsuite Blog

Buffer Blog

Both have tons of articles about social media marketing.

For website stuff:

Search Engine Journal

Search Engine Land

All of these publications will have way more articles than you’ll need, so it can be overwhelming if you just dive in. But if you search for specific advice or poke around a bit, you’ll find relevant information that can be enlightening about how your business can use social media and your website.

We hope this has provided you with some useful advice!

Thanks to everyone who made it to Hofbrauhaus in August 2018 for our Monthly Luncheon.

By |2018-10-10T05:42:41+00:00August 13th, 2018|TVCP News|0 Comments

1400 Food Lab – Business Inspires

The 12th episode of our monthly Business Inspires podcast features Scott Humphreys, co-owner of 1400 Food Lab. 1400 Food Lab is a multi-purpose commercial kitchen space, serving as an incubator for food business start-ups, a test kitchen and food experience center.

Scott joins us to discuss topics including lessons learned in a 23 -year army career and taking over the shared-kitchen space and revitalizing the business.

By |2019-09-11T19:45:13+00:00February 12th, 2018|Business Inspires, TVCP News|0 Comments

The Candle Lab – Business Inspires

Since 2007, Steve and Katesha Weaver have grown The Candle Lab brand around custom fragrance. In 2009, they lost the The Candle Lab’s Grandview location to a fire that claimed multiple businesses on Grandview Avenue.

Now the candle lab has locations in Columbus, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh and recently reopened in Grandview. Weaver discusses topics including reopening on Grandview Avenue, the evolution of The Candle Lab and “staying fresh” as a business.

By |2019-09-11T20:06:11+00:00November 7th, 2017|Business Inspires, TVCP News|0 Comments

Tri-Village Coat Drive

Give the gift of warmth this fall and winter.

November 6 through December 20 we’re partnering with the Upper Arlington Rotary Club and Two Men and a Truck to host a coat drive in the Tri-Village area.

We’re accepting donations of new or gently used coats, hats, gloves, and scarves.

Here is a current list of drop-off locations where you can make your donation:

Please let us know if you would like your business to be a donation location and we’ll get a drop-off box to you!

The Tri-Village Chamber Partnership and Upper Arlington Rotary Club will distribute donations throughout the Columbus area.

By |2018-10-10T05:42:44+00:00November 3rd, 2017|TVCP News|0 Comments

7 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Small Business

Grow your small business with LinkedIn by using these seven proven tactics.

There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States, but only half of them will make it past five years. To ensure your small business is in the successful half, we encourage you to capitalize on the various ways LinkedIn can evolve your business.

With LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you can generate leads, produce sales, and hire top professionals to fuel your growth. Here are seven ways to grow your business using LinkedIn:

1. Create a LinkedIn Company Page

We’ve found that LinkedIn members are 50% more likely to buy once they’ve engaged with your business on LinkedIn. But they can’t connect with you if you don’t have a LinkedIn Company Page. According to Forbes, only 57% of companies have pages. The remaining 43% are missing out on a free opportunity to generate leads, talent, and, ultimately, revenue.

If you don’t already have one, create a LinkedIn Company Page. Personal profiles don’t have the same marketing, advertising, and recruiting features as Company Pages, making them less effective at promoting your business. As you create your page, think about the kind of impression you want to create among potential customers and employees. This will help you select the right photos and messages to use on your page.

For a step-by-step guide on how to create an above and beyond Company Page, view our LinkedIn Company Page Best Practices.

 

2. Promote Your Company Page

Once you have a Company Page, announce it to your clients, employees, and personal network. This will help you gain your first followers, who in turn will help to promote your Company Page on the content you post to it.

Promoting your page on other platforms or via email is also a great way to grow your audience. Here are some simple ways to get the word out:

  • Announce the launch of the Company Page on your personal LinkedIn profile
  • Encourage employees to follow the Company Page by making it a part of your onboarding process—Social Media Today reports that content shared by employees receives eight times the engagement as brand shared content
  • Link to your Company Page in the footer of your marketing emails or newsletters
  • Embed a Company Follow button onto your website so visitors can easily follow your LinkedIn Company Page

 

3. Share Content Regularly

The more you post, the more people you can potentially reach and convert. Best-in-class LinkedIn Company Pages are consistently updated to ensure that visitors have plenty of new content to consume and share.

To get started, try posting at least once per week. It’s not uncommon for companies to post three or more times per day. Post whenever you have something worth saying. Posting consistently shows Company Page visitors that your company is active on LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn’s Company Page analytics to see your top performing updates, your best times to post, and which members of your audience are the most engaged. With this information, it’s easy to make data-driven decisions to optimize your Company Page content.

In addition to posting often, here are a few more stats to help you boost engagement:

  • Posts with links receive up to 45% more engagement
  • Images see an incredible 98% increase in engagement
  • Posts that have relevant “best-of” lists get almost 40% more amplification

When a post gets good engagement, consider promoting it to a wider audience with LinkedIn Sponsored Content. Take the Sponsored Content Tour and discover how Sponsored Content amplifies your best content.

 

4. Showcase Thought Leadership

Seventy nine percent of buyers say thought leadership is critical for determining which companies they want to learn more about. To get started with thought leadership content, try to provide a unique perspective on your industry, product, or organization. Sharing your opinion on the future of your industry or creating a definitive guide on your product are just two ways to demonstrate your expertise and position your company as a credible partner.

For more ideas and advice on expanding your brand’s authority, download our Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Thought Leadership to learn more.

 

5. Target Sales Prospects

LinkedIn has over 500 million users to date. That may seem like a lot to sort through, but LinkedIn also provides you with tools to identify and target your ideal audience.

LinkedIn members are more likely than other social media users to keep their profiles up-to-date, making it easier for you to find the right people. Use LinkedIn profile data to search for LinkedIn members based on geographic location, education, experience, and even connections. Once you’ve found prospects using the search feature, visit their profiles. Their endorsements or recent profile views might surface additional qualified prospects, too.

For more ways to reach your ideal audience, learn how to advertise on LinkedIn.

 

6. Build an All-Star Team

LinkedIn has helped 75% of job switchers make informed career decisions, making LinkedIn a top recruiting network. What are candidates looking for when making those decisions? Our research shows that 66% of candidates want to see company culture over everything else. To take advantage of this preference, consider enhancing your Company Page with a LinkedIn Career Page.

Career Pages allow you to target audiences with a personalized look into your company, culture, and jobs. They give you dedicated Life and Jobs Tabs on your Company Page that attract and engage relevant professionals.

In addition to creating Career Pages, encourage employees to share job postings and “day in the life” content as well. This gives visitors a genuine idea of what it’s like to work for you and adds to your authenticity. If you have a few employees who lead the pack in sharing content, consider linking them to your Company Page’s Life Tab. Their shared articles and recent updates will automatically populate, providing visitors with up-to-date information. Watch our video below on how to use the Life Tab to attract the right talent for your company.

 

7. Hire Freelancers

You’ve probably had an employee who took on a task outside of their domain. You might have even done it yourself a few times. While the effort is commendable, learning on the fly can also be detrimental.

Fortunately, finding the right talent for the task at hand isn’t as tricky as it once was, even if you can’t afford the salary of a full time employee.

LinkedIn ProFinder enables you to post your projects, receive free proposals, and hire trustworthy professionals all in one place. ProFinder will even pair you with local professionals to ensure you have the best freelance experience possible. With 172 professional services available on ProFinder, it’s easy to find the perfect professional for any task.

LinkedIn vets all  the professionals on the platform to ensure they are qualified and leverages your network to find freelancers your connections have used, so you’re never in the dark about who you’re hiring.

By using freelancers, you’ll get access to outside perspectives & broad experience of professionals of all kinds, from creating websites and designing logos to managing your books or crafting your marketing strategy. Plus, with none of the management overhead of a full-time employee, you can focus solely on the job at hand.

By |2018-10-10T05:42:45+00:00August 24th, 2017|TVCP News|0 Comments

Community & Business Directory 2017

Coming off of our merger year, we’re excited to share with you our 2017 Tri-Village Chamber Partnership Community & Business Directory. It includes information about the TVCP, the communities we serve and over 600 members across dozens of business categories.

Read the directory embedded below. You can also read the directory as a pdf here or follow this link to read it directly on Issuu.

Caffeine junkies beware, the cover will probably make you crave coffee. But don’t worry, our member coffee houses are on page 36.

By |2017-03-22T16:40:43+00:00March 22nd, 2017|TVCP News|0 Comments

TVCP Membership Drive 2017

Want to help the TVCP while helping yourself? Refer new members and win, figuratively AND literally. Seriously, there are prizes. Check it out:

You can also get to the application by clicking the “Join Now” button at the bottom of this page or in our banner. Feel free to share that signup form directly, or share this post so prospective members will know what prizes they will be entered to win.

If you’re signing up, make sure to write the existing member that referred you in the “referred by” section in the membership application. It’s toward the top of the application under “Business Information.”

We’re thankful to our fantastic members for contributing prizes and helping refer new members. Our prize package represents a bounty of products and services from the Tri-Village area. Don’t forget the best way to benefit: refer three new members and get free membership for 2018!

By |2018-10-10T05:42:46+00:00March 8th, 2017|TVCP News|0 Comments