Get the most out of a chamber membership

Although most people have some knowledge of what functions a chamber of commerce serves, business leaders may not be aware of the extent to which they can get involved in and make the most of a chamber membership.

Aside from monthly networking events, which allow members to connect with one another and form mutually beneficial business relationships, there are several lesser-known ways to take advantage of a chamber membership.

Among chamber offerings is a member directory profile page, in which businesses can gain an online presence to increase backlinking web search counts and enhance their search engine optimization (SEO). Through a profile page, businesses can upload videos, social media links and their company description to enhance their multimarketing campaigns. Additionally, because most chambers are considered authoritative sites with Google (verify with your chamber) the third-party website listing gives members added business validation and market credibility.

Free ribbon-cutting ceremonies are another ideal avenue for businesses to introduce themselves to the community, fellow chamber members and potential customers. Members should make a ribbon-cutting a full-fledged event that highlights whatever it is they do so attendees can experience their produce or service.

As for the art of networking, those who do it best don’t attend events seeking to make a sale, but instead to serve as a resource partner for someone.

Every chamber is a little different, but all should have some options for advertising, including website, member-to-member ads or through sponsoring events. These advertising tools provide ways for members to gain exposure in front of a receptive, targeted audience.

Policy input and outreach also allow your chamber to meet your business needs. By completing surveys or participating in discussions on matters that affect your business at the local, state and federal levels, your voice is better represented when your chamber is advocating on your behalf to our elected leaders. Many chambers are involved in policy matters, and they spend time and energy supporting their members. Give feedback and make your voice heard.

Perhaps surprisingly to some, not everyone joins a chamber to boost business growth. Often, businesses join to be good community partners. For those businesses, the best way to get the most out of their membership would be to simply read their chamber’s e-newsletters to stay abreast of what’s being done with their membership dollars.

Of course, people join chambers for different reasons. Your goal will guide how you make the most of your chamber membership and how it will benefit your business. Ultimately, your chamber should provide a variety of avenues you can pursue to help meet and exceed those needs.

Lisa Chao is vice president of membership for the Henderson Chamber of Commerce.