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August Chairman's Corner: Getting Engaged and Going Social
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I hope everyone is have a great summer!

You might think that summer would be a slower time of year at the Chamber, but not so! We had over 125 people come to our summer networking event at Mayflowers in the Reston Town Center. Thanks to sponsors, Mon Ami Gabi and Mayflowers, for sponsoring our event.

This month’s message is a continuation of two themes that I previously highlighted for this year: member engagement and expanded use of social media. Let’s start with member engagement. How does an organization get involved in the Chamber? How can you maximize your Chamber membership? How can you individually get most of your Chamber membership?

Let's first start with your organization getting involved. There are many ways that organizations can get engaged in the Chamber, from business partners to sponsorships. Getting your company name and logo out there in the business community will go a long way to let Chamber members know who you are.

Organizations also are involved by being presenters at our Business Education series and other programming. And, of course, our member organizations are involved and engaged in our two biggest events of the year, Oktoberfest and the Taste of Reston. In October, the Chamber will be involved with Volunteer Fairfax and Fairfax County’s Community Service Day (more information on this one soon). Over the years, my own Training Solutions company has participated in many ways with business organizations to help get our message out; and it has worked, not only when we just started our business, but even now.

How do you get personally involved with the Chamber? What are the benefits to you by volunteering? My personal involvement in Chamber activities has also helped my company; and your involvement can help your organization. With most businesses, success depends on a foundation of strong relationships. Many of our clients can be traced back to a Chamber or other organization where personal connections and trust were built.

The Chamber also has volunteer opportunities for you to learn a new skill, assume leadership responsibility and make new friends. Over the years, I have served on membership, program, finance, sponsorship and public policy committees. At first as a member, and later, in some areas, committee co-chair. I was able to expand my knowledge of Chamber operations, and eventually was elected to some of the boards of those organizations. My Chamber involvement has benefited me and the Chamber. As I have mentioned over the years, help yourself as you help the Chamber.

Where do I start to learn these opportunities? How do I get better involved to maximize my membership? A good place to start is the Chamber New and Prospective Member Orientation. At that meeting you will get a full briefing on all the opportunities to get involved in the Chamber. The next one is on September 12th, and it is FREE! I hope I see you there!

As we continue to move into the social media age, how can we as a Chamber expand the use of social media to both get our message out and to do our work? Do you tweet? Do you update? Do you post? Do you YouTube? Do you Tout? Do you Social Cam? Do you have no idea what I am talking about?

As we are learning more and more, social media is here to stay. How do we embrace this and make it work for the Chamber and for you? If you are not tweeting about Chamber activities you’re attending, you should! Are you a Fan of the Chamber’s Facebook page, you should be! Are you following the Chamber on Twitter? Are you a member of the Chamber’s LinkedIn group, you should be! Getting engaged in the social media aspects of the Chamber will help you gain more skill and more comfort using the technology. We have used social media to enhance our own company’s outreach, and it does work (even the YouTube Channel for our business).

How can you better use the Chamber website to enhance your business? Have you checked out the how-to videos on the Chamber site and some of the training there? The Chamber’s Business Education Series will be hosting a session on August 22nd called “Get Out of Your Comfort Zone-Networking On and Offline Using Your Chamber Resources”. The hands-on workshop will show you how to “use the Chamber’s website – and more online tools – to increase your organization’s digital presence.” For more information, click here: http://www.restonchamber.org/events/eventdetail.aspx?EventID=1134. The session is FREE to members!

Social Media is here to stay, so let’s embrace this technology. People, especially the younger generations, are growing up with these tools. The technologies are naturally integrated into their personal lives as well as their business lives. Let’s embrace it, learn and grow our businesses with it.

Our big event this month is our annual International Network Night in partnership with the Dulles Regional Chamber. Hope you can join us!

See you around the Chamber.

C. Michael Ferraro
Board Chair, Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce

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