I had the pleasure of sitting down with Lauren Getts of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. Lauren has a unique opportunity of getting a “behind-the-scenes” look at what drives the businesses within our community. I am excited to share Lauren’s story and her passion for supporting the economic growth here in the Queen City, and how she accomplishes that through effective and holistic marketing (with some help from Explorics too!)
Taryn Harpool: Hi Lauren, do you mind describing your role at the GMCC?
Lauren Getts: My title is Member Communications manager and I’ve been working at the chamber for three years now. I develop and manage all of the Chamber’s print and digital publications, website, email communications, social media, our media relations efforts, and event promotions. I also spend a lot of time on tourism efforts—so working to attract visitors, new residents and businesses to the greater Manchester area. All of these pieces go together when keeping our membership informed on how their investment drives the work and initiatives. That’s it in a nutshell.
TH: Wow, so it sounds like you really have your hands full with some great initiatives for the Manchester community! With all of that, what would you say are your favorite aspects of working with the GMCC?
LG: My favorite aspect is helping our Chamber members to feel connected to the community and assist them with telling their story. It’s important to build connections by getting to know the person and the story behind their business. That’s really what makes Manchester unique-the people and the businesses that make up the community and how everyone plays a part in that.
TH: Knowing that the GMCC plays a huge role in helping businesses find success has to feel awesome. What would you say the most important role that the GMCC serves right now in the community?
LG: The Chamber works very hard to drive the economic health of the entire region. We support business growth, professional development, and networking opportunities all while advocating for our membership. One important role that we do play today, that we may not have always focused on is bridging the gap between the educational community and the business community. We’re super-focused on workforce development right now—because they go hand-in-hand when it comes to retaining people here in the Manchester area.
TH: Can you describe some of the marketing or branding tools that you use to help these new businesses get their names out there and grow?
LG: We use social media, email marketing, a few print publications, and also our website. We use a tool called ChamberMaster, it allows our members to post job openings, share news or community events, as well as enhance their business directory listing. We also have some creative marketing and branding opportunities at our events for businesses of any size and for every budget. We try to have a conversation with each member and see what their goals are and help them build out what would work best from there.
TH: I understand you have a pretty large and continually growing social presence. Can you describe the process of how the GMCC started adopting social media?
LG: We’ve grown all three channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, & Instagram) over the past 3 years that I’ve been here. I think where we’ve seen success is when we stop focusing on getting people to join the Chamber and getting people to attend an event, and focus more on being thought leaders and resourceful content providers. Another piece of it is promoting the region. People love to see beautiful photos of the city, a great shot from a road race downtown, or just highlighting certain people from the community. We want to center our social media around the community and not just focus on ourselves.
TH: Can you describe any specific challenges that you faced early on, or even recently with social media?
LG: One challenge we’ve experienced is making sense of the data we get from our social media channels and email marketing campaigns. It can be challenging to understand why some things work and sometimes they don’t. Every channel has a different audience who want different things, so I avoid sharing the same content to each channel. People go to all three channels for different reasons, so sometimes it can be a challenge to know what people want to see. We’re learning as we go, and trying to better improve.
TH: Well this nicely segues into my next question! The GMCC is an Explorics customer, and I’d love to learn what drove the decision to become a user, and what challenges were you looking to solve?
LG: We chose Explorics because we were really excited about supporting a startup in Manchester’s Millyard. The exciting high- tech growth that’s happening in the Millyard is incrediblel to follow and we want to see success. We were also looking to solve those challenges that I had mentioned before with social media and connecting all that data. Making sense of all of our analytics and turning it into something measurable across all channels, all at once, is extremely helpful and saves me a lot of time!
TH: You’ve been an Explorics user for a couple of months now, can you name some of the benefits that you’ve received using the platform?
LG: The biggest benefit is that it really is a huge time-saver. It gives me a way to show my team statistics visually and I don’t have to take the time to create pie charts and graphs on my own. It’s great to hear my coworkers react to what website pages were getting the most traction, and the most visitors–those numbers really surprised them. We’re excited to come up with ways to present that to our membership and use it for recruitment. We’re also looking for ways to use this data as a benefit of membership.
TH: Would you recommend Explorics to any other organizations, and why?
LG: I would absolutely recommend Explorics to other organizations because even when you have the best intentions, it’s nearly impossible to accurately measure all the data across all channels. On top of that, the majority of our membership is comprised of small businesses that may not have a dedicated employee for marketing. This will allow them to have some of the same benefits of a full-time marketing person. I think it will also get them excited to grow their social media presence and be a tool for getting new followers to turn into eventual customers. I’m pretty excited about it, I definitely think other businesses will be too.
TH: For any new businesses curious on joining the chamber, what’s the easiest way for them become a part of the GMCC?
LG: Connect with us! We like to sit down with people and listen to what their business goals and challenges are. Every chamber membership is unique and we really try to cater to people individually. Know that we’re very open to having a conversation about you and your business and we’re here to help.
For more information about the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, click here! If you’re interested in learning more about Explorics and how we can help your business, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org