Networking in Charleston: Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce

Networking plays a crucial role in our marketing strategy here at Rooted ID. We've attended events, joined a few organizations and have developed some favorites along the way. We will be sharing some of those throughout the month of May. Marketing advice is never one-size-fits-all, but knowledge is power! Hopefully our experiences will inspire you to do a little research of your own. This post is the first in our networking series. Be sure to tune in next week for another feature.

In the spring of 2015, The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce hosted a series of focus groups in which member organizations shared opinions regarding existing and future chamber offerings. These conversations were designed to address the specific needs of small business members (organizations with 50 employees or less). Prior to 2015, the chamber had been met with some criticism from small business owners who, despite accounting for 80% of chamber membership, felt that events and programming catered to larger organizations such as Boeing.

The Charleston Metro Chamber listened and responded posthaste.

Small Business Package 

A Small Business Package program was introduced in July of 2015, making chamber membership more advantageous to small businesses than ever before. The program delivers a wealth of services and support to propel business growth (such as Ask the Expert events and educational webinars). They also offer exposure through the chamber’s membership directory and various leadership roles. We were one of many businesses to place membership after the chamber renewed their focus on smaller organizations.

I genuinely enjoy meeting new people, and chamber events have been a great vehicle for that. While we have certainly gained business from our chamber membership, I most value the educational opportunities. I know more about local infrastructure than ever before… I am more engaged with my community and feel more ‘plugged in’ to the Charleston metro area as a whole.
— Jennifer Morrow, Rooted ID Founder

Chamber events have opened a lot of networking doors for us and may help you to expend your professional network too. Most events are open to non-members, and some (such as the Chamber Connect events) are completely free to attend.

Local Area Chambers 

The Charleston Metro Chamber has taken small business offerings a step further with an “enhanced delivery model.” Chamber events and programs are now segmented into Local Area Chambers (Central, East, North and West) so that members have convenient access to information that is most relevant to where they live and work.

This segmented approach isn’t just a model for chamber events; it has truly influenced how the Charleston Metro Chamber develops and disseminates programming. Their website reflects this effort. Large websites are notoriously difficult to navigate, but the chamber has added some useful ways to filter information. Search functions and color coded info helps users locate events and programs designed for their area without sacrificing the big picture view of what’s happening city-wide.       

Interested in chamber membership, but not quite ready to take the plunge? Try an event! Jennifer regularly attends BYIB and Connect West events. Email if you would like to meet up.