When the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce launched its new website over a year ago it wanted to create a business news hub befitting Manitoba’s largest and most diverse business association. As extensive as that website would be, the Chambers knew there would be a lot of user-generated content – events, ideas and discussions – that couldn’t fit nicely into the main website. As a result, and true to its nature as a grassroots organization, it created the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce Virtual Network.
“We picked a service called Ning over Facebook and Twitter because Ning allowed people to post events on a communal calendar in addition to the traditional discussions and posts that occur on the other social media platforms”, explains Dan Overall, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce Director of Policy and Communications. “We heard Ning was being used more as a resource for associations so we built the site and waited to see if ‘they would come’.”
And come they did – the Virtual Network now boasts over 200 members – in fact, 213 as of the writing of this post.
Membership on the Manitoba Chambers Virtual Network is open to anyone and is free.
It’s a great way to promote yourself, your business, and the organizations and causes you believe in.
Here are some great examples of personal pages Virtual Network members have set up:
- Florence Leung of PeerFx: click here
- The Winnipeg Foundation: click here
- Lynne Robidoux Burndorfer: click here
Overall says the numbers are particularly gratifying because the site hasn’t really been promoted that much – something that will change soon as the Chambers is set to embark on a major outreach to Manitoba’s businesses and local chambers.
To celebrate the 200-plus mark the site has added a new blog feature. Now, members that post blogs on their own MCC Virtual Network page will have that entry profiled on the left-hand side of the Virtual Network’s front page.
Next Steps and Sponsorship Opportunities:
Ning is offering a ton of new features. The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce will be taking advantage of these features and adding some perks of its own to enhance the benefits of participating in the Virtual Network.
To help fund these changes the Chambers is making a maximum of three sponsorship opportunities available. Not only will sponsors be supporting the cause of bringing Manitoba’s business community and chambers together, it’s great opportunity to raise their profile.
The three sponsors will be able to run banner ads along the right side of each page of the Virtual Network. To see an example of the possibilities check out the banner ads on the left side of our good friend Tyra Banks’ Ning site (ok, Tyra doesn’t know us from a hole in the ground but she has a great Ning page) here.
As well, an article thanking the sponsors will be posted on the main MCC website and included in the MCC’s Focus Magazine (the magazine goes out to 10,000 businesses and community leaders across Manitoba).
Those interested in sponsoring the MCC Virtual Network can contact Dan Overall at [email protected] or call 948-0103.