For the past year the Windham Region Chamber of Commerce has been working with hundreds of individuals, business owners and artists helping them navigate our new “virtual” world created by the pandemic. It was shocking to learn that many of our clients did not even have email addresses, did not understand that they had a Google Business listing (or what that was), never created a social media platform (with some exceptions who had Facebook pages to showcase their kids and pets), could not figure out how to un-mute themselves on zoom, and found it difficult to locate important information and applications for COVID assistance. You may be saying, “no way” but it is true, life does actually exist outside of the internet!
Our program, Business TAP, Technology Advancement Program, pairs up a client with a “marketing specialist” who will meet with them, figure out their needs and expectations to better promote their business, and then make suggestions on what technology would be most useful. The specialist will then work with the client in creating a Facebook page, for example, but more importantly, will teach them how to use the platform, how to post, what to post and when to post, to reach the client’s goals. They also leave both written instructions and video instructions so that clients can refer back to them if needed.
“The goal of the program is to introduce virtual tools to help businesses grow in a world that has become more virtual than in-person, and to teach, instruct and consult so that the client will be able to continue to promote their business on their own. The only eligibility requirement is that the client understand that we are not here to do the work for them, we are here to teach them about scary technology so they can do it for themselves, a ‘we will teach them to fish, not give them the fish’ kind of strategy,” said Diane Nadeau, President/CEO of the Windham Region Chamber of Commerce.
The types of assistance vary according to the type of business, the knowledge the client already has about technology, and their expectations. Sample skills include creating Facebook, Instagram, Linked-In sites, sending newsletters via Constant Contact, updating their Google Business site, learning how to use Zoom for meetings, webinars and videos, and Facebook live. The Chamber will also create a one minute commercial video for each client that showcases their business. When complete, the business will be featured by the Chamber on all of our virtual platforms and will be able to use the video however they chose.
This program has been supported by our partners, Eastern CT State University, Liberty Bank Foundation and The Last Green Valley. If you would like to become a client please contact the chamber at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 860-428-7739. This program is free and is open to any business in the Windham Region.