Chamber targets students, entrepreneurs with social media outreach

WASHINGTON: The US Chamber of Commerce is using social media to target students and entrepreneurs in the next phase of the organization's flagship "Campaign for Free Enterprise."

WASHINGTON: The US Chamber of Commerce is using social media to target students and entrepreneurs in the next phase of the organization's flagship “Campaign for Free Enterprise.”

The Chamber launched an online video contest in March, asking people to submit three-minute videos talking about free enterprise and small businesses, said Katie Wilson, director of communications and strategy for the Chamber.
 
It is also holding regional events for high school and college students to promote the contest and the campaign, as well as provide mentors and tools for students interested in starting their own businesses.

“Toward the beginning of the year, we rolled out our strategy for new American jobs,” said JP Fielder, director of media relations for the Chamber. “Now, we're digging down deep into each different silo – how can the younger crowd create jobs? How can small businesses create jobs?”

In October, the Chamber launched the “Campaign for Free Enterprise,” a multiyear, integrated campaign aimed at promoting the benefits of free enterprise in the US. It is working with Powell Tate and Purple Strategies.

The Washington-based organization partnered with the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour, a year-old organization that puts on seminars for students. The group will help the Chamber manage its college tour. A kick-off event was held in Grand Rapids, MI, on March 30 for about 400 college and high school students. Similar events are planned for cities in South Carolina and California.

Media outreach is targeted at local business journals and regional publications.

“The campaign is great because it extends beyond Washington,” said Wilson. “We're going out to people that the Chamber doesn't traditionally talk to although we have a very high name recognition.”

The Chamber is also promoting its video contest at the events and through the campaign's Facebook and Twitter pages. Videos are posted to the campaign Web site and YouTube channel; the Chamber also created a Facebook application.

The five videos with the most views will be in the running for three prizes, with the winner receiving $50,000.

Wilson said the organization reached out to student groups, entrepreneur film associations, film and business schools, business fraternities, entrepreneurial groups, business incubators, and film festivals to promote the contest.

“With the video contest, we're trying to hit a multitude of audiences,” said Wilson. “We're going to some of our membership, the small businesses, but we're also targeting younger people because a lot of people doing these sorts of things are a younger generation.

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