Back before the “likes” and “shares” of Facebook dominated social media, the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce was on the cutting edge of the technology with Face2Face, a privately branded social network that was ahead of its time. Tim Fahndrich of Third River Marketing, a Chamber member, introduced the technology platform to Kyle Sexton, then Director of Member Services, who was the genius behind Face2Face. Be sure to read the Wall Street Journal article from 2009 that features Third River Marketing and Kyle Sexton.
The Salem Chamber is revamping the platform and rolling out a Member News publication form for the website. It will allow members to post press releases, events and other exciting updates directly to the Chamber website and social media. Read more about the incredible resource Face2Face became to members and how it has shaped this update.
Take us back to the beginning of Face2Face.
Back in 2009, Facebook wasn’t as big back then. It was just starting to get some steam. Third River had set up a site for side hobby of ours, and we had used the platform that Face2Face was built on. It was cool because it was a new way to build a private social network that we could brand for ourselves.
I showed Kyle Sexton, former Director of Member Services, the technology, and he was really interested in using it for the Chamber so member businesses could connect with one another without having to ‘show up’ at events. It was a new way of connecting and sharing member news with fellow members. Kyle took it and implemented it for the Chamber. Kyle and I are great friends so it made sense for us to work together on this project.
It also helped member businesses show up as search engine results because Face2Face was an authority site. In the end, though, the platform just didn’t keep up with the technology updates to compete with Facebook and other social networks as they took over. It was closed and for members only, which made it a valuable resource for members at the time.
What were the best elements of Face2Face?
The whole idea was to be able to benefit from Chamber membership and connect with other members without having to attend events that some members are too busy to attend. It allowed members to have a voice and share company news. It was amplified too because everything posted on Face2Face was shared on the Chamber website and on the Chamber’s social media channels. At the time, it was incredibly innovative as a marketing resource.
What was the coolest part about Face2Face for you on the backend?
It was cool to see Chamber members embrace Face2Face. We brought the opportunity to the table, and it was rewarding to have members get excited about it and want to join the platform. Hundreds of members started using it and that was really satisfying.
How can Face2Face live on?
I think the Chamber has realized that other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have really dominated the space, and that it is nearly impossible to focus on all that are available to use so throwing Face2Face into the mix, made it difficult to use it with the other accessible competitors. Face2Face can live on by giving members a voice through the news publishing resource on the Chamber website. It lives on by tapping into the power of Facebook too and sharing member news, press releases and event updates. It gives them all the benefits of Face2Face without tapping into yet another social media platform.
I think the news update stays true to the roots of the goal that Kyle had in mind in the first place, which was to give members a place to connect without showing up and amplify exciting news.
What are some of your passions, and how do they inspire you day-to-day?
One of my biggest passions is generating results for our customers. One of Third River’s “whys” is to partner with our customers for a measurable impact and help them get more business, hire more people and be more successful. We have generated millions of dollars in revenue for our customers, which in turn has generated more local jobs, and has supported the local economy. At the end of the day, this is really satisfying, and keeps us working hard every day for our customers.