Lets face it, if there is an industry that is need of help of understanding how to use social networking to improve their image and business development it is the professional golf industry. There are a number of levels of golf professionals. They range from the most visible of the industry, the Tour Players, to the most invisible of the profession, the club management and teaching professionals. Within the ranks of the professional golf association and others outside that membership, there is a
broad capacious colossal considerable copious enormous excessive exorbitant extensive generous giant gigantic goodly grand grandiose great hefty huge humongous immeasurable immense jumbo liberal massive monumental mountainous plentiful populous roomy sizable spacious stupendous substantial sweeping vast voluminous whopping wide large misunderstanding of how to use social media effectively.
This is not to say the golf industry is NOT using social media. It is how they are using social media which is the concern. How some, not all, of the golf professionals and tangible businesses who support the golf profession are using social media today is
amazing astounding breathtaking extraordinary staggering startling stupefying stupendous wondrous awful.
Here is an example..this blog is being posted on a Saturday. Lets add in that this Saturday is on the most popular mid-summer Holiday in the USA (where most of the golf professional of the world seem to have problems with SM). From a rough SITD (shot in the dark) about 90% of those who are online will not see this blog at all or until maybe (if I am lucky) Tuesday after the Holiday. About 5% who are online frequently could possibly pick this up later this afternoon. 3% of the remaining 100% will see this about an hour after it hits the RSS. 1% will get the blog and not make this far into reading it since they are not interested in learning how to use social media effectively and feel they are doing it correctly since their buddy, the local Facebook King, told them how to play the ‘Hey, Check Me Out’ game.
This leaves YOU, the amazing 1% of the golf professionals who are now going to get to see how foolish the rest of the golf profession is looking to the rest of the entire world which is yours and their customers (and mind). For that, I thank you and want to reward you by now cutting to the chase and breaking down where things are going wrong for the golf professionals who are clowning around with social media.
Lets take a look at the two social networking platforms so many golf professionals are misusing the most.
First of all, YES, there are a few (very few) of the worlds golf professionals who are doing a ‘somewhat’ effective job of using Twitter. Could they do better? Yes.
Twitter has evolved into a ‘Must Be There’ social network. Even the mainstream conservative business icons are now seeing Twitter as another stop on a consumer’s checklist to validate the business or company professionalism. The Golf Industry is included. However, being on Twitter can be a negative for most if they use it, like so many misguided souls do, as a gauge of their popularity.
Twitter boils down to being a mini-blog and as most people who are effectively using social media know the BLOG is the center piece of a person’s or business’ image. Many golf professionals fall for thinking Twitter is a Billboard or something that they can broadcast info thinking the few tens of thousands of persons, places and THINGS, that are following them will read it and REACT positively. In reality, the vast majority of the number of followers they have did not see the post and couldn’t give a crap since they are only following the golf professional as part of their false hope efforts to gain popularity.
The more important issue has to do with the golf professionals who generate large followings and their inability to connect with each of them. Lack of responding to each fan/customer who reaches out to them causes a negative backlash towards them (and GOLF). Some of the touring professionals have hired people to represent them in an effort to respond to this need but only cause more negative feelings towards them when the more savvy of Twitterville see they are being ‘gamed’.
The same problem at a lower scale happens to the many teaching professionals who are flooding Twitter trying to promote golf gadgets or post only swing tips and links to unbelievably bad designed web-site. These golf professions are the ones really mudding up the water of Twitter and need help in learning how bad a job they are doing in promoting themselves and GOLF.
The major wrong doing of the golf professionals (are anyone for that matters) who are using Twitter revolves around the questions;
- What value is Twitter to these popular stars of the golf tour in improving their image if they are not going to respond to those reaching out to connect to their favorite player? The same question could be asked of any of the golf professionals who are using Twitter thinking it is a one-way billboard advertising tool.
- How unprofessional does posting a logo or product in the avatar make a teaching professional look?
- Why are NOT more golf professionals using Twitter?
- Why are the Golf professionals who are using Twitter not using it to its fullest or effectively?
Most of the answers to these questions deal with how golf professionals are introduced to Twitter and how they are told to use social networking. Many feel their involvement on Twitter is personal and do not understand that when they step out on any of the social network platforms what they do personally and professionally is showcased.
OK, lets take on the monster of Facebook and review the mistakes golf professionals make in this arena. Pull up a chair, we could be here for awhile.
Facebook has to be one of the biggest, if not the only, absurd anomaly on the internet. What makes it so useless in a business sense goes back to it mistakenly being formed only as a College social network. Compound that with the creator being avoid of any practical business experience makes the attempt to make Facebook more than a College social network impossible to do. However, the attempt was made and like everything else on the internet, its monetization was based on its claim to have trillions of eyes captured in one place. Naturally, the business world wanted in…and wanted in to the tune of a large sum of cash.
So, what we have is a huge arena of mixed cultures, age groups, lifestyles and political affiliations all feeling they are on the ultimate stage for personal/professional exposure. In reality this feeling is probably more accurately described as an ‘assumption’ since nothing can validate the true number of REAL LIVE people actively using Facebook. It is the assumption that there are trillions of real live people actively using Facebook ever moment of the day that drives many businesses, including golf professionals, to jumping on Facebook.
The other factor for golf professionals using Facebook is from their residual interests going back before they were professional. Many of the younger golf instructors, and related golf business people, are still feeling Facebook is a place they can hide out and be unprofessional if they choose. This is where FB has changed since what is posted on Facebook is now subject for EVERYONE’s review..even if they are not a friend.
But, back to how the overall golf industry is using Facebook. Again, this insistence of using social networks as a billboard or yellow pages directory is really what is stemming the negative image many golf professional are producing on Facebook. The use of logos, products and other unprofessional looking images are what they want viewers to see is turning consumers totally off and producing a negative image of all of golf including those who are related to golf or just play golf recreationally.
Where to Go!?
Fortunately, the golf professional I have run into are seeing the problem many of their associates are creating and are asking the right questions..like..where do I need to be online and how should I present myself online
As far as social networking goes for golf professionals it seems LinkedIn would help present the professional side of their efforts better than other forms of social networking. Again, this does not mean they should avoid Twitter or Facebook. Actually, they should or need to be on Twitter and Facebook. But they need to be on these platforms using a more effective operational style of social media and not the ‘Check This out’ marketing style that is finally being flushed out as being ineffective.
The golf industry is very fragile right now. Golf facilities are cutting forces and pushing the PGA professionals who managed their businesses on the street creating a huge pool of self employed golf gurus. Most of this part of the golf industry is not familiar with social media and are, in most cases, just adapting to 1990 forms of technology to today’s more consumer driven internet. This puts them behind and in many cases in a position of desperation. As a result they move into the new world of social networking using 1980 marketing skills. These methods do not work and that results in them taking their self promotions by the horns which just makes things worse.
The message here is clear. The Golf Industry as a whole needs to reach outside their circle of ‘good ol boys’ and get help..serious help. And get it before golf is killed off by consumers and businesses lack of interest to the game and related golf service industries. The training golf professionals need is broad and if not done then golf will go back to beyond the Bobby Jones era where only the filthy rich can play…if that is the plan someone has, it is working.
Its getting serious out here in La-La-Land. Someone needs to make it their mission to help the golf industry..Oh, wait!..that is me, so…Let me know how I can help.