I have written a few times on the subject of how Golf uses Social Media, or the lack there of. This trilogy of blogs on the subject takes a turn in this blog with reporting on what the Golf industry should be doing in the Social Networking arena to accomplish their goals. I always suggest to my viewers to establish a Social Media Manifesto..it helps focus your time and efforts. Lets take a look at Social Media for Golf.
One of the most powerful tools the golf industry has is LinkedIn and over 85% of the people I connect with, who are in the Golf Industry, do not use LinkedIn or if they do, not to its potential. LinkedIn has one of the best networks of business professionals anywhere..online or offline. And who is the Golf Industry’s number one Market and Consumer? Yes, Business people.
The tools available to LinkedIn members to find, connect and converse in a professional manner are better than other social networks. Yet, the majority of golf professionals, golf facilities and golf related businesses who do join LinkedIn seemingly abandon their presence there and never use its potential to developing new business.
I will agree, social networking for business is a complicated ordeal, but is totally worth the time to at least be seriously listed on the LinkedIn’s roster. I can assure you, if you are in a golf business, the consumers and business connections will come. Just remember, there are competitors who will come to be in your network as well. Sometimes knowing your competitor helps you know how to compete.
The LinkedIn Groups are a great place for business golfers to spend time learning the things they do not know about the internet and teaching others what they do know about the golf industry. Yes, some of the things going on in LinkedIn can be a little overwhelming for the newbies of online business networking. It would be safe to say that everyone has to pay their dues in an effort to learn how things works in LinkedIn.
Photo a Must
The most neglected part of LinkedIn has to do with an overwhelming number of the golfers and golf business people not posting a photo or completing their profile. It is a mystery on why someone would take the time to join a site like LinkedIn and then not complete the profile information. The connections to others cannot be made until the professional profile is completed.
If you have not joined LinkedIn here are the things you need to have available to upload when you fill in your profile.
- Headshot Photo..not a logo or cartoon character. Unfortunately, the popular belief of branding you business and not yourself just is not how LinkedIn works.(or anywhere for that matter)
- Resume content. Having the content already written out on where you work, its description and your work history will save a lot of time.
- Links to business site, blog site and social networks.
These are the three basics. There is a lot more, but this will get you started and give you the ability to get into the mix quickly.
Don’t Ignore Facebook
Come on..Facebook is not that bad. OK, well maybe Facebook can be a little intimidating at times, but it does serve as a place to prove you are a Real person, golfer and business person…if you keep it real. Plus, I would not be on Facebook if there wasn’t some value to being there.
There are many more perks for being on Facebook than many of the other social networking sites. Sure, the privacy issue is a concern. Facebook is not the only site that takes the info you post and does something with it…like making billions. The rule of thumb here is do not post anything you know is private to you or others..no matter what it is. If you don’t want anyone to see something, don’t post on Facebook.
Can the Games
Once you understand how to manage the privacy issue with Facebook its time to learn how to use Facebook for your golf business. First, don’t fall for what others are doing on FB by signing up for all the game apps. If you really want to ruin your reputation on Facebook and your business, join one of the silly games people play. Maybe someday I will take an entire blog to tell you all the reasons why not to join in the games on Facebook, but now..trust me..you don’t want to go there.
Yes, many people who where the first adaptors of Facebook..many of whom used Facebook in college before it was opened to the public… use Facebook for communicating with family and friends ONLY. You will run into these people and many of them are good to make friends with since they are golfers, in the golf business or are influencers of the industry. Just remember, their communication with you professionally may be limited. Most of these people who use Facebook for personal reasons are finding their efforts to only use their posts for family and friends are getting strained with Facebook becoming a driving force in Social Networking. So just remember they are out there on Facebook and you may have to deal with these individuals a little different. Maybe someday I will post a blog on how to work with these people.
Headshot is a Must
Just like on any of the other social networks, make sure to post a headshot photo. Make sure to pick out a good one and keep it. 90% of people who are online are visual people and when looking for a friend or associate on Facebook will look to find their photo first. If you keep changing your photo every hour, day, week; your contacts who know you by your face more than your name will give up on finding you. Its OK to post your photos from Pebble Beach..I would enjoy seeing them in your photo gallery..but don’t make each frame you post on Facebook an aviator for the day. You will lose contacts if you do and those contacts seldom come back.
Your Facebook Personal Profile is a little different. Facebook asks for more personal info. Again, remember, only fill in the blanks you are comfortable with. I really don’t want to know everything about you..just enough to tell me we have something in common..like Golf and Business. Yes, a little personal info is great..like other hobbies and interest you may have. Just posting Business Stuff will throw up a Red Flag to many that you are only out to hammer people about your business. Remember, this is social networking we are talking about..the core of Social Media. Don’t go into Facebook with a Spammer attitude..you will not last long.
If your intentions are to only post promotions and focus only on business promotions from your personal profile, it might be best to go back to some other form of Business Networking.
Of course if you have a business to promote there are the Facebook Pages you can create for your business. Facebook pages work and can play a huge part to enhance your personal profile once you get set up on Facebook. I’ll post a blog someday on how to set up the Facebook Pages..I promise, it will be a short one.
Don’t be afraid to state your status on Facebook regularly. Once you see what others say and do that humors you, or is of interest, you will start to develop a style of your own. Remember, being humorous always peaks people’s interest in you..just make sure it is good humor and not political or harmful. If you are out to make business connections, showing people you are a real person makes a lot of difference.
OK, lets wade into how Twitter works..or not. You will have to understand Twitter is not really a full fledge Social Network. However, being on Twitter is a necessity and primarily is for validating your digital footprint. In a true Social Network there is constant conversation amongst acquaintances and is why Facebook is becoming the dominate social/business Network. Having constant conversation On Twitter..well good luck with that.
It probably would be best to first describe who is using Twitter so if you chose to use Twitter you understand what you are doing. Here are the realities.
There are two users of Twitters who also coincidentally consist of being the two audiences of Twitter posts. The two prevalent users of Twitter are the businesses, who could care less about interaction with anyone, and the very few socialites, who interact with the few real people they find on Twitter. The businesses are trying to get in front of the socialites while the socialites do what they do..socialize. To who is the question. The result is a lot of posting and little interaction. Studies show for every 100 posts less than two are part of a conversation. This should give you some indication the attention you will get from any method of social networking on Twitter.
Now, with that said, there are ways of using Twitter and making it productive. The mission is simple. Get people on Twitter interested enough to go to your blog, web-site to find out more about you. How is this done through the Firehose of Twitter posts that are thrown at viewers.
First, like in the other social networks, a photo and a short BIO needs to be placed in the BIO. Remember, over 90% of people online are visually inclined..this goes for Twitter as well. With the large volumes of posts being rapid fired on Twitter, having a trusting photo posted as your aviator captures the attention of other trustworthy people.
Then, of course, posting the url to the site you are expecting people to track you to is a necessity. Those who are interested will check you out to see if you are for real. If you do not have a serious profile on Twitter..click, boom, bang…what could of been a good business acquaintance is gone..forever most of the time. Once you get the proper profile completed your adventure on Twitter can begin.
The important thing to remember is to not fall for the urge that will present itself on Twitter a large number of times through someone greeting you with the opportunity to get 10,000 Followers in ten minutes. Check out anyone who replies to you before allowing them to be someone you Follow. 99% of the time you get what you ask for on Twitter and the Followers you get from the Twitter games are usually not anyone you want to be associated with socially or professionally. So, make sure to keep you Following as well as who you Follow clean of people, places and things that are only out to promote themselves.
To get good quality Followers on Twitter you have to do it the old fashion way..meet and greet..reach out and touch people on Twitter…and at all costs… Be Real. Realness and honesty draws in the Followers and will present real people you will want to Follow. Finding the good Followers and people to Follow is very difficult with the state Twitter is in today and is one of the major reasons many people prefer to only have a minimal presence on Twitter. Using a 3rd party tool like HootSuite or Tweetdeck to monitor your Twitter feed is recommended and helps sots out the noise.
Twitter can be productive if you use the 80-20 rule. Interact with people on Twitter 80% of the time and provide interesting info 20% of the time. Doing this will help you to become a good citizen of Twitterville.
Be Kind, Fun and Interesting
Make sure to show some Social Media Manners buy replying to Followers who reply to you. Make sure they are Followers first..since Twitter Spammers sometimes look like Followers. Yes, there is a Darkside to Twitter that everyone will eventually fall into. Just remember, the way out of the dark is to go back to doing the right thing and not do the wrong things as many are going to try to get you to do.
If you are out on Twitter for business connections the main thing to remember is to..Remain Professional..think about your image…and do not reply to posts you see that do not have your best interest in mind.
Golf Marketing Needs Changing
There is no denying the Golf Industry is struggling in this economy. Across the board the challenges to survive in the golf industry is daunting. Golf industry is having to be dealt with and finding new directions to meet these challenges. Social Media is an answer to most issues and knowing how to use social networking in business is the core of social media. Social Media is a foreign language to the golf industry and many marketing firms who cater to the golf industry are attempting, with little success, to adapt old school marketing methods to the modern social media methods. Social media does work and will work for the Golf Industry it is done correctly.
I hope what I have provided will offer those who are searching for understanding of social media a better look at the realities they face with using social networking as a means to develop new business. Of course my message to all will always be..Let me know how I can help.