Why You Need Social Media Marketing To Grow Your Brand
As a golf professional and full-time student through the winter, it can be difficult to find the time needed to invest in a social media profile. However, in today’s connected world social media marketing can be extremely effective for growing your brand with limited resources.
“Social media is word of mouth on steroids” (Waxman, 2016, Paragraph 2). It is the quickest way for you to connect and build relationships with your customers and prospects. Social media is all about your customers; with creating content that they find valuable and helpful it is a fantastic way to have your brand and content shared.
Understanding Social Media Marketing
In order to further understand social media marketing, it is important to understand some of the key social media terms and why they’re important. Content is everything you produce to promote your brand and connect with your customers. This can be a golf camp brochure, a blog post, or even an email to your members sharing information about corporate offerings. SEO stands for search engine optimization which is used to make your content more findable by websites like Google. Keywords, tags, and hashtags are all used to make your content easier to find; hashtags use a # before all text and unlike keywords and tags, they have no spaces between words. Examples of this would be #golfinstruction which currently has a reach of 79,874 Twitter users and #golftips which currently reaches 212,742 Twitter users according to hashtag tracker website Keyhole. Another key term that is currently being utilized by some of today’s top golf instructors is Livestream Video. Instructors George Gankas and Dana Dahlquist both utilize Livestream Video to showcase their teaching methods and student progress by streaming video through Instagram in real-time. George Gankas has gained extreme popularity with this method and now has a following of 89,900+ followers on Instagram.
The next step is understanding and determining which social media platforms your audience uses. A key message shared by Martin Waxman in his video “Social Media Marketing for Small Business” is “go where your customers are, don’t make them come to you” (Waxman, 2016, Paragraph 5).
After you determine where to connect with customers, you must create content that they can’t find elsewhere. With over 1.6 billion users, Facebook is one of the most obvious answers to connect with customers; I have recently created the Wardo Golf Facebook page that I plan to expand on throughout the golf season. Instagram is a great platform for sharing visual content, which is fantastic for golf professionals due to the visual aspect of the golf industry. Something as simple as sharing a clean green driving range in the dog days of winter can remind customers of indoor golf lessons offered throughout the winter. This is a great post that features a dedicated player who found a small mat of green in a sea of white snow; this post was used to promote a golf training aid that golfers can utilize in their offseason practice to get them ready for the season’s start. Twitter acts as a great platform for customer interaction and can act as a real-time news feed. Twitter can be used to share openings in your lesson schedule or even to share information like the rescheduling of an instruction clinic due to weather. LinkedIn is great for sharing professional accomplishments and certifications such as completion of Titleist Performance Institute Course or Trackman Golf Certification. YouTube is an effective tool when sharing visual video content; this would be a great place to post an instructional drill like Phil Mickelson’s go-to putting drill.
Social Media Strategy For Growing Your Brand
In Martin Waxman’s video “Social Media Marketing for Small Business” he gives a 7 step strategy for developing a social media strategy:
Step 1: Set your social media goals
Make your social media goals specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. The key to social media development is being able to measure whether you are reaching your goals. Remember that likes don’t equal success, likes are a passive gesture “similar to the nod two acquaintances might share when they pass on the street” (Waxman, 2016, Paragraph 3).
Step 2: Understand your customers’ social media habits
Find the most frequented social media platforms that your customers use and times that they use them in order to connect with customers most effectively. Golfers are known as early birds and might use social media as part of their morning routine, consistently posting content late in the evening would put content towards the bottom of your customer’s news feeds. An effective way to determine this information would be through an online survey, online forum, or even face to face.
Another effective rule to follow is the rule of thirds; your page’s content should feature a third of the posts about self-promotion, a third of the posts should be shared content from other users, and the last third should focus on building relationships with customers and prospects.
Step 3: Craft a social media policy
This will offer a code of conduct for all users including yourself on all forms of social media. It should be easy to understand and be in line with your brand’s values.
Step 4: Create a social media plan
At this step, it is important to develop all aspects of the social media plan. The first step of the social media plan is setting your goal. Next look at what the aspects of the business environment are to determine what may hold you back from your goal. After this, it is important to set a measurable objective to determine success. Following that step, it is important to develop a strategy on how you will reach that measurable objective. Lastly are the specific marketing tactics used to reach our goal; a tactic GG Swing Tips uses is posting live lesson videos to Instagram and Youtube to showcase what prospected customers could expect from his instruction.
Notice his laid-back tone which makes George extremely approachable as an instructor.
Step 4: Building your social media team
At this step, it is important to determine who will be allowed to share content for your brand; for most golf professionals, content will be managed solely by themselves due to a lack of budget.
Step 5: How to make time for social media
Pick the social media channels with the biggest positive impact for your brand; you can’t be everywhere due to time constraints and budget limitations. Another effective tool is using a social media planning calendar, using a planning calendar will help organize content and when you need it posted.
Publishing Shareable Content
When posting content, focus on what your customers really need. Your content should have value for years after you post it and if the customer finds it valuable they will be more likely to share it, which widens your customer reach. Customers value authenticity and good quality; a swing drill video doesn’t have to be on a golf channel production level but should be authentic to your brand. When producing content use the three P’s approach. Think like a publisher and create the best story and provide the best information possible. Act like a producer by adding multimedia to increase visual appeal and retain customers’ attention. Lastly, be a publicist and get the word out about your content; utilize keywords, tags, and hashtags to reach the biggest audience possible.
Make your social media presence a two-way conversation; the more you interact with your customers, the more trust you build with them. Take the time to watch their social media activity, listen to their concerns or praises, then start a conversation.
When starting up a social media brand it is important to conduct regular A/B tests in order to determine what type of content will be the most effective. If trying to determine whether using video swing tips or a blog post swing tips to promote your brand, post both and track which content gets the most traffic and response.
Benefits For Your Brand
All golf professionals can benefit from social media marketing if done effectively. It is extremely effective to connect with your customers, grow your brand, and reach your goals. Success story George Gankas utilized social media to gain a massive following across multiple social media platforms; he has gained a following of golfers dedicated to the brand he has created, he has his own apparel & accessories that he sells through his social media platform and is currently developing his own website to sell online coaching and instruction. This is the success route that all golf professionals can find themselves on if they invest time in themselves and their social media marketing brand.
Waxman, M. (2016, August 28). Social Media Marketing for Small Business [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.lynda.com/Facebook-tutorials/Social-Media-Marketing-Small-Business/471976-2.html