How To Improve Your LinkedIn Profile For Success In Your Industry

How to get started on LinkedIn

Why you need it!

One of the first steps of setting up your LinkedIn is realizing why you need it. In this day of social selling and social networks, employers do a search online to find out more about you before contacting you. “In fact, about 57% of the decision to do business with you has already been made before prospects get in touch with you” (Verdonck, 2017, para. 2). LinkedIn can provide potential employers a way to find you online and learn more about you. With an established profile that connects with other LinkedIn users and contributes content, it showcases that you have a presence and are willing to participate in the community. With an engaging LinkedIn page that provides valuable content to your network, it shows credibility and provides employers with more assurance based on your position in your industry.

Name Mistakes

If you have a name that is commonly misspelled it is an excellent tool to include variations and alternatives of your name so search engines can still find you. This doesn’t have to be front page and center but should be included somewhere on your page.

This may look like this for example:

Common mistakes regarding my name Chris Ward: Kris, Kriss, Cris, & Christopher (Given Name), Christie, Christofel, Christoffer, Wardo, Wards, Award, Wart, Warde, War,

By having all of these listed it will still allow those who have misspelled my name to find me on LinkedIn and search engines.

Choosing your profile picture

  1. Make it professional, avoid photos including drinks and vacation photos.
  2. Use a headshot, make your face the main subject of your profile picture.
  3. Relax and smile, the more engaging the better.
  4. Consider using a solid or slightly branded background.
  5. Keep your photo up to date.
  6. Add a background photo that reinforces the brand you represent.

“LinkedIn’s blog claims that a profile with a photo is 11 times more likely to be viewed” (Verdonck, 2017, para. 8).

Upgrading your LinkedIn professional headline

Your professional headline shouldn’t just be the same title that is on your business card.  By simplifying your headline it groups you into a much larger pool of candidates and makes it a lot harder to get noticed. It is important to be unique in your headline, this is how you get noticed. Adding something personal that other people can relate to is a great conversation starter. By searching golf professionals on LinkedIn it showed more than 40,000 results with the majority of headlines reading “Assistant Golf Professional” and “Head Golf Professional” by adding “retail manager” to the same search it immediately narrowed the results to just over 400. Just by simply adding one more role to your headline it immediately narrowed down the search by nearly 100%.

Adding your location and industry

For those looking for jobs and to connect with people near their current employer, it is best to enter the postal code of your current work location. If you are looking for a position elsewhere or closer to home, for example, you should use that postal code. LinkedIn generally uses a 50km radius from your provided address to find connections. When setting your industry it is important to select the correct one, if you have any doubts about a current selection talk to other coworkers to help determine this.

How do you want to be contacted?

It is important for those looking at your profile to have the opportunity of taking the next step and contacting you. The four methods that LinkedIn users have for contacting you are your phone, email, instant messenger, and address (usually your business address). When determining what numbers and address to include it is important to look at who your target audience is and know where they would most likely want to contact you. Also, make sure your email connected to LinkedIn is a professional one and avoid using your Hotmail accounts from grade school in this section.

Another great tool for your profile is adding external websites and other account links for your connections. This is a fantastic spot to add your business website and business twitter account. It is best to avoid adding your personal twitter if you share anything that you want to be kept disassociated from your business profile.

Writing your summary

To increase the readability of this section it is important to entice the reader to read on by starting with a short lead-in. After this, align the next section with corporate branding and have some information about the current organization you are apart of, the goal of this section is to give a summary of what your organization does. After this section add some more specific information of what your responsibilities are in your current role. By sharing this information it provides the reader with insight on some of your successful roles within your organization.

If your organization has video content that can help summarize themselves in a more visual format it is a great thing to link to your summary.  Other relevant PDF or image files can be useful in this section to help increase the appearance of your page.

Presenting Your Experience

When completing the experience section of your LinkedIn page you must focus more on your results from previous jobs rather than simply presenting your resume. Similar to the personal summary section of your profile it is effective to begin your job summary with some corporate branding summarizing the organization. After this is presented the reader can further understand your responsibilities and roles within that organization because of the background information provided. After all of this presented it is important to provide a call to action for the reader, this will let them know what to do next, even for previous roles it is good to share a call to action so your previous employers can utilize your page as a tool. Adding rich visual media can also further engage the reader and utilizing LinkedIn’s SlideShare to help summarize a past project or job role is a fantastic way of boosting the visual appeal of your page.

Creating Your Brand

Make the most out of awards and professional honors relevant to your industry by adding them to your LinkedIn page. By doing this it showcases “the level of competency you bring” (Verdonck, 2017, para. 2). If you commonly find yourself heading projects for work and are proud of your current and past project successes, adding projects is a great way to share some specific details about your responsibilities.

LinkedIn is one of the least utilized platforms for publishing content. By publishing industry-relevant topics in your area of expertise it can be a great way to get your name and ideas out to your network and your connections networks. When writing on LinkedIn it is best to use your normal speaking voice because it will increase authenticity and readability. Your title and cover photo for your content should grab the readers attention immediately. Your published content should include examples and figures to reinforce your points and should fall between 300-500 words in total. The best days to publish content are on Thursdays and Sundays due to most peoples work schedules and the more consistent you are on posting regularly, the more of following you can gain.

Showcasing your skills & getting recommendations

The first step in adding skills to your page is finding what is relevant for your target audience. Try to include as many that you believe that your target audience will find valuable, plan to exclude the remainder that doesn’t have a relevance to your target audience. Your skills section should be a quick way for a reader to see what you can do and to help establish a great first impression of you.

The more believable skills that you share in this section the more likely your connections will endorse you for these skills. It doesn’t look good to have an overwhelming number of skills without a single endorsement to back your claims up.

LinkedIn also has an area on your page for posting recommendations, think of this section as a consumer review like the ones you would find on Amazon for a product. You are way more likely to purchase or in this case hire someone who has great reviews and recommendations. Shoot for getting 5-7 recommendations, with these recommendations make sure they include detail and are not simply “Chris is a nice guy and a good golfer” look for recommendations that give insight to how great you are at your job.

Sharing your educational background

Some of the key things to remember when sharing your educational background are that the more detail the better, look to share information about activities and societies you participated in and give a brief description of the program or why you decided to take this program. Sharing your grade in the given section is a great way to show your dedication to the school. If your grade is worth sharing share it, if it isn’t worth sharing just leave the section blank. It is also very important to share the years you attended so you can connect with others from the same graduation class.

When sharing certifications and courses to your page it shows your continued desire to learn and willingness to further your knowledge in your industry. It is best to keep these certifications as relevant to your industry as possible, there is no need to share your Game of Thrones History course on your profile if you work in the golf industry for example.

Show off your personality

Too many LinkedIn profiles are dry and just too professional, leaving no room for your personal touch” (Verdonck, 2017, para. 3). On LinkedIn trainer Bert Verdonck’s page, you will find in his main headline “Happy Chocoholic” this is an excellent example of showing off his personality and should be included in more LinkedIn profiles. Happy Chocoholic resembles Bert being human and works as a great conversation starter for those reaching out to Bert for the first time.

Choose to share other things you’re passionate about further down your page, possibly at the end of the summary section of your page by including a “Get to know me?” section. 

Other skills to help you stand out

  • Add volunteer work to boost engagement
  • Maximize keywords on your profile to perform better in search engines
  • Engage with others using LinkedIn groups
    • Only do this once you have updated your page with the tips provided earlier in this post.
  • Follow the leaders most influential to your career
    • Share articles from leaders in your industry to show that you’re staying up to date and trying adding a post above the shared article like “Great Article! I cannot agree more with..”
  • Control your visibility using privacy settings
    • Enable your profile name and photo to appear after viewing other pages because it will usually lead to them going back to yours
    • Notify connections when you’re in the news because it will only lead to more of the right kind of visitors seeing your page
  • Use the LinkedIn mobile app for on the go networking and searching

(Verdonck, 2017, sec. 9)

My LinkedIn page transformation and how it can benefit you!

Before completing Bert Verdonck’s course “LinkedIn Profiles for Social Business Success” my LinkedIn Page was more of a resume than results from my work in the golf industry. My page included a headshot profile picture, an extremely general professional headline,  and a summary of schooling and work experience that lacked personality and readability. It listed work and educational experience without explanation and was missing key information on how I can be contacted. Below are a few photos of my profile before completing the course.

 

After finishing the course I have added some key things to my LinkedIn page like a background picture and a more detailed and unique professional headline. I have completely redone my summary portion of my LinkedIn to include corporate branding from the PGA of Alberta, professional branding For The Edmonton Petroleum Golf & Country Club, and personal branding for my role there including a call to action to learn more about me on my website. I have added more information to my educational and work experience backgrounds and have reached out for help with my endorsements and recommendations to further develop my page and credibility.

 

Key Changes:

  • By adding a background image and rich media to my experiences it has instantly improved the visual appeal of my LinkedIn page.
  • My updated professional headline has narrowed the search results for me by over 100% so it will be much easier to be noticed.
  • Adding descriptions to my past experiences has added credibility and insight to my past and current experiences.
  • By adding past activities and societies that I was apart of it showcases my leadership qualities.
  • Updating contact info to provide more ways to contact me and find out more about me.
  • Updated summary increases the readability for readers to get a quick summary of what I’m about.
  • Updating my LinkedIn URL to a vanity URL that is much easier to remember and find in search engines.

 

Works Cited

Verdonck, B. (2017, January 30th). LinkedIn Profiles for Social Business Success [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.lynda.com/LinkedIn-tutorials/Create-action-plan-update-your-profile/512777/581611-4.html 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything You Need to Know About YouTube For Business

What can YouTube do for you:

Believe it or not, YouTube isn’t just for golf highlights and comical cat videos, it can be a fantastic tool for your business ” to share content, to build a community,  and even to make money” (Alexander, 2014, Paragraph 1). There have been many successful video bloggers in the golf industry who have gained a massive following through YouTube. Success stories like PGA golf coach Mark Crossfield use YouTube to share equipment reviews and free golf tips to promote his brand and business. Mark has gained many sponsors from his channel and currently has 239,436 subscribers and his videos have gained over 142 million views. His video from 2011 titled “How To Stop Slicing Your Driver” currently has over 1.2 million views.

As a golf professional, I’m happy if 10 golfers show up for my short game clinic, I can feel my heart pounding from potential international fame if a tweet of mine gets retweeted more than 10 times. I can’t even fathom having a video that has been viewed over a million times, that’s quite the reach if you ask me.

Now that you’ve seen what YouTube can potentially do for you, continue reading for some great tips on building a successful YouTube channel.

Building your YouTube channel

Link your YouTube channel to your brand or company website

Having this resource for YouTube viewers will add credibility to your channel and linking your website allows you to share all the information you want your viewers to know about you and your business. The pairing of these two platforms allows you to provide excellent video content on your website and also can bring in more traffic from search engines. This increased traffic will provide more viewers the opportunity to buy whatever you’re selling which can lead to increases in revenue.

Consistency in branding

Utilize your company logo or brand name in all over your channel’s content in order to make it easier for viewers to recognize you and your brand. Using a consistent catchphrase is also a way of building consistency with your branding promoting your brand’s moto or views. Having a short intro in all of your videos allows viewers to recognize your video moments after turning it on.

How to get more views

Optimizing your content for search engines is just as important on YouTube as it is on your website. The best way to get more hits from search engines is to have descriptive titles for your videos, description of your video, and the use of the tags feature from YouTube. By researching your keywords and finding which ones will be most effective you will be guaranteed to improve your view count.

Get viewers to watch other videos on your channel

If you can entice your viewers to watch more videos from your channel you have a much better chance of having them return to your channel. Use the description tool from YouTube to place links to videos from your channel that are similar and make it easier for viewers to move between videos. If your linked video is directly related to one the viewer is currently watching YouTube’s annotations feature simplifies the process for your audience to move between videos. Once you have built up your video library you can use video playlists to help group videos into categories.

For example, if you are posting golf equipment reviews, golf tips, and golf travel videos, you could potentially make each one of these titles for playlists.

Know what your YouTube channel competitors are doing

Find similar channels to your’s and research what they are doing well and what might need some work. By doing this you can build off their success and fine tune it to make your content the best out there. Also be sure to watch what unrelated channels to yours are doing to be ahead of the curve in YouTube innovation.

Works Cited

Alexander, A. (2014, October 7). Top 5 Tips for YouTube Channel [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.lynda.com/YouTube-tutorials/Research-your-competitors/181239/196666-4.html

 

 

 

 

Social Listening: Why it’s a Must Do For Marketers

What is Social Listening?

Social listening is the idea of gaining business intelligence by listening and researching customers, media, employees, competitors, and other influencers. Active social listeners are provided with ideas for new products and services, as well as new opportunities to reach business goals. Social listening is also useful for identifying poor customer feedback as issues or crises.

“Social listening keeps you plugged into all the right channels” (Waxman, 2017, Section 1, Paragraph 3)

Most relevant places to start social listening for your business:

  • Using relevant hashtags through Twitter 
  • Using keyword searches to find relevant terms for your business through Google Trends
  • Customer service reps and sales reps are also a wealth of knowledge for social listening business intelligence

Using Social Listening to Understand Your Customers

One of the most effective uses for social listening is to use it to understand your customers. By having an up to date understanding of their needs, it is much easier to have fresh new products and services available to keep your customers involved and keep your business relevant. Social listening can be used to monitor feedback for your business, but also it can be used to hear feedback about your competitors and things they are missing that you can provide.

An example of this for a golf course perspective would be looking at feedback for a nearby golf course from a millennial golfer; the feedback may read “@ABCGolfCourse had an extremely narrow beer menu, get with the program it’s 2018 and #CraftBeer is everywhere! (except @ABCGolfCourse).” Now your course can use this feedback to see the demand for craft beer at your golf course. Another effective action would be to reply to the disapproving customer of ABC with your extensive beer list to win their business.

Another great way to understand your customers is to imagine things from their perspective. In Martin Waxman’s video “Social Listening for Marketers” he identifies some key questions to ask yourself about your customers:

  • What motivates them?
  • What is their day like?
  • What are their challenges and goals?
  • What is your relation? (Transactional or Aspirational?)

(Waxman, 2017, Section 2, Paragraph 2)

 

Image result for social listening for new product ideas example
Spotify using social listening to gain positive feedback and reinforcement of a service offered by them.

 

 

How to Get Started With Social Listening

The first step to social listening is searching for places to listen. At this point, it is important to narrow your results to find customers more related to the product or service you sell. This can be done by using hashtags and keywords pertaining to your business’ geographic location or specific words that relate to your business. An excellent search for a golf professional in Edmonton looking to find information about golfers in the area would be #EdmontonGolf or #YEGGolf on Twitter.

Each search network uses their own algorithm related to you to filter results; the best way to get real results when finding information through search is to log out of all related search accounts and clear your cache. By doing this you will be closer to seeing what your customers are seeing about your business. Other great search tools discussed in Martin Waxman’s video “Social Listening for Marketers” would be:

With all of these search options, the key things they allow you to filter results by are: time, sentiment, keywords and phrases, demographics, and geography.

With companies branching out to so many different social media platforms nowadays it is inefficient to monitor each individually.  Now there are dashboards available to allow you to monitor all aspects of your social media presence from one page. The top dashboard used by small and large businesses is Hootsuite; it allows you to schedule posts, measure interaction, and manage your social media presence in one place.

Social Listening in Action

Social listening in action represents three key uses: social listening for research and insights, social listening for customer service, and social listening for an issue and crisis management.

Social listening can improve your capabilities for collecting research and insights about your customers. A great use of social media polling through Twitter would be to find services that your customers may want to be included in the price of your services. By posting the question and listening to the feedback you can gain a wealth of information about your customer’s expectations. It is important to use social listening before, during, and after key events in your industry; this is generally when ideas about your company and competitors are most discussed.

Social listening can also improve your business’s customer service capabilities. By making your posts public it allows your responses to issues to be available for others who may be having the same issue. By doing this it shows that you are there for support and also takes some of the work off of your hands because it allows others to self-troubleshoot. It is important to reply quickly and provide valuable content to your followers in order to build trust and gain their loyalty. If your business utilizes social listening correctly for customer service it will showcase how responsive and caring you are as a company.

The last use of social listening is to help identify an issue in comparison to a crisis. The biggest difference between the two is the threat of long-term damage to your company associated with a crisis. Both situations are equally important and social listening acts as the early warning tool to allow a business to act quickly. When identifying an issue “early enough you can take responsibility, apologize sincerely and try to resolve it as quickly as you can” (Waxman, 2017, Section 4, Paragraph 3). 

How Social Listening Will Benefit Golf Professionals

Social listening is a marketing must for all golf professionals; it allows you to monitor your customers and follow conversations throughout the golf industry. This social listening will also have both positives and negatives, but how you utilize the insight gathered will be what sets you apart. It is important to tread quietly on the social media network and pay close attention to the customers, media, employees, competitors, and other influencers that you interact with.  By being an active social listener it allows golf courses and professionals alike to get that much closer to achieving business goals.

References:

Waxman, M. (2017, June 5th ). Social Listening for Marketers [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.lynda.com/HootSuite-tutorials/Next-steps/546104/621995-4.html

 

Everything You Need to Know About Google AdWords

What Is Google AdWords?

AdWords is Google’s online advertisement platform, it allows business to be there when customers need them most. Business can work with Google to have relevant content appear during different Google searches.

There are many aspects to Google AdWords and the following points will help summarize the topic into 10 key areas.

a) Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Pay-per-click advertising is the concept of paying for advertisements through search networks to promote your company. With this form of advertising, you only pay for your ad when it is interacted with,  Google AdWords is the market leader in the market of pay-per-click advertising.

Google AdWords gives you access to the extremely vast Google network, this network reaches over 80% of internet users worldwide. The Google network consists of two parts; the Google search network and the Google display network. There are many reasons to use Google AdWords for promoting your business; they have an enormous reach, targeting that matches your ads with right customers, and measurability to follow the success of your ads.

b) Before Getting Started

At this first crucial stage, it is important to identify your goal as a business, this goal should include an objective, motivation, effort, and KPI.

An example of this would look like this for Wardo Golf:

Objective: More indoor golf lessons

Motivation: I want to learn

Effort: Get more students motivated to learn in the winter

KPI: Five new students before the outdoor driving ranges open

At this stage, you should be able to easily define what your products are and what campaign is needed for it. Next, you should have a clear definition of your audience, this should include a clear description of your potential customers. A great tool for this discussed in Brad Batesole’s video Google AdWords Essential Training is writing a short biography that you could use to introduce a potential customer.

c) Getting Started with AdWords
  1. Create an AdWords account here
  2. Next, skip the guided set-up and research the platform to organize your ideas
  3. You can use your existing Google account to set up AdWords
  4. Next, fill out the information at this step it is important to fill country and timezone for your business correctly because it cannot be changed later.
  5. Verify your account
  6. Spend some time to gain familiarity with the interface (Home, Campaigns, Opportunities, and Tools) for your AdWords account.

For smaller businesses, Google offers AdWords express. This platform simplifies the process of pay-per-click advertising, however, you lose a lot of the features that makes AdWorks great. Unless you’re in an extremely small local market it is best to avoid express and utilize the full AdWords platform.

d) Researching Your Keywords

Keywords are how your advertisements get noticed, it is important to select high-quality keywords to keep your campaigns profitable. It is important to be specific and to categorize your keywords to have success with keywords.

  1. Brainstorm keywords about your product
  2. Use Googles Keyword Planner to help determine more specific keywords for your product
  3. Now use Keyword Planner to get search volume trends and determine the best ones for your product
  4. Now determine your budget to find the number of keywords you may use.
e) Creating Your First Campaign
  1. At the AdWords dashboard select the Campaigns menu.
  2. Now Click “Create your first campaign”
  3. Select a campaign name
  4. Select a type of campaign
  5. Select networks used
  6. Select devices to be displayed on
  7. Select geographical location for campaign (broad or narrow options)
    1. In this section, it has further options and allows you to target and exclude people in select locations
  8. Languages used in campaign
  9. Review your bid settings and your strategies for bidding on AdWords
  10. Look into ad extensions to further the information available in your ads and increase the effectiveness of your advertisements
f) Creating Your First Advertisement

In creating your first advertisement there are four main parts to your text ad; the headline, the web addresses, followed by the description lines.

The 6 tips discussed for writing effective ads in Brad Batesole’s video are:

  1. Highlight what makes you unique
  2. Use a call to action
  3. Use sales terms (prices promotions, limited quantity)
  4. Match your ads to your keywords
  5. Match your ad to your landing page
  6. Experiment with different ads

(Batesole, 2017, Section 6 Part 1)

g) Monitoring Your Advertisements

Spend 15-30 minutes a week reviewing your advertisements and how they are performing, Google AdWords gives many metrics to review your ads so utilize them. By setting your own standards for success it will be easy to monitor your campaign performance.

h) Advanced Advertising Tracking

For businesses who use Google Analytics, AdWords will further the tracking metrics to new levels. By linking your AdWords and Analytics accounts it allows to track everything before the click as well as everything after the click, this is a fantastic way of checking your conversion rate from your AdWord campaigns.

i) Key Optimizing Strategies

AdWords allows you to run a change in ads to smaller test markets. This way you do not risk losing traffic from already successful ads and can build on your success to improve on your ads.

j) Going Beyond the Basics

Google AdWords has a lot to learn initially but once a level of understanding is established you can do a lot more with your ads to increase there effectiveness. Some of the further features of Google AdWords includes:

  • Bid adjustments allow you to adjust to changing markets and can find where you are most effective.
  • Audience remarketing allows you to market to those who you already have been to your site.
  • Audience insights allow for a better understanding of who is viewing your ad and will give you a better description of your customers.
  • Using ad extensions is an easy way of setting your ads apart because it is something that only a small group currently utilize.
  • Customizing a landing page from your keywords to increase your quality score.
  • AdWords allows you to target based on average household income, this can be extremely effective on having your ads in the right place and in front of the right people.

What can Google AdWords do for Your Business?

Golf professionals can be left with the responsibility with of advertising their course to increase membership sales and green fees, also for those professionals with previously developed instruction websites can benefit from using Google AdWords. Google AdWords allows you to set your budget which works great for professionals working with limited budgets, it also allows you to reinvest and make changes to your ads to further improve performance. AdWords has an incredible reach by using the Google network, every search represents a consumer in need and if you can be there for them you will gain business. Google AdWords is the easiest way to get your business to the top of google searches, imagine thousands of golfers searching “Golf Lessons” and your teaching brand or golf course is at the top of a whopping 2,010,000 different search results.

This is a great summary of 5 great reasons to use Google AdWords from YouTube Channel Digital Marketer!

 

Works Cited

Batesole, B. (2017, September 5). Google AdWords Essential Training [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.lynda.com/Marketing-Lead-Generation-tutorials/Welcome/368574/412847-4.html

Why Social Media Marketing is Worth it for Golf Professionals

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.

Works Cited

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