Social Media and the Modern Golf Professional

Social Media and the Modern Golf Professional

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There’s a lot of buzz these days about social media. Twitter this, Facebook that, and on and on. So what does it all mean for you the PGA Professional? How can it help (or dare I say, HURT) you? And why is there so much buzz about all of this? Well, we will attempt to give a breakdown of several social media facets that you as a golf professional may benefit from. We have classified each social media outlet with 2 categories:

Will it help you? This means, is it a benefit to you, your business, your brand.  Will it bring you more attention, more credibility and therefore more income?

Annoyance Factor. How often do you need to update it and what kind of maintenance does it require? Some forms of social media require a lot attention and need to be constantly updated in order to keep a fresh look. This also lets you know how much effort it will take in order to make this effective.

This is just a rough guide to several forms of social media and how they can be applied. Everyone has their own unique situation and may benefit from one, but not the other. Using these tools to help your business may also depend on your personality traits. Some people are very extroverted and love the attention, however some others are more introverted and don’t like the limelight. Either way, take a look at what each of these social media tools can do for you and if you’re ready for them.

Will it help you? Maybe.
Annoyance Factor: High.

Twitter is known as a “micro-blogging” tool. You basically sign up for an account, then login and begin writing “tweets”. You can write as many tweets as you want however each tweet is limited to 140 characters (hence the “micro” in micro-blogging). Now once you sign up for an account, your goal is to acquire a large audience, also known as followers. Otherwise, what good is it to speak your mind if no one is there to listen?

So how do you go about getting people to “follow” your tweets? The first way is to tell other people you know to start following you – word of mouth. The second way is to “be someone,” write a great bio, and hope that people will eventually search for your name or your company. The third and most popular way to acquire a large audience is to start following other people in hopes that they will follow you back. Performing a Twitter search on other people or companies in your industry will bring up an entire host of people that have already established themselves on Twitter. You might also find some very interesting people to follow along the way.

So now that you have started a following and you are following a group of people yourself, what do you write about? Why should you be bothering with a “micro-blogging” service in the first place? People love to see what other people are up to and why they are doing what they’re doing. Bringing people into your personal experiences lets them feel connected to you, even though they may have no idea who you are. Take for example PGA Tour Player Stewart Cink. He has been tweeting for quite some time now and has acquired a huge following. At the time of this blog post, he has ### followers. He is bringing a lot of people into the details of his life – and everyone seems to love that! Now, you’re probably thinking that not everyone has as interesting a life as Stewart Cink. And you’re right. So why would they want to hear about what you’re doing?

The answer is: they don’t care. You could be sitting at home watching old re-runs, yet if you continually post comments on how boring or exciting or uneventful your day is going, people will listen. The need for a connection is there. So, the question is – do you feel like you can “connect” to a large group of people that you probably don’t even know by sending out “tweets” of 140 characters or less everyday?

A little tip about Twitter: a LOT of people use it for business purposes in order to drive people to their website. Many people that are on Twitter are trying to get you to buy something or sign up for something. It can be VERY annoying. I recommend to stop following those type of people – especially if they don’t have anything interesting to say. Also, in order to keep people interested in your tweets, you have to write them often. By often I mean at least once a day. This keeps your content fresh and interesting. If this is too much work for you – then don’t bother with Twitter!

Will it help you? Yes.
Annoyance Factor: Mid.

If you haven’t heard of facebook or you don’t have a facebook account yet, than you can officially say that you are behind the times. This phenomenon has transformed the social media scene. People, pets and companies of ALL ages now have a facebook account. Facebook is basically a place on the internet to interact with other users, post all kinds of information about yourself, play games, look at other people’s photos, comment about what other people are doing, and let everyone know exactly what YOU are doing. This is a much more elaborate process than Twitter in that you can set up an entire profile complete with as many pictures as you want. You can post videos from your recent trip, golf lesson, or whatever. There have been many people who have re-connected to their old friends and past acquaintances through facebook.

So how can it help you, the PGA Professional? Either by starting your personal page or a “fan page” you can start interaction with your current students because there will be a good chance that some of your students have a facebook account. This is a great tool to use for it’s ability to post pictures and videos and have other people comment on them. The use of comments and status updates engages your audience and brings them into your world. Once people become your “friend” on facebook, they are notified whenever you update your status, post a picture or video, or comment on somebody’s profile.

We believe that the amount of interaction started with facebook is a great way to get people interested in what you are doing. It doesn’t require as much updating as Twitter, but still requires your attention at least every other day.

Will it help you? Yes.
Annoyance Factor: Mid-High.

Blogging – this is what I am doing right now. Writing a single blog entry can be as simple or complex as you want. Blogs are generally websites or are integrated into websites (such as this one). A blog entry is time stamped and is viewed in order from most recent to oldest. I would recommend a blog for any golf professional wishing to expand his reach and build his business. It’s basically a platform to give all kinds of information and interesting thoughts to your readers.

Now this form of social media is a little different and a bit more professional than most others. You don’t have to make “friends” or get “followers” in order to start your blog. In fact, this might be a downside to blogging – you don’t really know how effective your blog posts are until you really start getting a lot of traffic to your website.

What makes blogs unique however is the ability for users to comment on your blog. You are given the opportunity to moderate the comments and approve or dis-approve any comment that comes through. Blogs are generally focused at certain niches – yours probably being golf instruction. Here’s a great tip however – if you want to create a blog that will really get noticed, then focus on an even more specific area that just golf instruction. A few examples of getting more specific would include focusing on putting, wedges, short game, mental sides, fitness, ladies golf, golf at upscale country clubs, etc. Basically, the more specific and more interesting your blog is – the closer readers will follow it.

We highly recommend blogging as a tool for golf professionals who want a website. Keeping it up is easy than other social media tools because you can get away with at the very least, 3 blog posts per month.

Will it help you? Definitely!
Annoyance Factor: Low.

There couldn’t be a better place to post your video instruction articles than YouTube. Once you post your video to YouTube, the entire world can view it. There is no other video publishing platform like this, and I don’t see any reason why a golf instructor can’t put his videos on there.

One of the amazing features that YouTube offers is the ability for anyone to embed your video onto their website. This draws even more traffic to your video. You can also analyze all the stats for your videos. You can see who is viewing them, what countries are watching your videos the most, how often they are watched, and a host of other analytics. This is crucial when evaluating the effectiveness of your online campaigns.

And here is a great little YouTube tip just for the golf instructors out there. Make sure that you have your videos professionally edited when making golf tips. If you have a consistent opening and closing message with your logo and your web address, people will remember you well after they watch the video. ALSO, make sure the sound on the video is very clear. Use a microphone to pick up your voice. The worst is when you watch a video that you can hardly hear! Follow these steps when making your video tips and watch your hit count rise!

As for the annoyance factor – there is none! You can upload as many or as little videos as you want without the need to update anything!

Will it help you? No.
Annoyance Factor: Low.

Flickr is somewhat like YouTube, however you can only upload pictures. This really doesn’t have a huge bearing on the PGA Professional (unless you focus on photography) but nonetheless, it still fosters a social environment focused on photography. We don’t really recommend this tool to help golf professionals, but if photography is your thing – then go for it! We are sure that there could be a niche market out there for it!

In closing, contact us if you want to hear more about how we can help your social media efforts. Here are a few good articles for further reading:

Debunking Social Media Myths from Business Week

Social Media will Change your Business from Business Week