The Social Landscape

The Social Landscape

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Most likely you’re on Facebook, maybe even Twitter – but you don’t really understand why and can’t comprehend how these services could possibly make you money. You’re not alone – we talk to golf courses and golf instructors all day long about these marketing platforms and their significant effects on business.

The first truth that must be acknowledged is the fact that marketing has changed. It has literally changed in front of our eyes and it’s so new and unfamiliar that we haven’t even begun to realize this gigantic shift. We are living through the largest cultural shift in the history of mankind. It’s that big.

At no other time in history has the world been so small. Social media has made it possible to connect with large groups of people at scale and actually bring real value. Businesses are still trying to wrap their heads around these new concepts, but it’s tough because as a species we are naturally reluctant to change. Change is hard, it requires accepting a new reality and learning how to survive in it. The businesses that embrace these changes are not only going to survive this shift, they are going to be on the forefront of it and mostly likely thrive in it.

This marketing shift can be compared to going from sitting around and listening to the radio in the 1940’s to watching TV in the 1950’s. That was a huge cultural shift which needed a complete reengineering of how marketers and businesses told their stories. It took many years for businesses to understand that they needed to approach marketing differently because now their audience was actually viewing their product, instead of listening to it.

The same is true now. We have already shifted away from the TV (no one watches commercials anymore) and moved to the Internet. We are living through the early stages of the Internet and the evolution of how people communicate. It has never been easier to communicate directly with your customer. It has also never been more economical to broadcast your story and have it heard.

The problem that we see everyday is businesses still acting like this is 2009. Businesses are treating social media like they treated “old media” (e-mail campaigns, banner ads, billboards, commercials, etc.) and it just doesn’t work. We need to start thinking about how to use these platforms to engage with our customers, not how to sell them stuff. We need to educate ourselves on how to use these platforms and outlets to interact with the customer.

Your business most likely has a Facebook page. If you’re like 99% of business owners you have no idea what to do or say. You’re lost, and that’s fine – as long as you acknowledge that fact and want to get better. Stop treating Facebook like a magazine ad or TV commercial. No one is interested in seeing that type of marketing on Facebook. You’ll actually be “punished” for poor content by Facebook and they won’t show your posts in user’s News Feeds. Facebook wants to provide its users with quality content so their users will continue to use the service, and if your content doesn’t provide quality (tracked via “likes”, “sharing”, etc..) to the user then it has no value to Facebook. It’s a really simple formula based on putting the user first, and businesses need to change their approach if they are to keep up.

This is the perfect time of year to pick one or two platforms and make an effort to learn how to use them to better market your business.

We have put together a little “cheat sheet” on how to use the most popular platforms to help you get started.

Google Plus:

This one is big – especially if you have a physical location (like ANY golf course). If you are a teaching pro at a golf course, then your business can still benefit from Google Plus too. So if you have an actual location – then you need a Google business listing on Google Places. Chances are – Google has already set this up for you. If so, then you need to “claim” that business page so you can start updating it. If you don’t have a business listing in Google plus, then you will need to create one from scratch. You can start the process here: https://www.google.com/business/placesforbusiness/

There are many reasons to have your business listed on Google Places. The top two are: reviews and the fact that this listing will appear in Google Maps. Having your listing appear in Google Maps (especially at the top) is HUGE. This elevates your search engine rankings and will make your presence known everywhere that Google Maps is used: iPhone apps, Android apps, the web, car navigation systems, etc.

If you don’t have a physical location – then be sure to get a Google Plus page for your business and start adding content.

Facebook

The amount of facebook users is appalling. Everyone you know has either a facebook account or has heard of facebook. Not having a presence on here is not an option. HOWEVER, regularly interacting with customers via your Facebook page is hard work. You have to make time to comment on posts, ask people to like your page, post interesting links, articles, videos, and pictures AND you must respond in a timely fashion anytime someone makes a comment.

Twitter

Twitter is built on 140 character blurbs that can come and go in an instant. To say that marketing your business on this platform is hard is a huge understatement. You need to be diligent about following other users, commenting on other conversations, posting links, posing questions, offering answers – all in a timely AND consistent manner.

Instagram

This platform is a delight due to the beautiful pictures you can create. It works in the same fashion as Twitter – you need followers. Acquiring followers can take time and patience, but once you get a good following, then posting interesting pictures is fun. You can also push these images to Twitter and Facebook, which can be a nice addition to those platforms once in a while.

LinkedIn

If you are a business, than this platform can help you acquire new talent. If you’re an individual, then you can use this platform to network with other industry professionals, look for a new job, or post your latest articles to your timeline.