By Gary Druckenmiller, Jr., co-founder, TheOpenSea.com – We’ve all been there. You spend hours putting together your marine plan for, well, something. Could be communications, operations, marketing, etc., and you come to realize that all those hours have returned very little. Now that you’re knee deep in execution, you sense something isn’t right. Not that you didn’t try your best, your plan just is not working — either in comparison to what’s out there across the marine landscape or what you expected going in.
Unlike more “traditional marketing plans,” social planning clashes against conservatism. In a realm that moves so darn quickly, your social plan needs to be fluid … ever-changing … and in liberal harmony with the world that surrounds us. In other words, it has to change and if it doesn’t, it can go off track very easily. Here are some signs that your well-intended marine based social plan is on a death spiral. Does any of this sound like you?
- Facebook (once the centerpiece to your plan) has become the ONLY place you spend any online social engagement. As a matter of fact, you now spend more time on Facebook for personal reasons than you do for business reasons. Not good. Your business contacts don’t want to be “nudged.”
- That blog you started 3 months ago? Abandoned. You either forgot about it, lost interest, didn’t see any response or the worst sin … YOU FORGOT ABOUT IT! Social planning and execution is all about consistency and persistence over a long term. Remember, good things sometimes take time.
- You spend most of your time in antiquated “forums.” These places were really cool … in 1997. Forums are so dated in fact, that not one in the marine sector that I have found has added any sort of comment sharing or social plug-in to make the technology at least remotely relevant for today’s day-and-age. Painful experience to say the least.
- You use LinkedIn to boost yourself … not your business. When LinkedIn started, it was touted as the best way to connect professionals with professionals. A big online resume. Now it’s one of the best ways to build alliances, find partners, capture leads and become educated. These tools evolve quickly. We need to keep up.
- You spend all your time focused on non-marine social sites. Go where your customers are. Marine is very niche. Not everyone boats. But there you are spending countless hours traversing MySpace (are they even still around?) for just one boater. Focus your attention on marine-only sites. There is a bunch out there now and more and more boaters are starting to move to them.
And here’s two more for good measure …
- You are not using Twitter. I will admit … it’s hard to keep up with. But it is a requirement. Find an interval that works for you. You don’t need to tweet every second like some people do, but just be there and stick with it. In whatever form is convenient to you.
- You spend no time on your peers’ or customers’ blogs. This is a big one. The best way to manage your network is to let others in your marine sector know that what “they say” matters and that you are indeed listening. Comment back on a blog post. Tell them “I agree,” or “I don’t agree,” and then explain why. Just one reply back will go a long way.
If you fall into any of these scenarios, it’s time to reassess. If you fall into all of them, it’s time to start over. Social marketing is not for the faint of heart. If you are not ready to commit, then don’t dive in. Starting and doing nothing is typically more damaging then doing nothing at all. It’s the truth.