The Fundamentals of Social Media

With all the talk about social media, most businesses are confused and overwhelmed.

Josh ChilesJosh Chiles, President, Engaged Social Media Firm — With all the talk about social media, most businesses are confused and overwhelmed. They quickly set up a profile on Facebook, not knowing the difference between a personal profile and a business page. Create a Twitter account without a clue what a hash tag is. They even post for a week or two and then, stop. Leaving their social profiles hanging overboard in the cold, brutal water. Talk about being “up a river without a paddle." Let’s save your online reputation and start at the beginning with the fundamentals of social media.

What is Social Media? Social Media uses Web-based technologies (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.) to turn communication into interactive dialogues. Interactive dialogues you say? Yes! Social media is about building relationships. The same way you build a relationship with the customers that walk into your dealership. The same way you have been doing it for years. You are just using a different medium to build that relationship. Think of your Facebook page as an extension of your brick and mortar location, your dealership.

Dealership: Customers drive up and park
Facebook: Customers sign-in and go to your URL

Dealership: Customers walk-in and look at your inventory
Facebook: Customers click on links to view pictures and descriptions of your inventory

Dealership: Customers talk to your staff
Facebook: Customers click on “chat” to talk to your representative

Dealership: Customers call or visit their friends and family to tell them about your great service and that perfect boat
Facebook: Customers click on “share” to tell their friends and family about your great service and that perfect boat

Do you see the similarities? How about the differences? One of the biggest differences is that your content can spread much faster. Your customers on Facebook can share your content in one click of the mouse. Taking the picture and description of that perfect boat and putting it in front of hundreds of potential customers. Not only does your content reach potential customers, but it’s coming from a trusted friend or family member. Now that’s powerful! Okay, you're now super-excited about using social media to reach hundreds of potential customers. Hold on. Wait a minute. Before you go making the same mistakes we talked about at the beginning of this post. Ask yourself these two questions:

1) What do I want to achieve by using social media?
2) How do I achieve my goal(s)?

When you answer those two questions, you will be on your way to social media success. Need help answering either question? Send me an e-mail or look for future posts about Social Media and the Marine Industry.

13 comments

  1. Hi Josh,

    For me, it’s boating for the lifestyle and broadcast media as a career choice – life is good. I use broadcast media for business talk radio and do boaters talk radio on weekends. On the air for almost 10 years, today we broadcast from Newport Beach, CA. That said… this ONLY qualifies me to know what I DON’T know… in SOCIAL media.

    I do however recognize the importance and necessity of social media – and I am learning every day. I recently started using TRAFFIC GEYSER (SMMM) in cyber delivery for audio and video. Now, my reach in one week rivals what I can accomplish in a year by traditional marketing methods… and my cost of marketing has been cut by over 70%.

    When I do “LIVE” remote broadcasts at boat shows, I will archive them on my website and use “key words” to POST broadcasts to 130 different Social Media environments. We will begin with the 2011 Miami Boat Show in February.

    Needless to say, I am very excited about Social Media Marketing Machine from Traffic Geyser and plan to become an affiliate marketer next year – perhaps it would be worth a look, by you?

    Congratulations on choosing Social Media as a career. I implore you to get the message out to your friends and clients and drag the marine industry into the 21st century with it.

    Once there, these guys and gals will thank you forever. Time and money saved – profits up, even in this (marine) industry and market. As they say… you can advertise your business or advertise your business FOR SALE.

    Scott Smith
    Business Talk Radio
    Boaters Talk Radio
    http://www.chesmedia.com
    chesmedia@yahoo.com

  2. Thank you Boating Industry for posting my article. I hope the members will benefit from reading and are looking forward to more great articles about social media and the marine industry.

  3. Do your homework . your smartphone can be a smart investment. But becareful and always remember what you put out there can destroy your credibility. The web is a specialized tool and requires great respect.

  4. Great article, Josh. Readers, please feel free to look at our latest research about where and when boaters and anglers are using social media.http://www.rbff.org/uploads/Research_section/RBFF_Magnet360StakeholderResearch2.pdf

  5. Thank you all for the great comments!

    Scott ~ You are absolutely right about the reach social media can give you. I'm spreading my message to as many people that will listen to me or read my posts. Social media can and will set your business apart and allow you to connect to your clients on a much deeper level than traditional marketing ever could.

    P.S. I would love to chat with you about social media.

    Frank ~ I like your report. Are you working on any new reports?

    Captain Dave ~ Yes, smartphones can be a life saver to allow you to stay connected whether you are on land or cruising the river. You also have to remember, when publishing anything online, reread it before you hit send and make sure what you are saying will build your credibility and not destroy it.

  6. Social media networks serve different purposes for different types of business. Facebook is one of the few that can offer multiple different resources in one network. I have found that using tools to combine these different social media networks is a great way to reach the maximum amount of people with the smallest amount of effort. For example if you sync your twitter to your Facebook then you can update one and automatically have it feed to the other. It may sound small but at 1 update per day, 7 days per week your valuable time starts to add up. I personally use Facebook and twitter a lot for my boat carpet website because it provides a great way for me to connect with current and potential customers and inform them on our newest marine carpet specials etc. I would recommend doing some basic Google searches and learning how to sync your networks together. One of my favorite sync ups is Digg and Facebook. This allows your to post industry specific articles on your Digg account and feed/promote them right on your Facebook wall. As you start to post more respected information more people will begin to follow your content. It can gain you much business as well as help your website out with search engine visibility.

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