Gary B. Druckenmiller, Jr., TheOpenSea.com -- Forget the introduction. No more hand-holding. There are default steps you should be taking right now to either dive-in or prep for the onslaught of social marketing in the months and years to come. Many of you are trying to avoid it. You can’t. It’s time to join the party. Here’s a quick hit-list … from start to finish.
Grasp what’s possible:
Ability to fight with the big dogs. Huge return on your dollar. Instant access to your customers. And content that lives on forever. All of these things are available now. No more excuses. If you can’t see the benefits by now, then it may be too late for you. Be a leader out there and they will “follow.” Your audience is already looking for you (or will be soon).
Assemble your Social Marketing Starter Kit:
Once you realize what is physically in reach, you’ll ask yourself the next question. What do I do first? Start with what you hear about mostly. Do the Facebook thing. Write a blog. Sign up for Twitter. Just do that and be good about keeping up with it. MasterCraft Boats has assembled an arsenal of fronts in the social space. All of the above, actually. Clearly, they know how their audience likes to communicate.
“Leverage” your content:
No, you do not need to log into Facebook, Twitter et al to write your posts or comments or Tweets. Write it once and be done with it folks. Syndication and aggregation tools like RSS (Real Simple Syndication) and Soup.io allow you to write one thing and blast it to every social tool you use. This will save you hours of low level Indian work and keep you focused on what you’re trained to do … run your marine business.
You’re gonna need a bigger boat. Opening up the airwaves will require a seemingly larger amount of attention to your business marketing. But this will eventually be to your advantage. Your “followers” and “fans” tell YOU what works. They’ll stack attack the best ideas, too! At TheOpenSea.com, we collect and store every message from our users and not only benchmark against those messages but actually institute some of the suggestions made. Just give your customers what they want. They’re telling you straight up now.
Monitor and engage:
This social media stuff is unlike anything you have ever done before. Learn how to track what people say about you and figure out the best way to jump on those conversations. Becoming a monitoring and engagement expert for your marine business means being able to follow the best discussions and add preeminent value into those discussions based on your lifelong experiences. For example, Sunbrella uses Twitter to engage directly with their customers. Posting stories, promotions and valuable insight. Hats off to the fabric business!
Think deep and go niche:
You are in a niche industry. But within boating are hundreds of smaller niches. Social marketing was bred for that level of explicit detail; the more innocuous the better. Exploit what you know. Extend what you’ve learned and apply that microcosm of knowledge about dock management, GPS settings or deep sea fishing gear to a niche level dialogue that entices people to listen to every word you say. A company called iBoatService just launched an iPhone App that lets you keep track of your boat warranties, service requests, etc. (www.iboatservice.com or download it from the Apple App Store.) It doesn’t get more niche than that.