Total e Integrated / Monday, March 21, 2016 / Categories: Opinion, Solutions, CRM & Marketing Social Media 101: Tools Every Club Management Business Should Master When I did my first webinar on the uses of social media in the club management industry, I was surprised by both the number of attendees and the interesting questions that came out of the session. Because of this, it became apparent to me that there was a social knowledge gap in the industry – knowing you have to be a part of social media but not knowing where to start or how to get involved. That’s why I have put together a quick overview of what social is and how the club management industry (golf clubs, resorts, restaurants, HOA/POA’s etc.) can get involved in leveraging this ever growing tool to build loyalty, drive engagement and ultimately sell more. So, let’s get started… Why should social media be important to my business? Social media should be an important part of your business because conversations are taking place whether you are active on social or not. So, wouldn’t you rather be a part of the conversation? Social networking gives you the opportunity to engage with your customers because it’s where you can both talk and listen to your community. Success on social is about having a conversation rather than just broadcasting your message. Listen to what your community is saying and engage accordingly. One of my favorite quotes is by Scott Cook, the co-founder of Intuit. He said “A brand is no longer what we tell the customer it is – it is what the customers tell each other it is.” I love this quote because it accurately describes the importance of social media. In fact, only 14% of people will trust what you say about your business while 80% will trust what someone else says. So be a part of the conversation. The Customer Engagement Cycle To begin engaging with your community, you first need to find them or they need to find you. In what’s known as the Customer Engagement Cycle, a journey that we are always going on with our customers, this is called the Awareness Phase. In the awareness phase, a customer might discover you through an organic or paid Google search, social media or word of mouth. Making sure you are easily discovered is the first step to making sure potential customers know you exist. Next, the customer will move to the Education phase. This is where they learn more about your business and the services, products and experiences that you offer. Then we enter the Engagement stage. This is the phase where you and the customer first connect and social media is a great tool to for developing this connection. As long as you provide fantastic, high quality, useful content, the engagement phase will carry the customer to the next step which is Action. The Action phase is the customer making a purchase. During the action phase it’s important that you ensure the customer enjoys the experience to keep the customer engaged and moving through the cycle. If the customer has a positive experience, they may become Advocates for your business through social media and you can build the Bond even further by engaging with the customer through social media. Where can I engage with my customers? Now that we’ve discussed the importance of social media in driving engagement, you may be wondering “How do I know where these conversations are taking place?” In short, these conversations can take place anywhere and there are numerous social media platforms you could use. However, in the interest of time, I will focus on the two big ones that I believe are the most important to club operators, and with no surprise, those are Facebook and Twitter. Twitter – An Overview Founded in 2006, Twitter has exploded to over 304 million monthly active users. In fact, on average around 6,000 tweets are tweeted every second. So, I think it’s fair to say that there is a lot happening on Twitter. I’ve heard many people say that they find Twitter confusing or that they just don’t “get it” so let’s go over some of the functionality and illustrate how it differs from Facebook. The Twitter Handle – This is essentially your user name (“@businessname”). Make sure you pick one that’s most relevant to your business. Profile Picture – Choose a photo that best represents your business. A logo would be an obvious choice for many. Header Image – This is the image at the top of your page. As you can see it takes up a lot of real estate on your page, so use it appropriately. A picture of your team, course, clubhouse, food or just about anything else that promotes who you are and the experience you offer is key here. Just make sure the image is of good quality. Bio Area – The bio area has a prime location just below your profile picture. Make sure your bio is both human and SEO friendly. It should be easy to read and contain relevant information for potential customers, while also containing key words that make it friendly for search engines. Also, make sure you aren’t cliché and use this as an opportunity to be yourself and promote your unique identity. Custom Colors – Use colors to change the look and feel of your profile, but make sure they reflect your branding because consistency is key. Twitter & Customer Service About 80% of customer requests on social media go unanswered, so if you can position yourself in the 20% that responds to requests, you can establish your business as a leader and set yourself apart from your competition. It’s key to remember that your responses should serve your customers and you should always be available to answer their questions. Never ignore requests or be defensive. Initial responses on Twitter should be public at first, but take it private afterwards. This way your community sees that you are engaged with them, but don’t need to see the entire conversation. The same concept applies to compliments. People love to be acknowledged so always thank customers for their compliments. Hashtags Hashtags are very important on Twitter. Posts consistently perform better when they include a hashtag. Hashtags are a great way to categorize or index your content on Twitter, so make sure the hashtag relates to your post. For example, a Michigan based golf facility might join a larger conversation by using the hashtag “#MichiganGolf”. If you’re going to get started in the world of Twitter, you should also understand the importance of followers vs. following, content, and link tracking. First, don’t just follow everyone you come across in the hopes that they will follow you back. Doing this will have a negative impact on your credibility. Second, you should be mixing up the content of your tweets – text, photos, vines, videos, and more to keep your Twitter feed interesting. Finally, track your links using a UTM code. In Google Analytics you can setup a UTM code which will help you track the traffic to a link within your tweet. This is a great way to measure success of a particular tweet or series of tweets. Facebook – An Overview Founded in 2004, Facebook now has over 1.5 billion monthly active users. What’s more astounding is that 1 in every 5 internet page views in the U.S. is on Facebook. That’s 20% of all website views on the internet! With those kind of numbers it comes as no surprise that an active Facebook presence is key to having a strong social media reach. So let’s get started by reviewing some of the functions and tools on Facebook. Cover Photo – Similar to Twitter’s header image, Facebook’s cover photo is prime real estate. However, on Facebook you cannot add promotional content, so “BUY NOW!” or a similar call to action should not be posted here. Instead, take a good quality photo of your team, clubhouse, course, or other interesting photo that promotes your brand and use it here. Profile Picture – Make sure you select a photo that reflects your brand (a logo is an obvious choice) is of high quality, and fits well with your cover photo. The “About” Section – Use this area to explain your business. Keep in mind that only the first 130 characters will be displayed here so lead with the most important or interesting information first. Tabs & Apps – This area can be used to strategically promote your brand and page. The company I work for, Total e Integrated, actually has a Facebook app that allows followers to book tee times through our clients’ Facebook pages. This tee time booking functionality would appear within the Tabs & Apps section. Timeline Feed – Visitors use the timeline feed to see what you’ve posted to your page. A common question I get regarding Facebook is “Do all of my fans see all of my posts?” The quick and honest answer to that question is “no” because of a little thing called Facebook Edge Ranking. An Edge Ranking is Facebook’s algorithm which determines which stories will appear on each person’s news feed. An Edge is an action that a user’s friend makes on a newsfeed story, such as a status update, tag or comment. Facebook will track these edges and only show the ones they believe each user will find the most engaging, based on the Edge Ranking Algorithm. The algorithm has three key factors in its calculation: Affinity – A ranking based on the user’s previous interactions with you or your page. Weight – A ranking based on how likely the user will engage with a post. For example, a video will have more weight than an image, a comment will have more weight than a like, and so on. Decay – A ranking based on how long ago the edge was created. The older the edge the less relevant it becomes. I have a Twitter and Facebook account, so what do I do now? Now that you’ve been introduced to both Twitter and Facebook, the next step is to understand what you’re selling, and in the golf industry, I believe the most important item you sell is an experience. Whether it’s a round of golf, dinner, or an event it’s all about the experience. So, how can you show off what the experience is like at your club? Tell Stories – People love stories, so tell them! A behind the scenes look in the kitchen, hole-in-one shots, and more. Stories help build the big picture of the experience that you offer. Share Customer Stories – Encourage guests to share their experiences on social media. Run a Contest – Contests are a great way to encourage customer stories through social media. For example, a photo contest where customers take a picture of their food with a hashtag of your club’s name. Offer Exclusive Specials or Promotions to Followers – I follow my favourite clothing company on Twitter and they send out exclusive coupons every week to their followers. It is a great way to encourage me to interact with them through social media on an ongoing basis in order to get something that I wouldn’t otherwise get. It also makes me feel like I’m a part of an exclusive group that gets special discounts that others don’t. I feel like I am a part of a community. You can offer some exclusive discounts to your followers and make them a part of your community too. Pro Tips and Tricks – Get your golf pros and clubhouse staff involved in social media. Your team is a fantastic resource of experience and information. Make It Easy To Buy – A “Buy Now” button should be prominent and easy for potential customers to find. Whether it’s a round of golf at the club or a sleeve of balls from the pro shop, the ability to buy online is key. I hope that this social overview has helped better your understanding of the role social media can play in helping build your brand and drive sales. Seven Underutilized Restaurant Marketing Tactics to Drive Sales Seize the Day with Your Morning Routine! Print 616 Please login or register to post comments.