In this current economy, many businesses are looking for ways to cut costs, yet still get the most out of their marketing dollar. Advertising budgets are being cut and people are being laid off as to just keep the business afloat. It is no different in my business as a golf instructor working for a top 25 golf school. We are a small business trying to maintain our piece of the instruction pie while maintaining our brand recognition as well as our current standards of service and golf instruction to our customers. I don’t care how good you think you are at your craft, if you don’t get yourself in front of and stay in touch with your customer, they will find somewhere else to spend their discretionary income. The days of waiting for the phone to ring and setting back and doing what you used to do to drive business is over. The way I look at it as we enter the second year of this recession, is you can choose to be in one or two camps. 1)continue to do what you did the last 10 years and get walked on or 2)grow and move with the latest and most efficient way to market/advertise and communicate with your customer……...SOCIAL MEDIA/MARKETING!
A year and a half ago as we started this downturn, I knew very little on this subject. I look at every adverse situation as a time to grow, learn and get out of my comfort zone. You know me, I am always uncomfortable with complacency and am always looking for the next big thing to learn and grow as a person and a professional. So I went on a quest to figure this stuff out and see how it can help myself and my golf school. So I did what I always do when I don’t understand something…..I bought some books to read and started scouring the internet. The first book I bought was “Crush It” by Gary Vaynerchuck which got me fired up to try some of this stuff. So here is a small synopsis on what I call the four corners of social media and how I think it can help you in whatever business that you are in.
YOUTUBE.COM – This is where It all started for me as I encourage you to always listen to your customer. I used to send out a weekly newsletter with a golf tip to my students. I then started taking pictures of me doing the tip. This evolved into me linking up a professionals swing demonstrating what I was talking about. One of my students commented, “I think the video is great but it would be better if you were doing the tip,”….AHA! So I bought a flip cam, created a TV show called Guru TV. I currently have about 50 videos that I have filmed in the last 10 months. One of my videos “How to drive a golf ball straight” just went viral and youtube is now paying me for the video (very unexpected). Create an account, which is very easy and start filming. You can use your vids as an advertising tool or just a way to get information to your customers or future customers. the main thing is to connect with people. People will subscribe to your channel and you can link it to the next 3 corners that I will discuss.
FACEBOOK - probably leads the way in connecting friends and/or people who don’t know each other. Great way to keep up with customers or post updates on specials that are going on at your company. If you are using it for strictly business, I would recommend starting a fan page. Drive customers to your page through your email marketing or twitter, youtube or word of mouth etc. The more fans you create, the more eyeballs that get to see what you are doing in your business. The more eyeballs, the more chance to cultivate new customers. Using the direct message or the IM feature allows you to communicate with people in a private setting.
TWITTER .twitter.com is the newest craze, even though it about 5 years old. Most people who know about twitter get the wrong idea of how to use it for business. Even though you can only type messages of 140 characters or less, there is great opportunity to reach out to people and communicate ideas. I have met so many outstanding golf professionals and people who just love the game, by using twitter. You can post messages that you want everyone to see (your followers), or you can send a direct message that is just between you and the other participant (similar to a short email). The key is to get followers so more people can see your posts. This is a great way to promote your website or notify your followers of a new blog post…..which is my 4th corner of social media.
WORDPRESS BLOG – This is the biggest reason for the other three avenues…..DRIVING PEOPLE TO YOUR BLOG OR WEBSITE. A blog is another way to promote your business and share information through text or hook up your videos that you have shot on youtube.com. Blogging has become a great venue for many people to share information about a subject of their choice. I use my blog site to share information that I think will help my students and also to create more opportunities for golfers that don’t know me or the golf school to learn more about me. There are many other blog softwares to choose from. WordPress is very well-known, easy to use and had all of the functions that interested me. I would suggest doing your homework, reading other blogs on subjects that interest you and start writing. The cool thing about blogging is you don’t have to be perfect, just write whats on your mind or vlog (video blog) and be prepared for comments. Again, you can link up youtube, facebook and twitter to notify people who you have a blog or have a new blog post.
Click on the links to view my personal facebook, youtube or twitter pages. Friend me up or follow me if you would like. There is plenty of room in Guru Nation. This is just an overview as if I went into detail we would be here all day. The coolest thing is that all of this stuff is FREE!!!!!!!! All it will cost you is your time. If you are willing to put in the work and the hours as I have, I can promise you it will pay off in the long run. Most of the people who criticize Social Media, 1) are too closed-minded to learn something new or 2) Don’t understand it so they bash it.
All I can tell you is that if you aren’t using it (and there are plenty more tools out there), You will be left behind.
So this is the Guru signing off and I AM LOOKING FOR THE NEXT TWITTER……WHOS COMING WITH ME?
Stay humble and stay nervous,