Golf and how it is viewed online is much different than how other things and industries are viewed or dealt with out here in La-La-Land. The methods used offline in golf marketing do not really work online..Why? Simply put..the balance between online and offline golfers is not equal. There just are NOT that many golfers who come online for any reason. So the methods of social media that cater to the mainstream tech and gadget industry or, more or less, worthless with golfers.
In this failed economy and high costs of offline marketing many in the golf industry are taking their business marketing online. However, they really don’t know what they are doing as far as attracting attention to their business through the use of traditional Social Media tactics.
So, to continue my efforts to help golf and shore up its survival online and offline, I offer a few methods of Social Media that do work..and later a couple that really are mudding up the water for golfers who know how to use social media effectively..
Positive Word of Mouth
The most effective method to getting golfers to look at anything online is to do what golfers do offline..get to know the person through reaching out and having a conversation…yes, an online CHAT if you like. Going online and connecting with everyone who puts GOLF in their Facebook or LinkedIn profile might have some merit. However, just contacting people to talk about ONLY what you have to offer will start the wheels turning of the most powerful online/offline marketing vehicle every made..Word of Mouth Marketing.
This group of real people you visit with cordially will speak loudly to other real people about your business if you are liked. It is like a social media word of mouth machine. This machine runs like a locomotive through the internet..blowing its whistle loudly at every stop.
However, this train runs on two tracks. You have the positive..’Hey, You gotta check this out’ …track that takes your business or product far into ‘Successville’. And the second track that runs in reverse and is the negative..’You don’t want to go there’ …track that will run you over before you have a chance to stop it.
The word or mouth train on the Positive Track begins with reaching out to people online and starting a conversation…a true complete caring thought provoking conversation.
“Oh, you have to be kidding. I don’t have the time and will not take the time to chat with everyone I need to talk to make a living. You are living in a dream world’”
In reality, the consumers who buy your products or employ your services are who start the word of mouth train rolling. If you shut the door on them you just might have bought a ticket on the ‘Word of Mouth Train’ to bankruptcy.
How many people have you run into online who are all bubbly and gushy about all things positive..all the time? These people are not balanced in their approach to marketing and very few of them will ‘listen’..they just want to be heard.
Being ‘Real’ is sometimes hard to do for some people, but over all, golfers learn to be Real since when playing golf there is really no place to hide the fakeness of being bubbly all the time.
OH, don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with being positive. Matter of fact, positive talk will help more than negative. It is just taking positive to an extreme or when there is nothing to be positive about that turns possible clients away.
So, in golf and using social media, the key is to be real and balanced in the tone of voice on both sides of an issue. Someone who can argue a point to prove its lack of worthiness and who may have to take a negative position on the issue stands much taller in my eyes than a bubbly gooshy person.
So get Real..will ya? Not everything is positive all the time and you cannot run from negative things that happen. So face up to them and balance the approach you use to address your business.
People who do not listen usually talk themselves out of business. Listening is one of the most underrated aspects of social media. Too many people turn to the over aggressive method of marketing in hopes to bring attention to themselves. In golf, and with golfers, aggression is taken as a sign of deception. Big talkers usually produce nothing but Big Talk.
Asking a question of someone about something they were talked about shows you are listening. Questions draw out conversation and it is within conversation trust is built. A good listener will develop more trust than a bad talker.
How do you listen with social media? In stead of just posting Tweets, read what your followers have to say. There are a lot of people saying a lot of things on Twitter and Facebook as well as LinkedIn. Some of it tends to lead to very interesting information. Asking a question on why they said something shows you are listening.
Picking out something someone says and asking them a question is what gets the ball started towards building up trust. Once the trust is built the business usually is quick to follow. If you have your homework done before hand by having a tight profile on LinkedIn or better yet on your stand alone Blog Site, then most of what you have to do using Social Media is listen.
What surely does not work with golfers is…
Just this morning on Twitter I counted three people I am following who have all of the sudden adopted the mainstream method popular with tech/gadget industry who use posting “Check this out” statements and then attaching a link to their blog or web-site. This is the Social Media version of Shouting to the market. It does not work offline so I am not sure why people want to use it online.
What I have found from talking to thee shouters is they have consulted a non-golf PR group or marketing company and was told they need to provide Value online. In non-golf marketing arena value is content or information that is shared with others in the form of a link to a blog or other place that backs a person’s opinion..blah blah blah.. This works well once you have gained trust from someone that the link is good information, but it is see overall as Shouting.
This form of marketing has become a cliché and has turned into being unproductive due to this technique being the method preferred by the ‘Darkside’ or ‘Black Hat’ internet scammers. If someone wants to be blacklisted quickly..keep posting the Links and nothing but links on Twitter or anywhere for that matter.
If you have been online for more than ten minutes you probably have run into someone who uses the ‘Chest Thumping’ style of social media. Just like in the ape world where the overbearing males uses chest thumping to attract mates this practice in the golf arena online is seen as complete foolishness.
In the human world online chest thumping is what most business, that really have little to offer consumers, use to get you to take a look at their product or service. Generally an online chest thumper is a person not comfortable with social media. They cannot stand not being seen and have to be seen to feel they have done something worth while. Many online flock to these people since ..well they must be from the Planet of the Apes.. Golfers run from these people since they usually are very untrustworthy.
Overall, all what works for golfers probably works for other industries. It is just a mystery why there are so many marketing people online saying that the things that do work for golfers don’t work and the things that don’t work for golfers are what they say should be used.
It would be great if more people played golf and came online so the tide would turn to a more sensible approach to using social media to do business. Let me know how I can help.