Social Media Marketing 101 for water sports operators

Checking social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and other platforms is now part of our day-to-day lives.  Social media is more than just a routine; it is ingrained in our lifestyle. Realizing that social media can reach millions of users worldwide, businesses have invested in social media marketing initiatives and put more effort into engaging with their current customers and attracting new ones.

For the purpose of this blog article, we will focus on two of the biggest networks today, Facebook (FB) and Instagram (IG). With more than 1.2 billion people using Facebook every day, the people you want to reach are highly likely to be here. Instagram also conquered the world of the Internet with more than 800 million global users who share an astounding 70 million photos and videos each day. These two giant platforms are very powerful marketing tools and if utilized correctly, they can create a strong connection with customers, boost return on investment, and much more.

To proceed, create Facebook and Instagram business accounts if you haven’t done that already. It is recommended that you name your accounts after your company or choose something that is closely associated with your brand to reflect your purpose and values.  Add vital information about the company including name, address and contact numbers. Then upload a good profile picture that identifies your company such as your logo and don’t forget to put a link of the official website. When you have established your business networking accounts, then you’re good to go.

Social Media Marketing Crash Course

Building a social media plan is a process that requires effective execution. Here are some steps to help build a strategy that works for your watersports activities.

Step 1:  Set social media marketing goals.

The initial step in creating a strategy is knowing what you want to achieve from your efforts and when establishing goals, use the SMART system:

Specific – What exactly do you aim to achieve?
Measurable – What metrics can you use to determine your progress
Achievable – How will you accomplish your goal?
Relevant – Is your goal appropriate for this time and place?
Time-sensitive – When will your goal be likely achieved?

Here are examples of goals that can develop and achieve better results:

Increase brand awareness – According to an article by Social Media Today, the total time that people spend on social media is incredibly more than the time they spend for eating, drinking, socializing, and grooming.  Sixty percent of this time is linked to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Come to think of it, this is not so hard to believe. Just look around and you’ll notice how obsessed people are with their mobile gadgets.

If your objective is to increase brand awareness, begin by highlighting your activities through interesting posts, videos, or photos of each watersport on FB and IG.

In FB, brand awareness may be measured through the analytics tool called Facebook Insights which can be accessed by clicking “Insights” on the top of your FB page. This tool tracks the following:

Page Likes – Total and new likes for your page: The higher number of likes for a particular watersport activity, the more likely that is resonating with your target audience.
Post Reach – Total number of unique people who have seen your page and posts
Engagement – Total number of unique people who engaged with your page

IG also has an analytics tool called Instagram Insights that provides engagement and impression data to track campaign efforts. Take note that a Business Profile on Instagram must have 100 or more followers in order to access demographic metrics like age and gender.

Drive traffic to your website – After laying the groundwork to establish a brand presence, it’s good to reinforce it by leading visitors to your website.  You can drive traffic by sharing blog posts or pages of your website through FB and IG posts. The most popular and easiest way to monitor and report web traffic is through Google Analytics.

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Increase website bookings –  The ultimate goal of any business is to increase its revenue. Social media can boost website bookings by converting your readers into customers.  There are two ways to do this: direct and indirect. The direct approach is by sharing posts with call-to-action buttons and ads like FB and IG Sponsored Ads. These advertisements drive awareness and encourage potential customers to learn more about your services that may lead to conversion.

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The indirect approach is through the consistent publication of posts related to your services. For example, publish a series of articles about wakeboarding and how to become good at it.  Post a mix of photos and videos featuring wakeboarding tips that can help improve things such as balance, grip, riding ability, and more. These articles can lead to a positive chain of reaction; meaning they can drive the readers to fuel their curiosity by trying out your services.

Promote brand engagement – Businesses that spend time interacting with their readers are able to build a more positive brand persona and loyal followers. Furthermore, social media can be used as an effective customer service tool, wherein the user can inquire about your services via direct messages. In fact, a study shows that 1 in every 3 customers turns to social media in order to get advice or communicate with a business. In line with this, it is recommended that you respond to inquiries as soon as possible to build a good consumer support reputation. Clients feel valued when you take the time to listen to what they have to say and express your willingness to assist them in whatever way you can.

Step 2: Learn more about your audience.

In order to create effective content, you need to know who your audience is and what they are most likely interested to see on your page. By identifying them, you can create content that your viewers and followers will most probably like, share, and comment on.

For example, flyboarding enthusiasts are likely male, aged 20-30 years old, and belong in the middle to upper class. You can determine the audience for your watersport activities by checking Google Analytics data. You can also use the following analytics for a better understanding of who and what type of people are highly interested in what you have to offer:

Facebook Audience Insights helps you learn about the people who matter to your business. This app gathers aggregate information such as demographics, page likes, location and language, Facebook usage, and purchase activity.

Instagram – Use Instagram Insights to get general information such as the number of unique users who have seen your IG posts, amount of website clicks, number of profile visits, and how many followers you’ve gained or lost over the past week.

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With a clear picture of your audience, it is easier to create content that highly appeals to readers.  Make it a point to post visually-engaging and top quality images and videos to captivate followers and generate high engagement.

Step 3: Break down goals into specific approaches.

After coming up with attainable marketing goals, the next thing to do is to design specific actions that can contribute to achieving your goals.  Using hashtags strategically can increase exposure, enhance the brand, and generate more engagement with your content.  Hashtags are searchable and clickable which can increase the organic reach and boost the visibility of the posts.

You can even partner with social media influencers to boost content.  How? Start by creating a list of influencers in your target niche who might be open to partnering with you in creating sponsored posts. Then, send each influencer a direct message to know if they are open to working with you. You can also offer freebies in return. With proper planning, you can have a sponsored post with one influencer every month.

Step 4: Designate tasks and come up with a timetable.

Once you have mapped out specific approaches in line with your goals, proceed by designating the tasks to key people who will execute them. For instance, responding to customer telephone inquiries may be delegated to the company receptionist or a member of the staff. While FB and IG queries may be assigned to someone with customer support training. Another vital part is to determine when you are likely to achieve your tasks. Here are several examples:

  • Prioritize time sensitive events like holidays or company promos. Use branded or campaign-specific hashtags to highlight watersport activities and related campaigns or events.
  • Reach out to a specific number of influencers with a targeted date.
  • Direct message a specific number of influencers within an estimated time frame.
  • Create one sponsored post every certain day of the month.

Step 5: Track and measure efforts.

Monitor and determine if your marketing strategy is working well for your watersports company. The way you measure the results will depend on the goals that you previously set. Compare results from metrics such as Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Instagram Insights, and others.

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Brand awareness – Find out if mentions of your brand increased compared to previous results using the same metrics.

Website traffic – Determine how many visitors visited the website via your posts.

Website bookings – Find out if the ads increased website bookings.

Engagement – Compare previous and current posts to check if there is a significant increase in engagement.

Step 6: Adjust your plan accordingly.

Building a social media plan doesn’t always turn out flawless. Mistakes help a business grow so don’t be discouraged if you encounter some along the way. If certain things don’t work out, adjust your strategy by improving your content that is more relevant to your audience. You can change the frequency and timing of your FB and IG posts to boost engagement, sharpen your plan, and improve results.

 

 

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