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« Back Post Date: Tuesday, November 05, 2013, 1:00 PM
How Is Social Media Relevant to your Club’s Website?
Social Media has captured a significant part of our daily communication and the trend is continuing to snowball. Read on to find out how your Club can capitalize on this vibrant communication channel.
By Alyssa Montgomery and Amy Sand

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest and so on and so forth.

Social Media has captured a significant part of our daily communication and the trend is continuing to snowball. Just think about how social media links are scattered across the sites of the news outlets that we visit every day. You may or may not use social media sites like Facebook on a personal level, but you can bank on the fact that your club is represented there.

Social media can no longer be ignored. If you are not proactive, members and non-members who are active on social media sites can actually take control of your brand perception! Today it is imperative to manage your social media presence and this document contains the building blocks to a successful strategy.

First of all, if you do not actively managing your “official” club presence on social media outlets, you should be aware that someone else may have created an “unofficial” presence for you, and in many cases, inadvertently casting your club in a negative light.

Second, by maintaining a presence on sites where your target audience regularly visits, you are “fishing where the fish are”, thus giving yourself a better chance to engage more people while conveying a positive image, and ultimately driving more onsite activity.

The idea is not to compete with the social media websites, but not to surrender, either. Instead, use the traffic generated on these outposts to tease your prospects and members into visiting your club’s website and ultimately visiting your club in-person.

But before you jump head-first into all of the social media platforms, spend some time learning where to focus (i.e. where you should be “fishing” online).




Facebook is King
Unsurprisingly, Facebook is the #1 social networking website, and traffic isn’t fading. 50% of users visit the website every day[1]: they want to know what’s going on with not only their friends, but the companies, organizations, and clubs to which they belong.

A COUPLE OF ITEMS TO CONSIDER IN ORDER TO CAPITALIZE ON THE POWER OF FACEBOOK
•  Make a positive impression: For potential members on the web, Facebook may be the first connection they have with your club, so be sure to:

   — Incorporate visual elements that are consistent with your club’s overall online brand identity (e.g., same logo, same banners that are used on your club’s website, etc.). 
   — Ensure that your Facebook admins adhere to the same standards and guidelines as your website admins in terms of what does and doesn’t get posted.

•  Invite to "Like": Don’t be shy about asking for “likes.” Connecting with your current members is key to widening your network and expanding your reach to more and more prospective members.

ONCE THEY "LIKE" YOU, YOU CAN DRAW FANS IN BY
•  Posting 1 or 2 pictures of an event and tagging members, then link to your site’s photo pages to see more.

•  Posting the date and time of an event and then link to the club’s calendar for registration.
Advertising a membership special and linking to the website for full details on the deal.





Google is Loyal to Google

When Google’s tools are used, such as YouTube and Google+, organic search results, on Google, are more likely to increase. Invest your time on YouTube. Short informative videos on YouTube can drive traffic and add an interactive dimension to your site.

TIPS FOR A DYNAMIC YOUTUBE PRESENCE
•  Create videos that reach your current members and beyond. Example: “Tips from the Golf Pro” or “Personal Message from the Chef.”

•  An audience’s attention span is short; keep videos 90 seconds or less.
Videos should be hosted on the club’s YouTube channel, as well as embedded on the club website.





The Early Bird Catches the Young Professional

Today the second largest social media platform, Twitter, is also the world’s fastest growing[3]. Although it’s less popular with an older demographic, young professionals have turned their Twitter feeds into a personalized breaking news source. Even if your target demographic is not 25-40, it’s important to dive in and be ahead of the curve.

TWEETING FOR SUCCESS
•  With only 140 characters to work with, make sure to narrow your tweets to a single topic. Example: Post event updates or changes to the dining menu, and always link back to your website.

•  Think of Twitter as an online storefront. You want to be near other businesses that offer similar services. For Example: “The Olympic Club” should follow all area clubs. This will allow you to view your competition and potentially connect with their followers.

•  Use “hashtags” to create buzz for your club’s offerings and major events. A Twitter hashtag (the # symbol) is used to flag searchable keywords within a tweet, enabling others to easily discover and add to the conversations, thus helping your club fast-track connections. Make sure your hashtags are relevant to your information. If applicable, use a trending hashtag, which groups your tweet with current heavy twitter traffic. #USOpen





The New Way to Plan an Event
Pinterest, the internet’s most popular electronic bulletin board, easily stores and organizes images from all over the internet. Users grab or “pin” images into organized areas or “boards.” Users can search for pins and then “repin” photos to their own boards. With this ability to easily share ideas, Pinterest has become a popular wedding planning tool. Think of it as the modern way to cut photos out of a magazine and place in a shoebox. For this reason, it’s best to focus your time on promoting weddings, event venues, and catering departments.

START PINNING

•  Creating an account is easy. Pinning images is even easier. All you need is a URL and Pinterest will pull all available images from that page.

•  On your website, be sure to post the highest quality photos of your club’s facilities, past weddings and banquets, etc. Pinning these images from your site will capture the attention of brides-to-be who are hunting for those types of photos as they search for the perfect wedding venue. Don’t underestimate the power of “visual marketing”. Many of today’s consumers are practically addicted to viewing photos; capitalize on that craze!

•  Every word on Pinterest is important. Make sure to have detailed descriptions, titles and hashtags for all of your images.This is how other users will search and find your pins.

•  A pin is forever connected to the webpage it originated from. This means your photo can be repinned by other users endless times, and still direct back to your site with a simple click.





Remember, social media should be used as a supplement to your website, never as a replacement. Continually linking back to your site through multiple social avenues not only drives traffic but can increase SEO results. Be sure to look for our article on Effective Strategies in SEO in the near future.



Co-Authored by:
 
    ALYSSA MONTGOMERY

As a senior interactive marketing & SEO consultant, Alyssa has used her 5+ years of industry experience and technical knowledge to propel her clients to the top of the club market.
    AMY SAND

As a marketing associate in the Digital Marketing Agency, Amy enjoys taking complex technical language and transforming it into clear, engaging information.

[1] The Social Skinny 100 Social Media statistics for 2012 (2012), http://thesocialskinny.com/100-social-media-statistics-for-2012/.