How to use Social Media and Digital Marketing in the Boat Industry
At the end of 2014, Facebook reported 1.35 billion monthly users and Twitter announced it had 24 million monthly users.
With an ever-growing percentage of the world immersing themselves in social media, businesses of all kinds have the opportunity to interact with existing and new customers in an unprecedented new way. If a business in the marine industry is not using social media to communicate with their customers, it is likely their competitor is.
However, there is a common misconception that digital marketing is social media, but in fact, social media is just one part of digital marketing that can help a business succeed online.
We spoke to a number of boat brokers at this year’s CWM FX London Boat Show about their thoughts on the benefits of putting more of their marketing focus towards social media. See what they had to say below...
Summarising what the industry experts we spoke to at CWM FX London Boat Show 2015 had to say, there are 5 key benefits for a business of any size to use social media.
5. Comparative Low Cost - As previously mentioned, social media should not be considered a full replacement for the various other forms of digital marketing, however, if used well, it can produce positive results at a comparative low cost compared to other forms of advertising online. Facebook and Twitter are free to use, and with a creative strategy, a business’ social media accounts can become valuable assets. The vast majority of social network sites now allow businesses of any size and budget to pay to get their message in front of a specific target audience. However, the success of these paid social media campaigns is often reliant on how engaging this message is.
4. Brand Recognition and Authority - The more visible a business is to a customer online, the more likely they are to buy into the brand. If for example a potential customer gets to the point of making a purchase decision, they are far more likely to want to deal with a business that they are familiar with over one that they have no experience of. Although a direct financial gain may not be obvious when sharing useful and interesting content with an audience via social media, it is likely to indirectly be the deciding factor for a customer to choose between two competing businesses.
3. Customer Loyalty - In the same way that a strong social media presence can help attract new customers, engaging frequently with an audience on social media can build a relationship with existing customers that converts them into repeat customers. Nowadays, if someone has a positive experience with a brand that they want to share with their friends, family or colleagues, they will turn to their Facebook or Twitter.
"Everything you do, you put it on Facebook and Twitter. You’ve got to be really careful how you use it, because if you just bombard it and use it as a sales tool, people don’t want to look at it. They want information, they want to see what your company is about."
Ben Caddick - Val Wyatt Marine
2. Lead Customers to the Point of Sale - Although it may sometimes appear that posting content on various social media channels benefits the likes of Facebook and Twitter more than businesses using it, every post provides an opportunity to link to another destination on the internet, e.g. a business’ website. It is unrealistic to expect to convert social media users to customers with every post, but it can drastically increase website traffic and the likelihood of leading a customer to a point of sale.
"I think it opens up the audience and also leads people back into our website which ultimately drives traffic to us and leads to sales."
Russell Hayden - Salterns Brokerage
1. Understand Customers - People share their entire lives with friends, family, colleagues on social media. Social media gives businesses the opportunity to better understand and analyse the interests of potential and existing customers. Successfully engaging with customers via social media can provide priceless feedback about products and services, which can lead to making more informed marketing decisions in the future.
Social media allows a business to build awareness and promote their brand, but a successful digital marketing strategy uses as many available digital channels as possible. These different channels include:
- SEM (search engine marketing e.g. SEO and Pay per click advertising)
- Mobile Apps
- Email Marketing
- Online Banner Advertising
- Digital billboards
Every business wants to stand out from the competition. Social media and digital marketing is changing the way all businesses reach their customers. Ignoring these channels is essentially ignoring the opportunity for growth.
If you are a marine business looking to grow your presence on social media, put your business’ details into our online form below, and you will be invited to become a member of Boatshop24’s social media community.
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