Blog! Blog! Blog!

As a regional manager for PADI, I get to work with some truly fantastic people, who are often doing some inspirational work. The one thing that is sadly lacking is the time (or inclination) to write about it.

Self-promotion is big business and is vital to the success of yours. I am not suggesting that you should aim to become one of the growing keyboard warriors and look at trying for “guru” status. But I am betting that there is a whole host of things that you are your team are doing which should be highlighted and sung from the rafters.

I often hear that “I am posting on social media” which is fantastic and a step in the right direction. But regardless if you are a small business or a multinational company, blogging needs to be an integral aspect of your online marketing strategy.
There is a huge list of reasons your company to blog but I have tried to keep the list to a few, in the hope that the importance of it is driven (or diven, I know bad pun, but we are all divers at heart) home!

Website

I am willing to bet (or at least I hope) that you have put a lot of time and effort into building and running a website. It costs a good chunk of money to run it and if now the prime route for someone to find out about what you provide as a company. What is the point of all this time, effort and money if you are not driving traffic to your website?
Your blog should be at the heart of any and all social media, news and marketing effort. The cycle should begin and end with people engaging on your website. You should blog and then share on social media, this will then mean that your customers (and importantly, your soon to be customers), will see what you have been up too but then are drawn to your website to find out more.

SEO

Posting a regular Blog will increase your SEO! Who wants to be top of the internet search? Yes, you can buy your way to the top, but people are more and more wary of adverts, being there, on page 1, at the top, through and organic means is more long term success and will outlast the cost to get there with money.
By having regular fresh and pertinent content on your website means that as the searching algorithm updates it databases you will have ticked some of its programming boxes, which enables it to promote you higher.

industry leader

A positive side effect of all this fresh and pertinent content on your website means that you are positioning your brand (yes you need to start thinking of your business as a brand) as an industry leader. There might be something that you are passionate about (one of the reasons I love the PADI system so much is all the specialities) find time to write about it. That incredible dive which has kept you coming back for more is powerful and will inspire others.
Recently for myself has been a few incredible sea dives with seals. The company and comradery of a people who I have never dived with, bonded over the fun of the diving. (Yes I am a strong advocate that diving should be fun, you need to be well trained and follow the other safety principles that PADI advocates, but fun none the less. I doubt I would have remained a diver for the last 21 years if I had not enjoyed 99% of my dives and that includes working as a DM and OWSI). What has this ramble got to do with being an industry leader? Well, I am promoting UK diving as some of the best in the world, it helps if you have some great experiences to sell it to someone who’s never tried it.

So in short, make blogging a most do action and at a minimum a monthly one. If you need help, please get in touch.

How to use social Media most effectively

Social MediaEveryone has them, everyone knows them – but does everyone know how to use social Media most effectively.

I am now working as a PADI Regional Manager for several years and I saw many Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus – business pages of various diving schools. I also learned that today’s youth is represented on Instagram. So, if you only use Facebook – in the eyes of youth you are “Out”!

Oh dear… I thought … I’m already so old … But you have to be clearly aware that every target group uses different Medias – the diversity is the key to success

There are seven important points which need to be considered:

  • Existing social platforms
  • Which social Media do I use for my diving school
  • Target groups
  • How many times do I write a post
  • Who should write you posts
  • Insights
  • Blogging

Existing social Media platformssocial Media_2

The number of social media platforms is increasing, however, not every Platform is suitable for your business. Below you’ll find the most popular social media of our times.

– Facebook

– Twitter

– Google Plus

– YouTube Channel

– Instagram (only Mobile)

– TripAdvisor

– ScubaEarth

– Snapchat

Social Media_1Which social media do I use for my diving school?

From my experience I can say very clearly that a business without Facebook, Twitter, Youtube Channel and ScubaEarth – has clearly missed the today´s train. You have to be visible and find the customer where he is looking for you. This is called inbound marketing – means to target the potential customer, who is looking for you, will find you. That is why it is so important that your website is always up to date.It does not mean that each platform needs a separate entry. Various social media can be linked with each other. For example, Facebook can be linked to Twitter and vice versa. Then each entry on Facebook will be automatically published on Twitter. Then there is also Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a platform that manages all your social media. This means; you write an article only once and Hootsuite publishes all your messages on your registered social media. The only problem with this is that the contributions are not adapted to the uniqueness of the platform.Very important, especially for resort areas is TripAdvisor. Statistics show that diving schools, which have a TripAdvisor account and also several reviews, are much more frequently contacted by new customers.

Target groupsZielgruppe

Which target group I want to reach with my entries?

How effective are my messages?

Do I reach new customers with my photos?

These are all questions that you need to ask yourself, if you are planning a new post. A post should be interesting and exciting. The visitor of your page has to feel addressed. You want to get to your existing customers, to keep them in touch with you and show them what´s happening in your Dive Center after they leave it. After all you want these customers to come back. You also want to acquire new customers through your social platforms. Attracting and motivating the user is key. Facebook for example, it is not about how many “likes” you have, it is about how many of them are interacting with you on your page. The number of “likes”, “comments” and “shares” improves the chance that future “posts” appear in the news feeds of your “fans”. Non interaction risks that your future “posts” will disappear in the “fans” future news feeds. That is not a good thing…

ZeitaufwandHow many times do I write a post?

I know that the time is a problem – especially during high season. However, you cannot avoid to actively and effectively use your social media during high season. This is the time where you have to promote your business. You have to publish a post, for example, on Instagram and Facebook at least once a day, a blog post would be very good once a week, but by-monthly is also ok. What you want is consistency in your publications. Google, as well as your readers, will immediately notice irregularities. The great thing about social media and blogging is that you can schedule you publications, and therefore write your posts in advance.

Who should write your posts? 12188053_918898418191860_5675352402385959746_o

People are always asking me: “Who should be writing all of these articles?” Delegate your social media needs to a responsible staff member, give them a camera and your login details and tell them to go wild.

Encourage your customers to write on your wall. Animate and activate your clientele, by publishing on your wall they become advocates for your diving school. Motivate them with prices for the most liked article during the season for example.

What is the first thing you do when a customer is walking in your diving school…? Right – you say “hello” and then…? … Then you give him a Tablet in his hand and ask him to log on to their social media platform. Encourage them to like your Facebook business page immediately. It is also very important that you mention that they tag themselves in every picture where they appear.Before your satisfied customer leaves your Dive School, ask them to write you a review on Trip Advisor and / or on the Facebook Business page. It’s amazing how many new customers have been generated by TripAdvisor and Facebook reviews. People read these reviews before they decide where to go!

InsightsInsights

Each platform has a statistic. Use this well! You can read when your “fans” or “followers” read your posts, when they are active on the Internet, where they come from, how many of your visitors are men or women – and a lot more. You can find all of this within the insights. Try to find out what your most successful posts are and according to that you will write your future posts – and measure the success again.

BloggingBlog

A diving school with no blog – is like a VW without a catalyst…! It is absolutely a must have! It does not mean that you need to write a novel, even a small article is ok. But it is important that you blog frequently.It is also important that your blog has social media sharing buttons. This ensures that your blog can be shared by the readers. It is also important that your readers can subscribe to your newsletter or blog. With this they will get an email as soon as you published a new blog. Encourage your customers to share your new blog on their social media platforms.

What are the key points for a successful Blog?

– Update frequently so that the readers are coming back

– Link your Blog with Facebook / Twitter – for automatic feeds

– Use keywords to support you search engine optimization (SEO)

– Link your Blog with your website and vice versa

Your goal should be to keep your existing customers in the loop about what´s going on in your diving school since their experience – after all you want them to come back. By using the right keywords (SEO) to attract new customers, you have the highest chance that your blog will be read and shared by a wider audience. The more interesting your article is – the better. You will generate future clientele.

I hope that this article has opened your eyes a little wider and that you understand the importance of how to use social media most effectively.

If you would like to learn more about social media and Websites, it would make sense to apply for the PADI Business Academy, which is offered in various countries.