Colonies of Hope

Blog written by guest blogger and marine biologist Clare Baranowski

Preserving coral reefs is a growing concern in the Maldives

At Gili Lankanfushi, we are recovering our coral reefs through the Coral lines Project. By growing small fragments of coral on hanging ropes (lines) and then transplanting them to our house reef near One Palm Island, we hope to see regeneration and aim to kick start the health of our house reef.

Our Coral Lines Project started three years ago and currently holds around 7484 coral colonies. We are consistently adding small fragments of coral to the already growing population on 153 lines.

Josie monitoring our 153 coral lines

The vulnerable nature of coral populations mean that they undergo cycles of disturbance and recovery. Our house reef was affected by warmer waters created by the El Nino event in 2016 which bleached much of the corals. Yet against all odds, most fragments in our coral lines nursery survived.  They have also been faced with a Crown of Thorns (coral predators) outbreak this year and have still remained intact.

In some cases, the corals in our lines are no longer present on shallow reefs in the area.

Now, is the perfect time to begin stage two of our coral restoration project by moving coral from our nursery to our house reef.  Transplanting coral is a delicate procedure with a lot of trial and error. We began slowly by creating a test site with a small number of coral colonies to ensure we would not lose healthy coral unnecessarily.

Josie beginning the process

We found a site with conditions not too dissimilar to the nursery. The area had to be flat and solid, with no loose material and space for growth.  It also had to be an area that is easily accessible for monitoring, but nowhere in danger of tampering or accidental damage.  We chose a depth of 8 metres in the middle of house reef drop off where we regularly snorkel. Another major concern was the Crown of Thorns Starfish, so we placed the coral in an area visited regularly by Harvey Edwards, Ocean Paradise Dive Centre manager, who has been removing these starfish from the reef for months.

Clare cutting the coral from the line

The next step was to cut the colonies from the lines in the nursery, and transport them in mesh bags in the water. We decided to use three different Acropora species to begin with as they are fast growing and like a lot of light and a moderate current. Once at the site, we cleaned the area of algae and attached the coral to ensure protection from extreme water movement. We placed them an equal distance apart to allow quick growth and attached the coral using epoxy, which is a clay like cement. We were aware from previous studies that Miliput (epoxy clay) has been seen to kill the part of the coral it is attaching, so we placed small amounts of putty at the base of the coral.

Once a week, for a total of six weeks, we will measure growth and survivorship of the coral.  We hope to replicate the test at different depths and locations to find a suitable site to start a larger restoration project. However, we will hold off on most of the major transplantation until after the monsoon season.

Attaching the colonies using epoxy

Due to the fragility of coral species, our rehabilitation plans are very flexible, and subject to a long monitoring period.  We expect to adapt our approach and long term management to ensure we keep up with the changing environment of the reef. Previous restoration plans have been hindered by external threats, so we are so excited to finally begin this project. We will be producing scientific data along the way which we hope will contribute to current coral reef rehabilitation knowledge.

Although our transplants are working well so far, we will still have many question to answer in the future such as: are the corals on the house reef still reproducing? As these corals survived the last bleaching, will they be more genetically suited to future hostile conditions? The answers to these questions are all just a work in progress and we will have to keep on watching and learning as we replant and monitor these corals over the next few years. As our house reef sustained a lot of mortality and the coral cover is low, we hope that this new project will help to rejuvenate the reef and raise awareness.

PADI’s guest blogger Clare Baranowski introduces herself:

I am a marine zoologist from the UK who has worked throughout the tropics researching mega fauna and reef ecosystems in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean. I have experience monitoring and restoring coral and surveying manta, turtle and dolphin populations. I began my career as a science communicator before moving into research and management roles, this is why I incorporate outreach and education into every project I work on and I hope to continue this at Gili Lankanfushi.

MALDIVES DIVING HOLIDAYS

Life beneath the surface in the Maldives is an underwater Disneyland, perfect for dive enthusiasts. The Maldives is renowned as one of the very best diving locations in the world. There’s not only an abundance of reef life here but also spectacular coloured coral and crystal clear water.

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Nigel Wade

WHY CHOOSE THE MALDIVES FOR YOUR DIVING HOLIDAY?

The Maldives ticks all of the boxes when it comes to diving holidays. This tropical location boasts visibility levels of up to 40 meters, making it a great destination for advanced divers. However diving in the Maldives is not just for the experienced. The shallow lagoons and channels make it the perfect location to try diving for the very first time. Plus what better destination in the world is there to gain your scuba-diving certifications?

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Renee Sorenson

The Maldives is also home to protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. The presence of currents in this island nation means that open water channels are perfect for drift diving and it’s also possible to swim with gentle ocean giants like manta rays and whale sharks. Don’t forget the Maldives has year round water temperatures of 26 – 29 degrees Celsius!

THE BEST TIME OF YEAR FOR DIVING IN THE MALDIVES

Fortunately, the diving season in the Maldives is open all year round with the calmest conditions from December through to June. As the Maldives is located in the tropics, it is susceptible to both wet and dry seasons. June to November is the south-west monsoon season, bringing with it with overcast and wet conditions, especially in June and July. During these months expect slightly less visibility and different currents, although there is still plenty of marine life on offer, as well as sunny spells. Generally reef life is more varied and visibility is better on the western side of any atoll from May to November and on the eastern side from December to April. Reef sharks, hammerheads and whale sharks are found in the Maldives year round, along with manta rays and sea turtles, you just need to know where to head at the time of year you plan to dive!

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Renee Sorenson

DIVING OPTIONS

There are a number of diving options when it comes to Maldives. For example at Secret Paradise, value for money diving holidays and tours will be offered that you will remember for a lifetime. Enjoy an all-inclusive guesthouse stay and be transferred by boat to incredible nearby dive sites, the same sites that you would dive from a resort but at half the cost! Our diving holidays are an affordable alternative to a resort stay and also allow you the flexibility of island hopping or if your budget is larger, atoll hopping to benefit from the best dive locations during your time of travel.

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Renee Sorenson

Liveaboards are a popular dive holiday option, allowing you to scour the waters for the ultimate dive spot each day. These days most Liveaboards operate a year round schedule offering 7 night, 10 night and 14 night cruises not only in the central atolls but to the deep south and deep north offering opportunities to discover less dived sites and pristine coral.

SECRET PARADISE DIVING HOLIDAYS

 Secret Paradise, offers six diverse one island based diving packages, all in different atolls allowing you access to what are some of the best dive sites in the world. Our packages include Dharavandhoo, perfect if you want to encounter 100s of manta rays in Baa Atoll, Hulhumale if you need to stay close to the capital, Maafushi, South Male Atoll, Dhigurah home of the whale shark in Ari Atoll, Rasdhoo, the ideal location to spot a hammerhead and Gan in Laamu atoll.

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Boutique Beach

Our island hopping itineraries in Male Atoll and Ari Atoll allow you to discover a range of dive sites and marine life whilst at the same time experiencing Maldives local life, tradition and culture, with or without a private dive guide.

DIVE TEAMS

All partners of secret Paradise are PADI affiliated dive centers and are operated by both local and European dive professionals. A personal interest is taken in promoting scuba diving in the Maldives, through education and awareness about the underwater environment here. Their objective is to encourage underwater conservation and safe diving practices

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Nigel Wade

Dives are generally conducted from the beach within an island’s inner reef for beginners or from a local dive boat, a dhoni, for certified divers. Dive sites are chosen daily based on both the weather and current conditions as well as diver ability.

The teams will take you to the best dive spots and willingly introduce you to the characteristics of the underwater world of the Maldives. All offer boat dives, NITROX, night dives and a full range of PADI courses and will always ensure you get the best out of your dive. If you are learning to dive, you can do anything from completing a try dive or just the open water dive section of your PADI Open Water certification to completing the full PADI Open Water certification. Whatever you choose to do you can be assured of fun and safe diving with us and our partners.

Photo credit - Ruth Franklin

Photo credit – Nigel Wade

Secret Paradise Co-Founder, Ruth Franklin a diver herself with over 1500 dives in the Maldives is always happy to share her own diving experiences and is on hand for honest dive advice.

About Secret Paradise

Since 2012 Secret Paradise has been at the forefront of the Maldives local island tourism industry, promoting and supporting guesthouses, dive centres and activity operators based on locally inhabited islands throughout the Maldives archipelago. Offering group and private tours or independent travel packages, Secret Paradise holidays are designed to allow guests to engage with local people and experience the best from a paradise generally known as a luxury resort destination.

Responsible Tourism plays a very large part in what we do. We are mindful of ensuring we promote local tourism in line with Maldivian culture and beliefs and through education of both guests and locals we aim to protect the environment and limit where ever possible any negative impact to local life. We partner NGOs such as Save the Beach and marine charity organisations such as Maldives Whaleshark Research Program to provide opportunities for our guests to learn and support local conservation initiatives.

The benefit of travelling with us is that Secret Paradise guarantees you prompt and efficient personal service. We deliver high standards of service and professionalism and you can rely on Secret Paradise to provide expert local knowledge, clear communication and honest advice.

www.secretparadise.mv

Kuredu, Sea Turtles Heaven

Since 4th November 2016, 74 sea turtles have been registered around Kuredu (Kuredu House Reef/Laoon, Kuredu Express, Kuredu Caves and Kuredu Coral Garden). 58 of those individuals are Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas).

The reef around Kuredu houses almost one third of all registered Green sea turtles in the Maldives. Incredible! The island is an important feeding and nesting ground for Green sea turtles.

The Stars:

Audrey (GR459) is a regular in Kuredu Lagoon and often observed enjoying her sea grass meals. This Green turtle is easily identified by its missing left rear flipper. Despite being handicapped, Audrey is in good shape (and has a big appetite)!

Pia (456) is a juvenile Green sea turtle with a shell length of about 40cm. With 20 registered sightings, Pia is the most sighted individual at Kuredu Caves!

Bjoern (GR38) is one of the first identified sea turtles in the Maldives. Also, he is the only male at Kuredu Caves! His impressive size of 70cm in shell length and the long tail gives him away as a male. The length of a sea turtle’s tail tells the sex.

Every sea turtle has a unique scale pattern on the left and right side of its head. This pattern allows for individual identification and population assessments. As part of the “Hurawalhi sea turtle ID project”, every sea turtle sighting is registered. Supporting the project will be rewarded! If you submit right and left side pictures of a newly identified sea turtle, you can name it! Become a sea turtle’s namesake for a kind donation of $50 to the Olive Ridley Project. You will receive a naming certificate and updates whenever your sea turtle gets relighted.

FUN FACT: Green Sea Turtles can hold their breath for over 4 hours.

 

Prodivers is one of the leading dive and watersport operators in the Maldives with currently five 5* PADI dive centres. If you are fancy visiting them please check out their website www.prodivers.com

Sharks, Rays and Turtles – Your PADI Speciality with Prodivers Kuredu

Photo by Stefanie Wagner

Photo by Ray van Eeden

You got to love sharks, rays and turtles! In fact, at Kuredu Prodivers we love our residents so much that we’ve compiled everything we know about them and created two specialty courses that you should put on your must-do list: Maldivian Shark & Ray Distinctive Specialty Course, and Sea Turtle Diver Course. These two courses provide the best way for you to learn more about these incredible animals – and of course see them in their natural environment, at reefs around Kuredu.

Photo by Stefanie Wagner

Photo by Stefanie Wagner

During the Maldivian Shark and Ray course you will find out more about the incredible sensory system that sharks and rays possess, learn how to identify the different species, determine their gender and understand the mating behaviour, as well as the need for us to preserve and protect the current populations of sharks and rays. The narrow channels, where the currents flow in and out of the atoll and the deep out reefs around Kuredu are the ideal habitat to get encounters with sharks and rays.

Photo by Marek Machinia

Photo by Marek Machinia

For those of you prefer the sleepy headed sea turtles, the Sea Turtle Course will surely be of interest to you, especially since Kuredu is home to the largest known population of Green Sea Turtles in the Maldives. With over 63 identified individuals resident around the island, this makes it the perfect place to enrol in the course. It offers the chance to learn more about how turtles have adapted and evolved through their fight for survival, and you will also learn how to identify the different species and to distinguish whether they are male and female, and how they reproduce. Are you familiar with the famous Kuredu Caves, a.k.a. Turtle Airport? The course is also available to snorkelers.

Photo by Stefanie Wagner

Photo by Stefanie Wagner

The PADI Maldivian Shark & Ray Distinctive Specialty Course was developed by Prodivers to help increase the awareness about these magnificent creatures. Get in touch with us to find out more about diver qualification requirements for the courses.

Visit www.prodivers.com or drop us an email via info@prodivers.com

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Marketing Support from PADI in 2017

marketing-supportThe New Year is over a month old and I hope that the majority of you paid your PADI Membership fess already. But what do you get from PADI when you renew your PADI Membership? What kind of marketing support can you expect from PADI in 2017?

This is a very good question and you will find further down the answers to this question.

Please remember that you will not have access to your PADI Prosite anymore when you did not renew your PADI Membership until the 31st of January 2017!

How can PADI support you in terms of marketing?

The following 8 points should show you how PADI can support your Business in terms of marketing and that you can focus on the most important things of your Business – YOUR CUSTOMER!

 

alpha-divers-2Dedicated Store Visits or Online Consultations

Your Regional Manager can organise a visit from our eMarketing Specialist in your Dive Centre. Our eMarketing Specialist will check your Website and Social Media activities from head to toe – during a 2 – 3 hours visit. Our Specialist will show you exactly how you can improve your Website and how to improve your Social Media activities.

If it´s not possible for the eMaketing Specialist to visit your Dive Centre – we can always organise an Online Consultation.

 

13735723_1056550734419555_678261624877133597_oStore Wraps > Design

PADI has an amazingly professional Designs Department who can “pimp“ your Dive Centre outside or inside. We are even able to organise a Car Wrapping.

 

Poster and Brochure Support > Design

Like the Store Wrapping – We can support you by design customized Posters and Brochures for your needs.

 

Adverbs on Social Media

In the past few years, PADI launched very successfully the Adverb support for PADI Members on Social Media. PADI is sponsoring adverbs for your Dive Centre for example on Facebook or Google.

 

Website Reviews

If you wish – we can organize a Web Review for you. PADI is working very closely with an external company together who will check your Website. You will get a detailed report from PADI with all the changes you need to make to improve the traffic to your Website and that the Website is working better for you.

 

fb-header-aarau-dive-factory-2017_signatureSocial Media Support & Artwork Assistance > Cover Photos etc.

Our Designs Department can create cover Photos for your Facebook campaigns or to advertise your events.

 

email-templateEmail Template Design & assistance > with or without EVE

Our daily business is writing emails and read emails… PADI can show you how easy it is to work in the future with an EPS like Mailchimp for example. We can also, if you wish, design special Templates for your needs.

 

 

 

canary-campaignCampaign Support

Our Marketing team is worldwide 24/7 active. We never sleep and we always create new campaigns and content for our social media channels, for our blogs and for our Website. The goal is always the same – we want to bring your customer back in your Dive Centre and we are looking for the customer their where they are looking for you… We are leading your future customer in your direction.

Below you will find a link for a campaign to advertise the Canary Islands:

 

Important

Please don’t be afraid to ask. We might not always be able to assist immediate, or have the resource to complete the request at that time, but we will be endeavouring to help where we can.

Please contact your PADI Regional Manager if you wish more information about the Marketing support we provide during 2017.

How to inform PADI about my DAN Europe insurance

Text by Laura Marroni Exec. Vice President Planning & Administration, DAN Europe Foundation, Continental Europe Office DANEUROPE.ORG

DAN Europe, does offer three plans which include such a coverage:

  • Pro Bronze
  • Pro Silver
  • Pro Gold

All of them cover third party liability and legal defence up to €4,000,000.

Whenever you take out any of these plans, you can take advantage of a useful service:

You can request a notification to be sent to PADI EMEA right after completing your purchase, informing them about the insurance you have just activated.

How to do so? Take a look at the following pages to find it out.

Suppose you are a new DAN user and you go for a Pro Silver.

First off, you start the online process via the DAN Europe website by clicking on “Join / Renew

dan-1

 

After setting up your own DAN account (or logged on to your existing one), you are supposed to choose a plan. Recall you want a Pro Silver, so this is the page you end up on:

dan-2

Now, pay attention to the box whose title is “Training agency”.

dan-3

 

If you wish a notification to be sent to PADI EMEA upon completing the purchase process, you need to:

1. Tick the box dan-1

2. Click “Edit Training Agencies” and look for PADI EMEA on the list of organizations.dan-2

3. Type your PADI number in the box on the right. If you haven’t been assigned a PADI number yet, you can select “pending”.dan-3

4. Click on “Save” and this will come out.dan-4

Please note that no notification has been sent yet.

As soon as you complete the process and your payment is confirmed, we will automatically send a message to PADI EMEA stating that you have just purchased a Pro Silver plan.

This will save you time as you will take out your insurance and inform PADI about it in one go.

Prodivers Manta Mania

Do you fancy a dance with these graceful giants? It is the time of the year again were diving and snorkelling in the Lhaviyani Atoll is special in itself, yet when manta rays start to regularly appear at the cleaning station, our happiness borders on mania!

Manta Ray @ Lhaviyani Atoll

Picture by Ray van Eeden, Prodivers Maldives

The place to be is one of the top 5 Prodivers sites situated in the Lhaviyani Atoll. Several Mantas frequently visit the dive site to have their bodies cleaned, and the plankton-rich areas at nearby reefs provided what appeared a tasty soup that dozens of Manta Rays satiated their hunger with.

On this magnificent spot, Manta Rays can spend hours as they hover above the reef and enjoy a beauty and well-being treatment after their bowls of plankton soup. This fantastic location offers unforgettable underwater experiences to divers and snorkelers alike.

For the best viewing pleasure, you’ll have to hop on one of our diving and snorkelling manta search boats. Join us for these breath taking moments!

  
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cR_wFpO5iI]
 

PADI Pro Member Benefit #4: Social Networks for PADI Pros

Social MediaIn addition to the PADI Pros’ Site and other PADI Member publications (online and print), you can access relevant content from our PADI Professional social media channels.

youtube

The PADI Pro YouTube channel not only provides a number of ‘how-to’ videos to help you make the most of PADI tools and training, it also features a range of promotional videos that you are able to share across your own networks to help boost new diver acquisition and sales.

In addition, the PADI Pros Facebook and PADI Pros Twitter pages will keep you up to date with global and regional news from your local PADI office and Regional Managers, as well as the latest sales offers, webinar sessions and other business, training and marketing tips.

scubaearth_ecardsFinally, ScubaEarth is PADI’s own social platform and has over 200,000 users with this number continuing to grow at a rapid pace. If your business is not taking advantage of this active community yet, head over to www.scubaearth.com and create a free account today. You can connect with your dive crew and customers, promote trips and promotions and showcase equipment brands in the Gear Locker, and view your certifications. Find out more about why you should join this expanding online dive community today.

Remember: renew your 2016 PADI Professional Membership before 31st December 2015 and you’ll be able take advantage of our special renewal offers. Find out more here.

Ready to renew? Click here to renew your membership online, or contact Customer Services by email (customerservices.emea@padi.com) or telephone (+44 (0)117 3007234)

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.

Add a Call to Action to Your Facebook Business Page

fb_cta

Earlier this year, Facebook rolled out a new feature for business pages – the Call to Action (CTA) button. If you’ve already implemented the feature – fantastic! If not, then read on to learn more…

What is the Call to Action Button?

The CTA button is a clickable button which sits at the top of your Facebook business page and draws the attention of your fans and visitors to help fulfil your most important digital business goal.

fb_cta2

There are 7 different Call to Action buttons available. You can link each one to a website URL of your choice, or you can send users of specific platforms (iOS or Android) directly to an App.

We’ve listed the different CTAs below along with some suggested ways to use them in alignment with your diving business:

  1. Book Now – a straightforward Call to Action to direct visitors to the booking page for your diving courses. Make sure you’ve got a clear booking enquiry form on the page you’ve linked them to so that they don’t get lost on your website after they’ve clicked through.
  1. Contact Us – simple but effective, this button is best used to share your business contact information with visitors so they know how to reach you. Make sure to link this to your website’s ‘contact us’ page and include address, email, telephone and social media contacts at the least.
  1. Use App – direct visitors to the download link for your scuba app (you can choose Android, iOS or both and you can set a back-up website link for those without the require platform). If you don’t have your own app, you can simply direct them to the PADI App where they can access scuba related information such as weather, checklists, destination guides and course details.
  1. Shop Now – use this CTA button to link visitors to your online dive shop. It’s a great way to promote your online retail business to help boost sales of dive equipment, merchandise, books and other scuba themed gifts.
  1. Sign Up – link this button to your newsletter registration page and encourage visitors to sign-up so that they’ll be able to stay up to date with your latest news, discounts, offers and trips. Encouraging more newsletter sign-ups is a great way to obtain valuable contact details for potential customers, allowing you to reach out to them not just once, but during future promotions, too.
  1. Watch Video – if you’ve not already got one, create a promotional video about your dive shop. You could feature snippets with your dive crew and tours of your center, awe-inspiring clips of the things you’ve encountered underwater, surface scenes showing the fun divers have with you and their buddies and, even better, real-life testimonials from your customers. Upload it to your website or a YouTube channel and link it with this Facebook Call to Action button to inspire new visitors to come and dive with you.
  1. Play Game – the least relevant option here for diving operations but the final option provided by Facebook. If you wanted to link visitors to a game – perhaps an ocean-based or underwater-themed creation for kids to encourage conservation and education – you could choose this button.

As you can see, some of the Call to Action buttons will need some thought, but many don’t need anything more than a URL to a webpage you have set up already and won’t take more than a few minutes to set up.

How to add a Call to Action Button to your Facebook Page

  1. Visit your Facebook Page
  1. Click on “Create a Call to Action” on your cover photo

cta create

  1. Select your preferred Call to Action from the drop down list

list

  1. Enter the website URL it should direct visitors to

UntitledIf you’d also like to direct visitors to an App then you can complete the following optional steps:

  1. Toggle the “Set up a link to an App” to Yes
  1. Below iOS setting – if you don’t want to offer an iOS App, leave ‘website’ in the dropdown menu. Otherwise, choose “App” from the dropdown menu and enter your iOS App link. You’ll also have the option to add a Website or App Store Link. Enter a website URL where those who do not have iOS will be redirected.
  1. Below Android setting – if you don’t want to offer an Android App, leave ‘website’ in the dropdown menu. Otherwise, choose “App” from the dropdown menu and enter your Android App link. Enter a website URL where those who do not have Android will be redirected. You’ll also have the option to add a Package Name and a Website or Play Store Link.

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When you’ve selected all of your Call to Action options, click ‘Create’ and you’ll now see your newly created CTA button on your cover photo.

How to track how many visitors have clicked your Call to Action button

You can track your CTA button clicks in two ways:

  1. Click the small arrow on the the Call to Action button on your page to see the menu. Click “View Insights” and you’ll see how many clicks have been received within the last 7 days.insight
  2. On the “This Week” panel there’s a section to show how many actions have been received. Hover over to see more insights.

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For more information on making the most out of social media opportunities, sign up for the next PADI Business Academy in your area or speak to your PADI Regional Manager.