How you can perform better than the big names in SCUBA at Social Media Marketing in 3 easy steps

If you’re an independent SCUBA instructor, dive resort operator or dive center owner, you’ve probably said (or at least thought) that you can’t market as effectively as the big names (PADI, NAUI, Aqualung, SCUBAPro, etc) simply due to your size and marketing budget.

“Size matters not.” – Yoda

The beauty of online marketing in the SCUBA industry is that there are two primary options for success: open your wallet or work hard (not even that hard).

Hard Work Pays Off

If you choose to open your wallet, like some of the big names do (and can because of their size), you can rank and get traffic to your site, which theoretically will convert to real life business. The problem is, if you close your wallet, all of that traffic stops.

On the other hand, promoting your dive center or resort using a little bit of hard work actually sustains in the long run and gets easier over time.

I think is completely reasonable to suggest that all of your online marketing efforts should be able to cost less than $100-150 per month, less if you don’t want to use any form of paid advertising.

SCUBA Social Media Marketing

While attending DEMA, I had high hopes for some of the big names that appeared to understand social media tools like email newsletters, Facebook, Twitter and blogs. Needless to say, I was sorely disappointed. Some of the biggest names almost completely abandoned their social media outlets.

3 Steps to Social Media Marketing Success

  1. Identify your outposts. In the United States, I strongly recommend Twitter, Facebook Pages and email newsletters. Get these setup and consistent with your branding.
  2. Share. Tell  your fans, followers and subscribers everything, even if it seems mundane to you. Just signed a whole family up for an Open Water SCUBA class? Tweet it! Finished up with a corporate retreat at your dive resort? Post pictures on Facebook. Attending a local SCUBA convention? Put it in your email newsletter.
  3. Engage. Once you’ve setup your accounts and distributed your information, do not just walk away. Respond quickly to Twitter replies, Facebook comments and emails. If someone asks a question or makes a comment worth sharing with the group, share it.

How Much Time Does This Take?

Realistically, I would say this is a typical time allowance for me:

  • Blogging: 45 minutes per day.
    I am competing in a more broad arena than your typical local dive center, independent SCUBA instructor or dive resort, so most of you could do this once or twice a week instead of my 4-5 days per week.
  • Twitter: <10 minutes per day.
    I find it best to get on Twitter when you feel like it. Setup alerts for specific keywords, but otherwise don’t feel like you need to spend all day on here.
  • Facebook Page: <5 minutes per day.
    My blog posts automatically syndicate to my Facebook Page, so I only pop in here to respond to comments and ask the occasional question of the community.
  • Email Newsletter: <1 hour per month.
    As of right now, my email newsletter is actually just a rehash of the articles from the past week and it takes me zero minutes to manage. I plan on doing a monthly unique-content newsletter next year, but it will still take me less than an hour to compile.

For all of my social media marketing, I am spending less than an hour a day for all of my marketing. When you start to localize your efforts, like the local dive center, independent SCUBA instructor and dive resort would, this becomes much easier and less time consuming.

Can you devote an hour a day to building your business?

This article is part of our DEMA Expo 2009 round-up.

Photo via ToniVC

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