Social Media Time Management for the SCUBA Industry

This article was originally published on DiveNewsWire on April 4, 2011. If you are a part of the SCUBA industry, you need to be on their email list to stay on top of all of the latest news related to our business.

For disappearing acts, it’s hard to beat what happens to the eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work.

-Doug Larson

Some of you in the SCUBA industry have it good: you work for a dive center or resort, maybe teach a class here and there and generally do quite a bit of diving for your job.

For many others, working a SCUBA business is the moonlighting job done after a 40+ hour work week somewhere else.

It’s a constant circle:

  1. Find new students
  2. Teach classes
  3. Encourage old students to take the next class
  4. Find new students

Being a dive professional is a lot of work and takes a lot of time.

Time Management

I was recently reading an article by Chris Brogan. I found it interesting that he also has a “Rule of Thirds” since many divers utilize a similar system for air consumption. Chris suggests (and I agree):

Spend 1/3 of your time prospecting for new business. Spend 1/3 of your time working on your existing deliverables and execution. Spend 1/3 of your time supporting your customer base and doing administrative work. What I see most times are people working on the 2nd and 3rd parts of this equation and forgetting the first, because they feel so overwhelmed with what they have.

People frequently tell me they don’t have time to do all the things I suggest. If you want to succeed, you need to make the time.

A Daily Example

Along with running New SCUBA Marketing, I am also the Director of Social Media Marketing for one of the largest SCUBA equipment retailers in the United States. Update: I’m now also duplicating my position with a new company serving the hiking/camping/outdoor industry. Since we serve a global audience with as much volume in a day as some dive shops have in a week, it requires much more time than it would for an independent dive professional or local dive center, so don’t be overwhelmed with this example. This is a typical day for me:

  • Wake around 6AM local time, engage our Twitter and Facebook communities by asking a simple question. 10-15 minutes
  • Have breakfast 5-10 minutes
  • Revise our daily blog post (I don’t write the posts, but I search engine optimize them, add links back to the primary site, fact check and check spelling/grammar) 120 minutes
  • Check Twitter/Facebook/Google+ (replies, direct messages and a variety of search terms; post weekly/monthly specials) 45 minutes
  • Check and reply to emails 30-45 minutes
  • Optimize the blog (make sure WordPress is updated, update plugins, check the content delivery network, analyze page load time, check search engine results for posts) 45 minutes
  • Scan through every post on the top 3 SCUBA-related forums and reply to relevant posts 90 minutes
  • Scan through ~15 LinkedIn SCUBA-related groups and reply to relevant posts 30-45 minutes
  • Lunch. Usually far too late. 45-60 minutes
  • Check Twitter/Facebook/Google+ (engage the community via their responses to the morning question, reply to private messages asking questions about products/shipping/etc, post weekly/monthly specials) 45 minutes
  • Work through RSS feed reader looking for SCUBA- and outdoor-related articles worth sharing and learning from social media marketing articles 120-150 minutes
  • In-depth investigation into new tools, typically productivity, analytic or marketing related 60-90 minutes
  • Check and reply to emails 30-45 minutes
  • Read the latest posts from SCUBA- and outdoor-related blogs, comment when applicable 45 minutes
  • Check Twitter/Facebook/Google+ (replies, direct messages and a variety of search terms) 30-45 minutes
  • Check various analytic tools to fine-tune ongoing activities 30-90 minutes
  • About an hour before my intended sleep time, I check Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and email one last time to see if there’s anything urgent 30-45 minutes

If we do the math, I spend 810-1,030 minutes a day doing social media for both a SCUBA retailer and an outdoor goods retailer. That’s 13.5 to over 17 hours a day. It’s rarely less, frequently more. And doesn’t take into account the many times I’ll randomly wake in the middle of the night, see a notification from a customer, and deal with the situation right then instead of waiting until morning.

For those of you running a dive shop, keep in mind that social media marketing can be a full time position.

Free Time?

Time is money.

-Benjamin Franklin

In my free time, I hang out with my family and friends, manage this site and consult on a variety of unrelated projects. As I mentioned in my year in review, last year I also ran a site posing to be SCUBA school that generated quite a bit of “business” that I referred out. So when you have the natural inclination to suggest you don’t have the time to implement the strategies I am suggesting, pause and reconsider your priorities. “Time is money” and I could either be spending that money by watching TV or making that money by investing in my business.

A Typical Day for You

You can do better than 99% of other independent SCUBA professionals, dive centers and resorts, certification agencies and equipment manufacturers with the following schedule:

  • 60 minutes per day engaging your community via Facebook and Twitter
  • 120 minutes per week blogging
  • 120 minutes per month writing an email newsletter
  • 30 minutes per week looking over your analytic tools

That’s it. Assuming you do these activities 5 days a week (consider yourself lucky, I take one day off per week), you’re looking at an extra 95 minutes of work per day. If you have a smart phone, you can easily do the Facebook and Twitter quickly, easily and from anywhere, so 60 of those 95 minutes won’t feel like 60 minutes of work.

I like to think if I were out of a job, my time would still be worth at least $10/hour. Using that metric, running a minimal social media program would be worth roughly $475/month, a far cry from the <$50 per month 27% of people thought was reasonable.

How-to Guides

I’ll be working through the list I just provided over the next few weeks explaining, in detail, how I recommend completing each of those tasks. After I’ve covered the basics (again, getting you ahead of 99% of your competition), I’ll go into some of the advanced tactics and tools I use.

Can you fit in an extra 95 minutes of work per day to help grow your business?

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