Marketing is, at its simplest, working out what people need and communicating that your product can serve them. Given the barrage of marketing messages, most people are switched off to traditional mediums, so it’s key to build the awareness first and that happens best in places where people are engaged. Mostly online communities. Only then might they switch on and start listening to what you’re saying.
You don’t need a college degree to figure it out. Common sense is all that’s needed and you’ve got that in bucketloads. Plus the courage to actually get out and give it a shot. No doubt there are plenty of history teachers and others who have a good idea to fill a niche, but they never have the guts to quit their jobs and carpe diem the heck out of their idea.
When I started building Connect Golf, I knew it needed to be attached to a community, but also knew communities were, understandably, suspicious of brands. It is also difficult to find communities without agendas. They exist, but it none represent the greater golfing demographic. The bigger social media platforms have some large communities when you look it on pure member numbers. However you can’t filter out the brands and individuals doing not-so-subtle self-promotion stuff or even the randoms posting pics of themselves on their latest golf holiday. Let me rephrase that, you can filter them, but you can’t be bothered. Most members aren’t even active and a post’s visibility is questionable to say the least.
It’s quite a coincidence, but true all the same, that I came to the view that a Twitter chat for golf was needed to solve most of the issues noted above – excepting the occasional and to be honest quite brilliant moderator stunts involving surprise female pro golfers and car brands (I’m a huge marketing cynic, but was happily tweeting with @lexus mentions). I realised that being a wannabe brand, doing it myself would probably lack credibility with participants, but the very next week I came across month 2 of #Golfchat. Problem solved!
Your role, experience, podcast, website, Twitter account etc. is based around the personal brand of Zeb Welborn, so while most people get that part of the exercise is to grow your own brand, they’re fine with that because they can see, hear and read the story behind it. Done for the right reasons and you’re building a no-nonsense community with golf at the core.
At the door to many online golf communities you have to read a heap of rules about what not to do on those platforms or forums, but with #GolfChat there’s none of that, yet people instinctively know how to behave. Yes we all want more business or more subscribers or more readers or more impressions or whatever, but the #GolfChatters generally understand that the way to build a brand via social media is to participate. Just participate and not sell. Pure and simple, we just talk golf and that’s cool from the perspective that we’re not in our usual sales mode. As John from @golfbloggercom would say, we’re just sitting at the #GolfChat bar and talking about the sport.
I’m usually your one paragraph email kinda guy who has a hard time not communicating a sense of rudeness due to brevity, but I look up here and have written a fricking novel about the things you’re doing right. I truly believe that what you’re doing is the best strategy to bring all the golf influencers together on a single platform for discussion.
Sincerely. Well done mate. Two thumbs up.
Jeremy White, CEO Connect Golf