SOCIAL MEDIA : CHANGING THE WAY YACHTING DOES BUSINESS
Social media connects us in ways never before possible – it is a means to find customers, promote services, network, share experiences, ask for advice and keep in touch.
In the yachting industry, more companies are taking notice of the power of digital marketing and finding that having an active social media brand can connect them with industry leaders, influencers and ultimately clients by way of posting, sharing and liking.
Why your company should join the social media wave
There’s no denying that social media has challenged and changed the way the yachting industry functions.
Social media can be influential in shaping our travel plans, purchasing decisions and dreams with images flooding our timelines and feeds.
In this constantly evolving digital landscape, yachting companies, yachting professionals and even superyachts themselves can take advantage of creating a brand and actively engage with colleagues and clients in a meaningful way with 82% of online consumers trusting a company more if they are involved with social media (statistic: Google)
Whether your niche is brokerage, yachting supplies, chartering, recruitment or another sector, having a social media footprint can define your brand, build your company image and promote the services you offer.
Sharing your story with the yachting industry
When was the last time you went on holiday or a business trip without posting a status update, tweeting, or uploading a picture or video? With the ability to take a mobile WiFi hotspot with you a reality, avoiding the social media radar is becoming difficult.
Interestingly, 97 percent of millennials use social networks while travelling, with 73 percent doing so every day (statistic: Virtuoso) and the use of smartphones and tablets is a big factor in accessing real-time information.
Today, where time is scarce, social media allows yachting companies to share their story with the online community via quick snippets of content across a variety of social media platforms.
Networking in a digital age
Social media has elevated marketing and networking within yachting to a new level. Everyone from Yacht Agents to Brokers has the opportunity to create compelling content and use technology to reach wider markets.
As an example, Crew Agents can tweet about industry certifications and job vacancies, Yacht Brokers can stream videos of superyachts for sale, Yacht Charter Brokers can upload photos of events and charter destinations, Captains can tweet about their yacht’s day-to-day operations, Potential Charter Guests can seek information about past charter experiences of others or research about Captains and Crew.
SuperYachters is one social and business site that unites the yachting community and provides an online outlet for Crew to post their availability, Brokers to showcase their yachts, Designers to share their ideas, and anyone to post yachting-related content that can be enriched with photos, videos or web links for sharing across all platforms.
One of the most attractive aspects of luxury yacht charters is the feeling of privacy and discretion. The digital age today may seem to jeopardize some of that privacy with round-the-clock updates exposing the details of peoples’ everyday lives.
The uptake in social media, AIS websites such as Marine Traffic and Yachtspotter and the growing use of drones has opened the floodgates for the world to receive and seek out unprecedented access to the activities of superyachts, their owners, guests and crew.
Confidentiality agreements between owners, charter guests, crew and charter companies will likely be expanded in the future with clauses preventing the online publication of the cruising itinerary of the yacht, or prohibiting the posting of photos, videos or any personal information regarding the owner or guests on any social media channels.
5 practical tips for optimizing social media for the yachting industry
- Have a website with social media widgets
Ensure your website has social media icons in a visible location on each page. To interact with you via the online community – and share your content thus gaining you exposure – they need to easily find where you have profiles.
- Showcase your company / service / yacht
What makes you different and unique? Highlight your best selling points with insight into your daily operations. Received industry recognition, won an award, passed a milestone or featured in a glowing media report? Social media is the perfect arena to blow your own trumpet.
- Create unique content, and monitor engagement
Want to know what is the most shareable content? There is no set format as each social media channel is different. It’s important to monitor your content’s engagement via analytics so you know what works across the various platforms. What is successful on LinkedIn may not inspire followers on Facebook; what is retweeted numerous times on Twitter may not gather one repin on Pinterest.
The magic social media mix can be a combination of blog posts, powerful photos, inspiring videos, insightful interviews, industry quotes, comments, replies, retweets, hashtags, and giveaways – but it is vital that it fits with your branded marketing and social media strategy.
Videos are exceptional tools for communicating entertaining content or driving brand awareness with 74% of affluent travellers ordering products or services upon watching a video (statistic: Google). With a marked increase in the use of smart phones and tablets, it’s estimated that two thirds of the world’s mobile data will be video by 2017 which presents a significant marketing opportunity for the yachting industry that is lagging behind more mainstream luxury industries when it comes to producing engaging, informative video content.
- Interact and create two-way connections
Every social media platform has its guidelines; but don’t automate every one of your tweets, posts and updates.
There are useful scheduling and productivity tools such as HootSuite, Buffer and If This Then That (IFTTT) however there is no faster way to lose your social gain than to use one of these tools and forget about engaging. Your fans won’t interact with your company if you continually take a robotic approach to social media and don’t show your brand’s personality. It is better to actively maintain a small number of social media accounts regularly than to sign up to all of them and forget to update them.
Likewise, these is nothing more boring than listening to someone talk about themselves for hours on end; don’t do the same on your social media accounts. As a basic rule, don’t spend more then 30% of your time talking about your yachting company, product or service.
The biggest takeaway is to understand that social media is all about creating connections. Interact with your followers, and interact with those you in turn follow by liking posts, sharing content, retweeting and participating in Twitter chats.
- Consider a long-term strategy for your yachting brand
Formulate a long-term strategy that incorporates a content and scheduling calendar for your yachting brand. This means you will have more direction to use the power of social media to build your image by sharing and curating well-considered tweets, posts and updates.
Your online presence reflects your reputation, and social media equally allows your reputation to be tarnished rapidly; clients have unrestricted opportunities to tweet their complaints and it’s not unheard of for videos of bad experiences to go viral within mere minutes so maintain professionalism and respond to positive or negative comments promptly.
This article was written by Rebecca Whitlocke, who with over 10 years travel industry experience loves to share ‘must-do’ destination tips and hidden spots to discover in France and beyond.