guest post: social media marketing & fishing

2014, August, Blogging, Career

remember last month when had guest blogger nathanael spencer writing about comic book character sentry? well a) that post did fantastically and we got some great feedback on it b) it was refreshing to share a topic from a different perspective and c) i also just loved it.

i honestly love to give you the opportunity to read something you might not normally find on this blog, a different perspective. so i’m excited to share this month’s fantastic guest blog post: 5 ways fishing improves your social media marketing by jarem atkinson.

check out the original post here.

i hope you enjoy as much as i did!

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This past weekend, I had the privilege of heading out to the Uintah Mountains in Utah to go fishing, four-wheeling and camping with my family. Growing up I’ve always loved the great outdoors and there’s always been a part of me that feels free once I get into the mountains.

Having stated that, one might think it doesn’t make sense that my career and passion, working in social media, has me at a computer typing or one my phone tweeting away, nearly 24/7. I guess I love the balance. I definitely love working in the trenches online in social media, building relationships and engaging with others. While at the same time, I love the opportunities to “get away from it all” by doing a bit of fishing and the like, in the mountains.

Why am I saying this? Yes you may care about social media, but not so much about fishing? Let me tell you how I draw a strong connection between the two, which has given me great insight into my constant work and passion online.

One of my favorite things about fishing in the mountains, getting away from it all, is it gives me the opportunity to zoom out, and think about some of the big picture stuff. Why do I do what I do? How has it come to be my passion? How can I become better, more efficient and definitely more effective in my work? The following are five ways I’ve realized fishing can help your social media marketing.

1. You Have to Fish When the Fish are Biting

Most of the time, fish have set times when they like to eat. Early morning and early evening. Traditionally, those are the best times to get your line out and start fishing. Having mentioned that, there is room for experimentation. With various settings such as temperature, weather, cloud cover/direct sunlight and lakes/rivers, some of these traditional best fishing times can change. How does that relate to social media?

Depending on your community, market and industry, your audience will have certain times where they are more active and engaging in social media. Through the use of various tools, such as Twitonomy, you can do your due diligence and find out when those best times are.

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By digging into the data, like this (and a ton of other great metrics that Twitonomy provides) you can get very useful, actionable information on your following.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Change Up Your Bait

When I first get to the lake or river, I like to talk to other fishermen. After speaking with half a dozen or so, I’m able to find out what each fisherman has been using that’s brought in some good fish. With that knowledge, sometimes I’ll try something similar to what everyone is using, and find success. Other times, it may be that the fish is get bored with the same stuff, and what has been working for everyone else, won’t work for me. That’s when you have to be willing to change it up. From this last weekend, I tried what everyone else was using, and wasn’t finding much success. The minute I changed my lure, to what I thought looked interesting, within two hours I had caught about a dozen fish! Again, don’t be afraid to change things up. Experiment!

In social media, experimentation is the name of the game. Humans engaging and interacting on social media are exponentially more complex than fish in a lake. Our likes, dislikes, tastes and preferences change daily, if not hourly. To keep up with our ever changing community, we need to be changing. If at first you find a certain type of photo post or hashtag doesn’t seem to be getting the reaction you’re looking for, change things up! Another great tool, LikeAlyzer gives an overall snapshot of your Facebook pages. It runs an algorithm that is respective of your industry, competitors in social within your industry, and provides some very good suggestions to improve your engagement and activity within your community.

With information like this, and other valuable tid-bits this tool provides, you get a lot of insight as to how your followers like or dislike what you are sharing with them. Information like this is gold when you are working to provide real, rich, valuable content to your community.

3. The Best Fishermen Fish Where No Other Fishermen are Willing to Go

Many times when I’m fishing, even in remote areas (such as salmon fishing in Talkeetna, Alaska, like the picture at the top of the post) there are tons of fishermen. Anyone familiar with salmon fishing in Alaska knows how some spots are literally shoulder-to-shoulder fishing. Nothing could be more frustrating than this, especially when you’re in an area so remote you can only get there by river boat. Having mentioned this, the more successful fishermen are those that find these areas first, or are those that scout out the new uncharted spots where the fishing is best. These top fishermen risk hiking into an area and coming up empty-handed. But they also have the potential of bringing in a big load of fish and having virtually no competition.

With Facebook celebrating it’s 10 year birthday this year, and Twitter turning 8, social media is no longer a “new” thing. Social media has now reached the point that most businesses that were slow to react, and have previously argued that it would be a passing fad, are now seeing the value in the mainstream social channels and are entering the space. With that fact, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a few other networks are becoming very crowded places to market to our followers. Due to the late crowding, those that built a strong presence in these channels early, like the Gary Vaynerchuk’s (WineLibraryTV) of the world, are now reaping great success, from their hard work and long-term investment. How can you do the same? Back to the fisherman example, there are spots along the river, small ponds and higher up lakes that still remain virtually untapped and have the potential for great success! In social media, it’s all about tapping into the new channels. Social media managers, consultants, and gurus are the ones that need to be exploring the new channels first, in order to find the schools of king-size fish, before they’re all gone. This concept is not new, and I credit it again to Gary Vaynerchuk, from is perfect quote: “Marketers ruin everything.”

4. Hooking a Fish Is All About Technique

One of the most important technical parts about fishing is hooking the fish. Without a good hook, your fish can easily get off. However, with too strong of a hook, you may yank your fish completely off the line. The way you hook a lake trout is much different than hooking a salmon or halibut from the ocean or river. What type of hook you use, the timing of the hook and the intensity of the hook all vary depending on the fish. The same principle holds true in social media.

If you have done the prep work of building trust with your audience, and have created value or Youtility (as coined and written by Jay Baer) within your community, then you probably have an engaged audience that would respond to a subtle hook. This hook needs to be strong, but not in the sense of physical strength and intensity. The hook needs to be concise, valuable and on target. You have one pin-point opportunity to bring them into your funnel. Make it meaningful and valuable, and you’ll see a much greater response from your community. As one recent example, Dollar Shave Club has recently announced their travel-size One Wipe Charlies in a great way!

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5. Don’t Forget the Net

There are many times when fishermen will get to the lake, having done their homework, use the right bait, even have a good hook on a great fish, realize they forgot the net, and the fish breaks off the line when it was a few feet from shore! What a frustrating thing to have happen, especially if it’s a real beauty. Don’t think this doesn’t happen in social media, because I’ve seen it happen all the time!

Many social media managers make all the right moves of researching their following, engaging with their community, executing on a valuable campaign with engaging posts, even perfecting the hook, and then forget to create a seamless experience for the customer, going from social media to the purchase point on your website. What a tragedy to have such an effective funnel until near the end, where everything seems to leak out. I have seen this happen with companies big and small, start-up to Fortune 500. It seems so basic, yet is often forgotten. Your net in social media is ensuring your audience that takes the hook on Facebook or Twitter has the same experience with your brand, when they get to your product/service page to buy. Don’t just send them to your home page! Take the time to create a compelling, fitting landing page. Everything from graphics, copy, layout, and video needs to tell the same story and feel the same, to keep them moving down the funnel to purchase. Don’t lose your fish when you’ve done all this work to bring them in. Ensure you get your fish all the way to the bank and in the cooler, but taking the time to build your landing page to perform seamlessly with your social posts.

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I hope you’ve found some value in these five social media principles. If you agree with what I’ve mentioned, or disagree, let me know! I am simply a student of the game and firmly believe I can and need to learn from all, in order to become better within social media and digital marketing. I love opportunities to connect via TwitterFacebookGoogle+ and my personal website to discuss more on social media.

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