Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Joining the Internet Conversation

(1:04) Previous Minutes have talked about marinas following what is being said about them on the Internet. The next step is to join in on boaters conversations. But to be effective you need to carefully decide where and how to participate.

(0:56) The biggest mistake marinas make is to jump in without a plan. It is important to form a strategy and to ensure that everyone knows and understands it. Once you have determined how you want to position your marina and have listened so you understand how your marina is currently perceived, it is time to think about joining the conversation.

(0:46) Think of this as a party. You are the newcomer. Those already in the clique will be watching and evaluating your participation. You only get one opportunity to make a first impression. In general, it is critical that communication be relevant and noncommercial.

(0:38) How should you respond to messages? That depends on the message. If you are being praised or presented in a positive light, the first thing to do is to thank the site. This simple act can increase the goodwill and the likelihood of being mentioned positively again in the future. Consider linking to the site or including quotes on your website if this is allowed.

(0:28) If you find information that is incorrect, politely contact the website with the correct information. No site wants erroneous information. Never make demands of a site. It simply will not work and will place you in a poor light.

(0:20) A great way to get in on the conversation is to participate in one or more of the major boating forums. But first listen, observe, understand the dynamics, and learn the forum rules. Most forums have rules governing how commercial entities can participate.

(0:13) Think about the areas of expertise you and your employees possess. Then consider how this expertise can be offered to the forum putting the marina's name before boaters and creating goodwill.

(0:06) By becoming an active participant in Internet conversations you can attract new boaters and inform and maintain your current customers.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.