When you mention websites, someone somewhere almost certainly mentions social media, but why? Maybe you’ve heard about social media, mostly as Facebook and Twitter, but perhaps you’re not sure of their role in the wider picture of your website and how it can work for you. In this article we look into why it’s a good thing and why it should be part of your overall club marketing strategy.
What is Social Media?
Lets look at this very simply. Social media are services provided by a website with a whole bunch of useful tools that allow individuals, businesses and groups of like-minded people to create, share and exchange information. This could be normal ordinary text, photographs, videos, files … almost anything really.
Social media sometimes gets bad press, and it’s the bad press that tends to make it into the news. We’ve all heard the horror stories of online bullying, parties getting gatecrashed and rather dodgy photographs of ex’s being posted online. But don’t let that sway you against the good that social media offers.
Social media is all about communities. These are virtual groups of people that surround a common interest, be that friends, schools, colleges, businesses, or hobbies – like classic cars! It provides for an information sharing hub in which we can all share our experiences, post photos and videos and participate together.
But still you ask, why is social media a good thing for our club? Well the key to this is in the reach. The sheer numbers of people on social media are HUGE.
- Over 2 billion people worldwide use social media every month
- Over 1.5 billion people worldwide use Facebook every month
Those are some pretty mind boggling numbers, and worth being a part of. It also shows that if you’re just starting out on this journey, and you’re going to incorporate social media one at a time, then you should start with Facebook and go from there.
Social Media makes it very easy to find what we’re looking for, and to participate in a way that a Google search for your club, a look through your website and signing up to your forum does not come anywhere close. A Google search is an individual making a conscious effort to find you. On social media, they will find you through either generic searches or stumbling upon one of your posts because one of their on-line friends read it.
Building a community around your car and your club within the context of social media will actively bring people to your club, and in a later blog we’ll look into this in more detail.
So what if we don’t want to use social media?
Well, what happens then is that the communities still form around the cars, there are still people with an interest and enthusiasm and they gather together in their groups and discuss their cars, problems, activities at length – possibly even oblivious to the very existence of your club.
In fact, without being a full part of the social media scene, the club is missing out on one of the most valuable forms of communication in the twenty first century. Without the club and it’s archives and technical knowledge, there is no ‘figure’ right at the centre as the authoritative body, no strength to the community and no consistency.
At the end of the twentieth century it was the email news group, in the last decade it was the forum, today it is the turn of social media. Times change and clubs must embrace that change rather than resist it. But first, we must properly understand it.
In later blogs, we will cover each of the major social media platforms and look at how each of them work and some of the ways the clubs can make better advantage of these modern communication platforms.
So where is the real power in Social Media?
The power of social media lies in the community. Each member of the community has the ability to like, favourite or share each individual post that they read. The consequence of performing this simple activity means that their friends get to see what they like/favourite/share and they might elect to do the same as well. What we all want, and it’s a well used phrase, is for a post to go ‘viral’. This means that friends of friends of friends ……… all like/share/favourite your post and it’s seen by millions. Well, that may not happen in the classic car community, but it’s not uncommon for posts to be seen by several thousand people.
This is FREE advertising, and something that money just can’t buy. Armed with analytics of what you post, and how widely it’s been seen, you can tailor what and how you post to maximum benefit for your club.
Another very important factor in what makes social media work so well is it’s accessibility. With two thirds of the UK population owning smartphones, many pre-installed with social media apps, social media becomes ‘instant’. Whenever you post a message, all of your followers will instantly get notified, their phone ‘beeps’ and a pop-up notification tells them that you’ve posted a new message.
Exploiting the instant mobile nature of social media brings greater accessibility to a huge raft of the population making the community of classic car ownership a part of our everyday lives.
So how does this fit in with my website?
If social media is to be used to its best advantage, you need people to find your website, after all your website is the online embodiment of your club and the place where new members will need to go in order to sign up.
You should never think of social media channels as independent pages on another platform, they are all an interconnected ecosystem channeling new visitors back to your website.
Operating in this way extends your reach far and beyond anything that can be achieved through Google searches alone, and no matter where new enthusiasts look, on every path that they take searching for information on their car, at every turn they are connected with a page, a post, an article, a tweet, an image or a video that brings them back to your club.
It is this level of penetration that will reap dividends with your services to your members, the wider community and increase your membership. The best bit is that once you have a good quality website, the rest is free requiring just a little regular effort to use your social media to your advantage.
At Wire Wheels Webbers, we can help you through the social media maze, from our integrated websites, help and support to help you understand and use these new platforms to your best advantage, and helping you make your club the pivotal force central to your online communities.
What is your view on social media and the impact that it’s had on the classic car community? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us.