Social media has opened up an incredible amount of opportunity for creating & sharing content, as well as participating in online communities. It has become easier than ever before to express ourselves, and to share our story with the world, and more importantly, the ones we love. It has allowed acquaintances to become close friends through networking sites like Facebook or Instagram, and has allowed strangers to debate each other on any number of topics, through sites like Reddit. It has become an everyday part of most of our lives, and has changed the way we interact with one another, as well as businesses. Whether good or bad, social media has truly changed the way the golf industry must operate to be successful.
The biggest positive that comes from social media is that it allows golf courses and other businesses to easily build an online community with its customers & members. Sharing & collaborating on content with customers helps to strengthen those bonds and helps to create customer loyalty. It’s also a great way to distribute information about upcoming events, promote specials, and converse with customers in ways that just simply weren’t possible before. Let’s say a customer sends us a message on Facebook, or comments on one of our posts. The golf course can easily respond in a timely manner, and provide adequate customer service that reaches beyond the golf shop. And that’s really the most exciting aspect of social media. Being able to communicate & interact with customers via the internet in a relaxed, personal, and informal way has a huge impact on the way a business is perceived by its consumers.
Going along with this, social media has made it much easier for golf courses to connect with a younger audience, which also happens to be one of the biggest challenges the golf industry is currently facing. In general, attention spans are on the decline and most of us are inseparable from our cell phones & technology, younger people in particular. Being out on a golf course “in nature”, and away from technology for a few hours can be a turn-off for some people. The industry, and Fairfield Hills in particular, have made strides to combat this. Short golf courses can make the game more fun, less challenging, and a shorter time commitment. We’ve actually added 3 new holes to our existing 9 holes, creating options to play 3, 9, 12, or 18-holes. A unique & flexible course layout can help make golf more attractive to beginners & experienced players alike.
Fairfield Hills has put a much larger emphasis on the importance of social media this past year, and will continue to do so in 2018. In 2017, I created a 30-episode golf video lesson series called the “Sunday Swing”. In each episode (released once a week) I covered various aspects of the golf swing in an effort to help viewers with their golf game, and watchers were encouraged to submit their own ideas for topics to be covered. Each episode was available to watch on the Fairfield Hills Facebook page, as well as our website & Youtube page. The reasoning behind creating this series was to build a more personal connection with local golfers, and to genuinely help people learn the mechanics & theories of golf as best they could. An unforeseen benefit to this was that viewers, in turn, got to know me quite a bit better as well! It was very fun to interact with people at the golf course who submitted video topics online, as a good number of people submitting ideas actually frequented Fairfield Hills. All in all, the series has been a great way for Fairfield Hills to be more active on Facebook & other social media, as well as connect with our customers in more interesting ways.
As I’ve already stated, the most exciting aspect (to me at least) of social media is that it allows businesses to reach their consumers in an organic way, and gives us a chance to show our customers what our core values as a golf course really are, and to share content that we think our followers will love. It gives us a chance to express ourselves through medium like the Sunday Swing series, or this blog post. Social media allows us to reach new people, and to build stronger relationships with our current customer base. Every business has its own story to tell, and social media lets us share ours. To succeed in a digital world, all businesses will need to be storytellers.