This post is a guest post from Anne Dreshfield.
I may be a masochist. Wait, let me clarify: I just started taking golf lessons.
My dad’s been a golf lover for as long as I can remember. No matter what, if he’s home and has time, he’ll be golfing. I’ve seen him play golf in shorts in forty degree weather. Golf is always on our TV during the weekends. He even convinced me to get a part-time job at a golf course in high school. And now I’ve finally picked up the game.
Even though I expected to be hurling my 6-iron across the driving range and screaming expletives to the high heavens, I’ve actually found that I like golf. I’ve also found that the fundamentals of golf can actually be applied to other aspects of life, like social media marketing. Shall we?
- Be balanced. In golf, your stance starts with your feet: they should be shoulder-width apart and firmly planted, allowing you to have the best foundation possible for that killer swing. When approaching social media, you should have the same goal in mind: have your feet firmly planted in one or two platforms to have the best foundation for your company’s marketing. You’ll be unbalanced if you try to be on too many platforms all the time. Remember, your swing starts with a good foundation, and so does your marketing.
- Have the right grip. The way you hold your club is essential to how well you make contact with the ball, whether you’ll be hitting it a hundred yards away or three hundred. Take time to solidify your grip on the social media you use for your company. Do you understand how Twitter works, its etiquette, and how it can be best utilized to reach your customers? Do you know what you shouldn’t post on Facebook, or Instagram, or Foursquare? Have the right grip on your tools and you’ll be rewarded.
- Be flexible. When you move into the backswing, you have to be pretty flexible to ensure you get the most power out of your swing. Your hips, shoulders, and torso rotate, coiling your body before you swing down on the ball. With marketing, it’s all too easy to get into a rut with your editorial schedule. Be flexible with your content, and don’t be afraid to step out of that rut. It’ll show ingenuity and keep your content feeling fresh, which will define your company in the long run.
- Keep your head down and your eye on the ball. For anyone who has played a sport that has a club or racket, golf feels a little bit strange at first. You have to keep your head perfectly still and rotate your body around it; in fact, you don’t look up from the ground until you’re well into the backswing. Keep your eye on your goal for your company and center your movement around that. Do you want to engage and increase your community? Foster continual involvement? Excite your customers? Pick one and keep your head down and your eye on it. Your customers will thank you for your consistency in that regard.
- Relax. Time and time again, I’ve botched a swing, sending my ball flying off in the complete wrong direction, only to find that I’ve got a death grip on my club, my wrists and shoulders are aching, and I’m clenching my teeth. You can imagine that doesn’t bode well for a relaxed, effortless swing. Sometimes, it takes a conscious effort to just relax. Remember, the purpose of being on these platforms is to interact with your customers and community. Take a deep breath, and remind yourself that interacting with other humans is an enjoyable experience (most of the time).
- Enjoy yourself. Remember what I said about not throwing my 6-iron down the driving range and scaring all of the other golfers with my incessant swearing? It can be hard to remember that golf is a game, and games are supposed to be fun. Sure, we can all get competitive, but there’s really no point in doing something if you’re not enjoying it. Interacting with customers and your community online can be fun, as long as you’re respectful and conscientious as you go along. Remember to enjoy yourself. After all, why else would you be doing it?
Do you play golf? What else would you add to this list?
Anne Dreshfield is a Community Manager & Strategy Intern at Livefyre and a senior at Scripps College, self-designing a major in Creative Writing for Contemporary Media. You might be able to track her down between trips to the barn and trips to the mall.
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