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By now, business owners are realizing more and more that using social media is no longer one of those window dressing perks involved in running a company. More and more, it’s a necessity to get your message out to your customer base. And in the marina business, that’s particularly evident considering that the maritime industry not only involves retail, but tourism as well.

And given those overlaps, it’s important to decide on your marina company’s goals, including hitting a particular target audience or interacting in a business-to-customer or business-to-business capacity. Add to those goals the complications of addressing a very fickle audience with short attention spans and the time you might need to develop your social media presence at the risk of diverting yourself away from other marina-oriented business duties.

Pundits everywhere from marketing companies to social media researchers have thinned out the herd of social media networks out there to five essential ones that, based on how you use them, can produce significant results for your bottom line.

Despite all the press surrounding compromised privacy and younger demographics leaving in droves, Facebook is still at the top of the list by far these days, with more than two billion monthly active users, having two-thirds of that audience logging in daily. While it’s been an ideal way to connect with friends, businesses still can find inroads to garner customers. In this case, it’s a convenient way to connect with boaters and yacht enthusiasts if you interact informally with them. Be careful not to hammer them over the head with sales incentives and product information, though. Warm up to them with anecdotes of marina life or weather forecasts in your area. The key is to be engaging before you can be persuasive!

Because Twitter has only 280 characters per post, it’s far more ideal to hit viewers with short attentions spans who just want the facts or simple essence of a message. It’s a no-frills approach to delivering news regarding sales, a brief news bit surrounding your marina business, or an update on a campaign you already have in progress. Its biggest benefit is customer service, which enables you to respond to a consumer comment promptly and where everyone can see it. It boasts a global audience of some 330 million users, but what’s great for your business is that nearly half of its visitors are more likely to check out a website of whoever is posting on it.

On the other hand, LinkedIn is geared more towards a business-to-business approach and is what most companies use to gauge and elevate their profile in the industry. For the marina business, it’s an ideal way to communicate with industry peers, especially in conveying news items, business strategy ideas, and trends that all its players should pay attention to. Although 550 million people use LinkedIn, most of them aren’t on the network daily. Still, it’s a good way to establish yourself as one of the vocal members of the marina industry which will likely garner attention.

One of the fastest-rising social media platforms out there is Instagram, which has witnessed a jump in users from 800 million in 2017 to roughly a billion today. And for good reason: it’s a perfect place to demonstrate how a picture is worth a thousand words. To a marina business, that spells pure gold, for who can resist images of a nice catch offshore, pristine shorelines with rows of boat houses or boats simply gliding across the water? Instagram can be used for texting, but its major focus is images, and lots of them. If you’ve got a new product or service to show off with a maritime backdrop for enhancement, it’s bound to catch plenty of eyeballs.

Operating on the same lines as Instagram is Pinterest, best described as a social media scrapbook, where you can take advantage of images to show off your marina business in the best possible light. It has two advantages over Instagram. Pinterest allows you to link to your own site and you can create whatever tags you wish for Search Engine Optimization, which allows your business to jump ahead in the queue if someone’s googling anything to do with marinas.

Ideally, not one social media network fits all, meaning that if you have time to use all five of these options, ensure the motives you have in mind for each of them. Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are mainly people-oriented, meaning that you should use it to target potential customers. LinkedIn is primarily a business-oriented network and Twitter, despite its lack of frills, is easily adaptable to both. Regardless of which network you use, be patient since you’re not likely to get an upsurge of interest overnight. But in the meantime, have fun with them!

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