We’ve just launched a new website for a Brisbane company called Big Cat Reality. They operate a huge catamaran that takes scuba divers on weekend trips in the Moreton Bay Marine Park and up to the Great Barrier Reef. The crew are experienced and hilarious, the scenery is amazing and it’s one of the best-value scuba diving trips in the country. I’m really proud of the site because it’s a great example of how you can use social media marketing to great effect in a small business. Social media marketing really doesn’t work well for a lot of companies because most people don’t give a shit about them. You don’t need to know what your local baker is doing when you’re not buying a pie and you don’t want to share photos with your plumber. Big Cat Reality on the other hand was just screaming out for a social media marketing campaign and it’s really working well for them.
Here’s what we’re doing and why it’s working…
Scuba Divers all own cameras and they all take photos. Hundreds of them. Under the water, above the water, on the boat, when they get off the boat, when they’re eating, when the crew do something funny, when the captain wears a silly hat, when someone has a few too many post-dive-brewskies. They go away for a weekend with a couple of dozen like-minded individuals, become best friends, and every moment is documented. Naturally they like to share their memories and they want to keep in touch with their new friends because divers always need dive buddies. Big Cat Reality clients are a pre-packaged social network just screaming out for a place to converge. We could have started a customised Big Cat community using an application like Ning, but in reality, Facebook does everything they need and their demographic (25-35s) is savvy enough to know what Facebook is, but probably not keen enough to try something new. Facebook fits their business better than a new 2mm wetsuit; the customers love it, it’s easy for crew to update: win-win.
Scuba Divers get to live in a completely different world to the rest of us. They’re keen to show others what it’s like and there are heaps of talented underwater cinematographers out there who are more than happy to splice their footage together and give it away. In fact, Big Cat Reality had already been tagged in half a dozen brilliant YouTube vidoes without them even knowing about it (proof that the best marketing strategy in the world is producing a great product that influential people want to share with their friends). It didn’t take much to create an official Big Cat Reality YouTube channel and start collating the videos together. It’s early days yet, but we’ll work with them to make sure they come up in YouTube and Google when people search for all the dive locations they visit (and for keywords like ‘scuba diving’ in general).
It took them a few years to figure out why it was a good idea, but the crew have started gathering email addresses of clients who are keen to know more about upcoming trips. They have such a great product and what they offer is such a good deal (and an amazing experience) that people are more than happy to give their details over: in fact, they’d be disappointed if they weren’t kept informed about what was happening. A good viral marketing campaign isn’t about having the funniest photo, it’s about finding people who want to forward your message on because they believe in it. We’re working with Big Cat Reality to make sure they have the kind of email alerts and newsletters that people want to forward to their friends. It’s an easy job too, because if you go away on an amazing dive trip and someone makes it easy for you to share the photos, videos and stories of that experience with people who are interested in what you got up to on your weekend, it pretty much takes care of itself.
Social media marketing doesn’t work for everyone. People won’t build social networks around cola or freeze-dried noodles, but if your product appeals to an existing community of like-minded individuals who have stories and images to share, social media marketing is your most powerful tool. It doesn’t take much effort, the market does the work for you, and it’s dirt-cheap. If you have a great product people will tell their friends about you anyway, all you have to do is make it easy for them.