Hi Pool GeniusesI'm thinking of writing an editorial in AQUA about social networking and its use in the pool and spa industry. I'd like to hear from some of you about how you've used this site, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. Thanks.Barrett KilmerCo-EditorAQUA Magazine

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  • We are in the initial stages of developing a video based campaign that takes advantage of social networking to generate leads and or brand awareness. Since Google acquired YouTube they have been ranking video very high in their search engine results. Usually video results on a given search subject are shown just below the top two organic results on the results page. You can quickly gain exposure even in very competitive categories by uploading a video to major video sharing sites like YouTube, Yahoo Videos, etc and tagging it with keywords that are appropriate to your business, for instance we manufacture and distribute hot tubs, so keywords would be "hot tubs, portable spas, jacuzzi, portable hot tub, etc" when someone enters one of those terms a screen shot from the video with those tags will show up along with a link to the video. Make sure when you edit your video you insert a text line at the bottom of your screen that shows your web address at all times as you never know where Google will pull the screen shot from. I suggest putting your video up on multiple video sites, you can either upload them yourself (very time consuming) or use a service like Traffic Geyser that will upload them to multiple sites at once. Using this technique you can dominate even very competitive categories. This is especially effective for local based businesses like pool service companies or pool builders, if you are a service tech in Washington DC I would produce a video about something timely such as opening your pool in the spring, and tag with the following tags : Washington DC pool care pool service winterizing algae bloom etc. When someone searches Washington DC pool service your video will show up, showing your website address (you do have a website right!!!) and giving them useful info about their pool. You will come off an expert, gain exposure, and reap the business. Remember when producing content for the net not to be much longer than 2 minutes, as people tend to drift away after that. If you use Traffic Geyser it will also automatically link/ tag your video from Delicious and other social networking sites that you select. Also it makes a podcast from the audio which is also very heavily weighted. Hope this helps!
  • Luke... Monique is correct in using Twitter to expand your reach and there are other ways as well. If you now have a data base of customers create a "pool service announcement" "Tweet" blast. Set a time each day or as frequently as you can, and send short pool service bursts. Ideas on water chemistry, products that help them maintain their pool, ways to have fun, how to tell if a pump is failing, etc. For longer article create a blog, record your message on the blog and then "Tweet" the blog url with a notice of your message update.

    Monique is doing this very thing now. In fact she has set up several locations including "Squidoo" blogs, (a free blogging service with good search engine value), Facebook, (these guys are the real thing and we will see Facebook go far, the PGN, and I am sure several other locations. She then Tweets messages and sends "followers" to the sites to see what's happening. At the site, there is the article Tweeted, and more info about her products and links to find her.

    This creates a multi layered and interlinked marketing strategy that is very effective. On the PGN there are two players I know who are doing this masterfully. One is Monique, and that is why I asked her to represent the PGN in this area, and the other is Michelle Forchetti. Both of these gals are very helpful, and totally "get it". Watch for their names in "lights" some day!
  • Luke,
    The best way to target customers as opposed to businesses is to set up "alerts". You can do this with programs like TweetLater, or Splitweet. This way you can keep an eye on what people are talking about, and whenever your area of expertise is mentioned, you can send them a message.
    For example, I have an alert for whenever "pool cover" is mentioned. Then, whenever anyone Tweets about "pool covers" I find out about it and send them my 2 cents on whatever they are discussing.
    If you want to learn more about how to do this, just send me a message and I can walk to you through it!

    I'm sure your Twittering will pay off, and I wish you the best of luck!

    Luke Norris said:
    I twitter, but I find it more and more that other pool companies and people in the business follow me instead of potential clients. :(
  • Barrett, I am excited to read your article (providing you do go ahead and write it!). I am a huge fan of social networking for business purposes, though I am certainly still in the learning stages. Have you checked out the Pool Tweet Group? This is a great resource for learning about Twitter and how to use it for business. I think you should also consider writing about Blogs, which are perhaps one of the most important social media tools. I find that Twitter, Industry Networks (such as the wonderful PGN) and blogs are the primary movers and shakers for business. Other platforms, such as LinkedIn and Facebook should be automated to follow your other, primary, platforms (you can do this by using programs such as Ping.com, or FriendFeed...). I wish you the best, and if you have any specific questions, I am happy to be a social media guinea pig and test theories out for you.

  • PGN has been great for us; as well as the new ideas and overall industry education; we can see where there is industry activity and increase our opportunity for sales. Having been in the pool business since 1986, there are many familiar names and we have enjoyed getting to know our long time customers a little better. By selling a product that works well for those that use it and always being available for support if needed, PoolDraw likes being a part of the pool industry and hopes that the positive energy on the PGN - as the PGN members share their marketing ideas, technical knowledge and professional advice - will continue to thrive. Rex has done an amazing job developing this network and we look forward to his continued success. - Karen
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