Sea Ray and Social Media: Life at the Water’s Edge

 

Companies are eager to keep a current, fresh public image.  Today, Social Media is a must to achieve that goal.  But before joining the social media movement, there are a number of questions to consider.  The following represent a few that I am addressing at Sea Ray.

1.  What was the opportunity that presented itself to Sea Ray as to why we went headlong into social – other than that’s what everyone is doing?
Though we do pride ourselves on being on top of the game as one of the first manufacturers on social, we always make sure we’re boating where we know the water, so-to-speak.  The networks we operate on were chosen because they fit with specific targets within our demographic.  For example, we were one of the first brands to create a Facebook page, utilizing tabs with back-end tracking, and creating a proprietary Facebook application.  On the other hand, we didn’t jump on to Pinterest for one reason:  our demo is simply not there, and to allocate resources to a space where our activity has a minimal chance of being valuable would not be in the best interest of the brand.  So though Sea Ray has definitely been the “first” in many instances, the opportunity we saw (and continue to see) with social lies in the unique interaction abilities offered by social media.  We have passed the big box era of communications and are now in a period where the individual can, and expects to, interact one-on-one with brands.  From branding recognition, to customer service & reputation management implications, to lead growth opportunities, the possibilities and reasons for  Sea Ray to be active on social media are vast.  What is distinctive about  Sea Ray within the boating industry is the same as on social media:  the breadth of the model lines.  With advancements in targeting on social, we are now in a unique position where we can isolate specific demographics to optimize who sees what, and ensure our messaging is customized for the individual owner.

2.    What is/are Sea Ray’s objective(s) with regard to Social?
Our current goals are three fold:  Consumer Awareness, Customer Engagement, and Branding.  Awareness encompasses seeking out new lead options and introducing them to the brand, which is where the third bucket comes into play by prominently displaying who Sea Ray is, what the company stands for, and why Sea Ray boats are the superior option.  The second bucket, Customer Engagement, involves activating Sea Ray’s loyal owner base to:   1. Spread the brand awareness (thus continuing the Objective circle), and 2. Keep the brand top-of-mind and promote new product initiatives as these owners progress along the purchase cycle.

3.    What does success look like?
Right now, we are succeeding organically, but if we want to ramp things up in 2012 we need to focus on targeting.  It is important to note that though growth is necessary to achieve critical mass, success on social media is not just about collecting the most  “likes”.  A” like” is a static measurement, and only signifies a one-time interaction.  The measure of true success is the activity and liveliness in branded social communities. Once we set up our macro and micro conversion points for 2013, we can accurately depict a success landscape and track our activity based upon this set of parameters.

4.    Are we winning in the social arena?
That depends on your goals.  If as far as the current metrics we are using go, and our current comparisons against competitive brands:  Yes, we are winning.  Does that mean that there isn’t room for improvement?   No.  There is a lot we can do and that remains to be done to solidify Sea Ray’s spot on the forefront of the social sphere.

5.    What has been the YOY growth?

  • 1.    Facebook: 70% growth overall; 180% growth on the Sea Ray corporate page
  • 2.    Twitter: 64% growth
  • 3.    YouTube: 82% growth
  • 4.    Instagram: 370% growth