Jim Grundberg and I met while working at Wilson Golf a number of years ago. Jim has had a very successful career in the golf business working with Odyssey Golf and other leading brands. About five years ago, Jim and Jason Pouliot, who worked with Jim at Odyssey and on related golf brands, bought and began revitalizing the SeeMore Putter Company, a putter brand the late Payne Stewart made famous before his untimely passing in 1999. I have had the pleasure of working with Jim during parts of this revitalization. We all enjoyed pulling an all-nighter promoting Zach Johnson putting very well with his original SeeMore putter and winning the Masters in 2007 (only a few months after Jim and Jason bought SeeMore). The SeeMore brand has a very strong and emerging presence and success with social media, and I asked Jim to tell me about it in this blog post interview. SeeMore is a great example of an emerging company using social media effectively and powerfully to build its brand and thought leadership in putting.
1.What is SeeMore currently doing in social media strategies?
We have a blog which has provided a powerful, engaging way to communicate relevant and compelling information about the SeeMore brand, products, golf and putting. We would like to develop the blog into being more of a series. Generally, it's been very helpful and important to be interactive with people on our blog. Our audience tends to be advocates, we call them SeeMoreans. We talk to them, exchange e-mails and notes. The blog provides us with a base of fans to continue to interact. We also see our blog subscribers on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook. Social media has allowed us to cultivate customers and new friends. It's not like years ago where the customers talked about the product and that was about it. Now, they can go full circle and immediately interact and give their two cents worth. Sometimes, they offer their opinions first thing in the morning or sometimes right before bed. And people love to have the chance to communicate directly and almost instantly with the brand and its team. Another amazing idea is that social media is global and the interactions and communications are everywhere.
2. How did you decide to implement those strategies?
I was skeptical early on. And then you witness golfwrx.com, putterzone.com or the hacker's paradise, mygolfspy.com and equip2golf.com, and you see this incredible pursuit of and passion for inside information. In the beginning, I wasn't sure how our brand could participate, but we observed, began engaging and have seen the rewards. Golfers do want to associate with our product. They're highly emotional because we have a highly emotional product that people love. So, it was valuable for SeeMore to jump into the conversations about us and our products. We’re small, more focused on our business platform. All day we think about putters and share information about them, so we are in the best position to talk to customers and friends about putters through social media.
3. What social media strategy has been most effective for you?
That's a great question. At the end of the day, it's really been about the relationship building on a regular basis. It’s been fulfilling to see fans have come from Facebook to e-mail to following tweets and then they become a new customer. Social media does get the word out. It really is our primary marketing strategy. We have no TV or print ads to print that drive our business. So through our customer base, email registration and from Google searches, we are building a very positive following in social media.
4. How are you evaluating your strategies?
We are measuring the rate of clicks, time spent on our site and word-of-mouth discussions including SeeMore. Through all of this, we feel that SeeMore is a player’s brand that is considered within many golfers’ purchasing mindset. We are known as being a brand that wants to talk with golfers. Social media has leveled the playing field for putters and all discussions as we have seen in golf and other areas. It's a great democratic system, and a great idea that gives people and companies of all sizes a chance to compete.
5. What has impressed you about your strategies?
What's most impressed me and social media as ability to expand your relationships and your awareness on an exponential level? Personally, I have set up my profile on Facebook and LinkedIn, and I've been amazed to watch the exponential power of social media. People contacted me when I started on those sites, and then it has just expanded. And right now, I feel I'm just a casual participant. At the same time, I could see the circles of SeeMore and golf business friends and fans expanding dramatically and that growth has been across all different platforms. And I'm so glad we got a chance to get onto social media.
6. What has surprised you about social media?
The transformation in a short period of time from the mainstream media to social media focus has surprised me. For the first time, going into this golf season, I'm not worried that we have don’t have a TV or print campaign. There's so much going on now and so much resources that we have feeding the social network. Most important, our business has been built on spending time off-line talking to customers one-on-one. That’s our customer service mantra. We continue to think these conversations are the right thing to do. So social media has just propelled this approach. We know that people enjoy talking to us about anything related to putting and we think we've transformed that into effective social media marketing.
7. How do you plan to improve these strategies in 2011?
We’re looking to engage more instructors, engage more advocates and influencers into our social communities and help them to promote the SeeMore brand of instruction, customer care and focus on everything new and important in putting.
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