I am admittedly a huge Instagram fanatic. I am one of those weird people who actually loves the popular page and will constantly check it as much as my feed itself. Instagram allows me to constantly immerse myself in my passion, fishing. I understand that this is the case for nearly everyone with an Instagram account, yet for my brother and I, it led to turning our passion into a business.
Scrolling through my feed, you will see exclusively fish pictures. Last summer, I started to post more and more pictures solely of fishing. The name of my boat is Big Dog, so naturally the hashtag #bigdogsportfishing began to catch on. Whenever friends or family came out on the water, they were always excited to share their experience on social media and I selfishly asked them to use the hashtag. As more and more people caught on, I began to get really pumped up about #bigdogsportfishing, so much so that I transitioned my personal account to@bigdogsportfishing(Shameless plug) . What really began as a fun way to share with my friends slowly began to build momentum. I would get comments from friends constantly saying “Let me come out with you.” or “My dad or uncle would love to come out with you guys.”
As last season came to a close, I started to think, “Wow, the biggest problem people starting a business face is finding customers, and right now based off social media I should have no problem getting people to come out.” I floated the idea by my brother and we began to actually considering starting our own fishing business, chartering the boat to take people out off the waters of Cape Cod. We fish for Striped Bass, Bluefish, and Tuna. Once we committed getting our business off the ground, Instagram and Facebook were pivotal to generating buzz and getting our business in front of as many eyeballs as possible. The best part about using Instagram as a marketing tool is that it can be enormously effective for absolutely zero monetary investment, only your own personal time.
While a website allows individuals to digest a large amount of information about a business in a singular space, there is a huge amount that goes into funneling customers to your site. Initially and naively, I thought I would be able to spend a weekend setting up my site and it would immediately begin to garner page views. This quickly turned into roughly 2 months of work to simply get all the information and aesthetic of the site up to par. This is all before coming to the realization that SEO is not something that just materializes out of thin air. This predicament really highlights the beauty of social media apps like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter provides to small business owners.
Instagram was huge this summer for my business, from sharing the day’s catches, to updating potential clients with reports, and connecting with other fisherman. While I feel I have some handle on using the Instagram platform, I am definitely not adept at utilizing other social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook. This led me to jumping into this course. What I thought would be a pretty clear-cut, and honestly a light workload class (I mean how hard can Social Media be?), I was rudely awakened to a bit of a foreboding warning that this was not going to be a walk in the park. While it doesn’t seem like this class will focus on the practical applications of Social Media for business, I guess that was a pretty uninformed opinion to take into the class in general. We do go to Boston College so I think we can figure out how to use our Facebook pages but what’s more important is understanding the larger influences and problems that arise in digital business. In today’s extremely fast paced business industries, it’s less important to become specific experts in limited digital business trends and more important to understand the larger landscape as a whole to determine what factors will shape the future. These factors can often be valuable for managers to position their companies to take advantage of changes in the dynamics of digital business.
Scrolling through the calendar for the semester, I’m very excited to learn about some topics that have almost zero knowledge or experience with, specifically Artificial Intelligence and block chain. A friend of mine runs a data analytics shop that helps companies build platforms to maximize the value of their data and help decision makers make better informed decisions. I would be very interested in looking into the connection between user data, social media networks, and how this impacts business decisions on a wide range of subjects such as targeted marketing, sales, and even production decisions.
In regard to my own business, I hope I can become more knowledgeable about current and future factors influencing Social Media and digital business to streamline my online presence converting more views into booked customers.