COLUMN: Murray Yacht Sales talks social media benefits

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Strictly Sail Pacific is the largest all-sailboat show on the West Coast.

Strictly Sail Pacific is the largest all-sailboat show on the West Coast.

OAKLAND, Calif. — During Strictly Sail Pacific, I had the opportunity to sit and chat with Stanton Murray of Murray Yacht Sales about his company’s marketing efforts. Murray’s New Orleans-based company has been selling powerboats and sailboats from its Gulf Coast offices for more than 40 years.

He currently serves as president of Sail America and is the former president of the Yacht Brokers Association of America. He isn’t some hotshot industry “tech noob.” He is a seasoned veteran and his company makes great use of digital media and social channels.

Gaspare J. Marturano

Gaspare J. Marturano

As any company should, having a true understanding of who your customer is and where are they having conversations is key. “We go where our customers are,” Murray said during the four-day, all-sailboat show, which ended Sunday. “We use Facebook to build community rather than to sell.”

Asked who Murray Yacht Sales loves on social channels, Murray said, “Discover Boating — we love what they are doing.” Discover Boating is fast approaching 700,000 Facebook “likes” at last count. It offers great tools that give new and seasoned boaters valuable information from their desktops, laptops and mobile devices.

What really impressed me was the use of Pinterest. First, the statistics: Of the 70 million Pinterest users, 80 percent are women. Murray tells me he believes the marine industry fails to understand that boat buyers are not only men.

“As the saying goes, women have 100 percent of the no vote,” he said. “We have gorgeous products set in exotic locations and amazing and interesting interiors. There is no better place to display our wares to men and women than the simple and elegant Pinterest layout.”

Purchasing a big-ticket item, in many cases, is a family affair. Reaching out to all family members is important. Creating meaningful content that can speak to the digital consumer is what creates a content powerhouse.

Bottom line: Reaching out to today’s customers has never been easier. Even companies with the tiniest budget can utilize the available tools to reach their customer base.

Chances are you are using one or all of the big four (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube), and that is a great start, but the real trick is figuring out where the folks you are trying to engage with are hanging their digital hats.

Gaspare J. Marturano is a social media and digital marketing thought leader, industry speaker and the author of “SocializeWith.Me or Someone Else Will” (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble). With more than 20 years of experience, Gaspare is now leading Fastlane Communications’ Digital Marketing and Social Media practice, providing best-practice counsel and execution in the areas of social media policies, processes, people, technologies and content marketing programs.

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