The internet is a wonderful tool for sailing. As well as the cool content, high definition videos, online games, realtime race trackers, user generated content, photographs and podcasts, the web provides people interested in yacht racing to come together in networks. We’ve talked a lot about social networks – twitter, facebook and the like. These platforms are seen by most as skewing younger and being more appropriate for brands and businesses trying to target consumers, but increasingly they are growing older and savvy business people are winning business using this media.
In 1999, I came across an online network called Ecademy. Started in London, the website used the power of the internet to connect people using search terms and matching. Just as the internet changed dating, the same technology can be applied to put together buyers and sellers or entrepreneurs and investors. The idea of belonging to such a network seemed a little strange at first. After all, those who are members of Yacht Clubs or Golf Clubs will know that networking is an age old behaviour that you kind of take for granted.
If I want to find an accountant or solicitor or plumber, there is usually a guy at the club who can sort it out, or someone will know someone. Why do I need an online network where I meet seemingly random strangers? The answer of course is efficiency. This is how dating sites work – you could choose a bar, have a few drinks and hope that your perfect match just happens to be in the same bar at the same time and you manage to have enough conversation to determine that you have something in common, or you can take 2 minutes to fill out a profile and search thousands of potential matches in an instant.
Teams like Quantum Racing and Events like the Transpac Race are using Facebook to tap into the social side of online networking, but those in the business of yacht racing really should be looking at business networks like Linked-In. The site now boasts 41 million members and it works. Having a profile, optimising it and contributing to groups expands your business connections and helps do deals.
Whether you are looking for sponsorship, looking to partner, looking for a PR agency or a company to build your website. Whether you just want to manage your reputation in a global marketplace, Linked-In is a site that you need to be on. There are several groups on Linked-In which allow those in the business to get to know others.
Here are a couple that can add value:
- The DARK BLUE BOOK – The Who’s Who of Yacht Racing.
- The World Yacht Racing Forum Linked-In Group
- World Executives Sailing Club
In a world where sponsorship is increasingly hard to find, networking is paramount to providing opportunities. While there is no substitute for having your own website, a well thought out profile on sites like Linked-In can be used to direct potential sponsors to a place online where you set out your stand.
Manage your online reputation. Optimise your Social Media Strategy.
Talk to Pilote Media.