Using Twitter for Profit

On Tuesday, I gave a seminar on “How to Increase Your Profits” to about 120 members of the Professional Golfers’ Association of BC. These are the people who help to run the “golf” business. They operate the golf courses, pro shops, golf teaching schools, driving ranges etc. Like all small businesses, they were very interested in discovering more ways to help their businesses make more money.

I was talking about the value of of using Social Media as part of their marketing mix and I asked how many of the audience used Twitter. About 10% of the people raised their hands…mainly younger audience members. I was asked if I had a Twitter account and said “Yes.” Then I was asked the name of my account and I replied “@bestbizplans”. I carried on with the seminar and thought no more about it. The next day, I discovered that over 50% of the audience with Twitter accounts had decided to follow me….That’s powerful.

The reason I asked about Twitter accounts was because golfers are an ageing demographic and most businesses need a constant inflow of customers. As a golfer, one of my biggest frustrations is that I can’t often get good tee-times. A tee-time is a highly perishable commodity. A 3:00 pm time is worth precisely zero at 3:15. At 3:00 it may be worth $60 – $100 and they are usually sold in groups of 4, so an unsold tee-time is worth $240 – $400 plus all of the add-ons. Virtually all of this lost revenue is lost profit, due to the very low variable costs. So an unsold tee-time costs the golf course between $200 and $500 in profits.

Twitter is an ideal medium for selling perishable commodities, like tee-times, restaurant table reservations, theatre tickets, seats at sporting events, concerts etc. If I got a tweet at 11:00 am from a golf course that I like to play, and it told me that they had a 2:00 pm tee-time available, I might phone a few friends and grab it…especially if it was a sunny day and I wasn’t committed that afternoon.

The probability is that I wouldn’t phone to reserve that particular time, but if the golf club had a few hundred followers, it’s almost certain that they would sell that previously unsold time. And they would get full price. WoW! the power of instant, free messaging to a receptive audience.