Cathie Anderson

Cathie Anderson: Angler will talk in Sacramento about fishing for new customers on Facebook founder and avid angler Chad Woods estimated that traffic to his website has grown by 20 percent this year, and he’ll explain why Wednesday at a Facebook seminar for small business owners in Sacramento.

Woods’ website has been up and running profitably for 14 years, but he’s always looking for ways to expand his reach. That’s why he launched a Facebook page, SportFishingReport, about four years ago. It now has 92,908 likes, but Woods told me that it took years to figure out how to make Facebook work for him – and that he’s still learning.

A measure of how far he’s come: He started a sister page, Bass Fish Reports, about a year ago, and already it’s closing in on 70,000 likes. That shows not only how much better he is at attracting a Facebook following, he said, but also how fanatical bass fishers are about the sport. Yet, at his website, Woods struggled for years to gain the loyalty of bass fisherman outside California. He said anglers complained there was so much news from California that their posts got lost in the morass.

Facebook’s algorithms solved this problem, Woods said, because each angler’s posts are given priority if friends have ‘liked’ their prior entries or comments. The guy in Texas, Woods said, no longer is deluged with information he doesn’t want, but if Woods adds a post on something the Texas angler likes, it will pass through the Facebook jetsam and make its way to the right person’s eyeballs.

In this way, he can link customers to information they will find most relevant on his website. If they click on an ad, Woods receives a fee, whether they make a purchase or not. If they book a charter boat from his site, they’re using software that Woods created. Charter companies up and down the California coast pay him a subscription fee for that software.

“If you have a website and you want someone to go see something on your website, you have to train them to go there and to look at it,” Woods said. “Well, with Facebook,...they’re getting the most relevant information on the things that they like.”

Woods will travel from his home base in Washoe County, Nev., to join Facebook staff for the free seminar Wednesday at 10 a.m. in Sacramento’s Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 828 I St. By Friday afternoon, there was a waiting list for seats.