When camps think about social media and marketing themselves on social media, usually Facebook and Twitter come to mind. And that’s a good thing! But a lot of camps often forget about Instagram!
While instagram isn’t for every business, show me a camp that Instagram isn’t a great fit for! It has everything you need for successful social media marketing – hashtags, images (which people like more than text updates), ability to tag, ability to like and the ability to comment!
Did you know that in general, brands see 4% more engagement via Instagram than their Facebook and Twitter accounts combined? And that Instagram now has more users than Twitter? (Here’s another great guide to Instagram worth reading!)
One reason is because the popularity of Instagram is on the rise, especially with younger people aka your campers! Over 90% of users are under the age of 35. Younger social media users tend to favor visual content over text, so Instagram is the perfect platform for them to engage on! Over 60 million photos a day are shared on Instagram. That’s huge! This means it’s more likely your campers on are Instagram, so connecting with your campers online means you need to be there!
If you aren’t on Instagram already, here are 5 tips to creating the best Instagram camp account out there!
Tip #1 Make a plan!
Come up with, especially at the beginning, a few overarching themes for your posts so your page has direction and consistency. There are tons of ‘themes’ to choose from, including:
- Camper spotlight (For example, a picture of a camper, their name and their favorite part of camp)
- Staff spotlight (For example, picture of staff member making a funny face, their name and a fun fact about them)
- Meals (You could do “Meal Mondays” and show off what’s cooking!)
- Arrival day
- Activities around camp
- “Image of the day”
- Quotes that are camp centered – post a photo of a place in your camp and an inspirational quote to go along with it.
- Interview or testimonials from campers
Having a variety of different posts makes your page fun to follow and can attract different kinds of engagement from a variety of people.
Tip #2 Use #hashtags
Hashtags are huge, and not just on Twitter. You can use them on Instagram and Facebook. And use them you should! Hashtags are a great way to get more exposure and engage with your followers.
Consider participating in common hashtag trends, like #tbt or Throwback Thursday, where you post a photo from the past on Thursday. Come up with a hashtag for your camp as well, and use it ALL.THE.TIME. so your posts are easy to track and encourage others to use the hashtag as well.
If you also use Twitter and Facebook, make sure the hashtags you use are consistent across all platforms so it’s easy for followers to remember. Encourage followers to use your hashtags in your posts. Post a photo of your favorite part of camp with your camp hashtag and encourage others to post THEIR favorite part of camp in a photo using the hashtag. Engagement comes from posting great content that people will like as well as encouraging followers to post their own content and share with you!
Tip #3 Use your Twitter Username
For the same reason you should use the same hashtags across all your social media accounts, using the same username helps keep with the consistency of your social media presence. Having the same username will make it easier for people to find and follow you on Instagram and it makes your marketing much easier! Include an Instagram and twitter icon with ONE username in your marketing materials so people know how to find you on both platforms without cluttering up your website, fliers, etc.
Having one consistent brand, style, color scheme etc across everything you put out goes a long way to making your camp look solid, put together and professional!
Tip #4 Post and Comment Frequently
Potential campers and their families might be in the market for a new camp. If they see you don’t post often or don’t interact on your profile they are missing great content you should be posting that might sway them to check you out, but also might think you don’t put time, effort and therefore care about your camp. This sounds kind of funny, but it’s a subconscious thing. When an Instagram feed is FULL of pictures, videos, fun profiles of campers and staff – this gives them a taste of your energy, your vibe and what experience you give to campers.
Another reason to be on social media is to connect with campers and potential campers! If someone comments, write back! Engage, have fun and show off your personality!
Tip #5 Have fun!
This is really a tip for anything you do online for camp (and at camp too!) Camp is fun, so have fun with your marketing and online engagement. If you try too hard, it won’t be fun for you and it will come off fake and not genuine.
What pictures do you want to take and post? Take those photos! Figure out what makes sense for your camp and your picture taking and go with it. You don’t have to follow a plan, or come up with ‘themes’ for your posts if you don’t want to. Most important, have fun and see what comes out! Document daily life, document something that moves you and as long as it comes from the heart you’ll see people liking your photos, commenting on them and engaging with you!
Not all businesses should be on Instagram as it doesn’t serve every purpose. But for camp, I think it’s a must! There is so much to share, so many activities going on, so many people involved in making the camp experience what it is, if you’re not on Instagram you’re missing out!
Consider linking your Twitter and Facebook accounts if you have them to Instagram so your Instagram profile can become a one stop shop for sharing pictures and videos across all platforms. Add an Instagram feed and link to the side of your blog or website so people can easily see what you post and enjoy your photos! But the biggest takeaway is really #5, have fun!
If you’re interested in this topic, also check out our brand-new ultimate guide to camp marketing!