Most of us are using social media daily for our own personal use. We connect with friends, post fun or interesting articles, videos and pictures and in general are comfortable using the various social media platforms out there.
But when it comes to using social media to promote our camp and/or as part of your overall camp marketing strategy the comfort level often drops. How often should I post? How do I use Twitter or Facebook as a business, and not just as a personal user? What platforms should I definitely be on? Why should I even use social media for my camp?
Below I’ve answered a few questions about camp social media that my summer camp clients often run by me (yes, Regpack is a online registration system but we help our clients in many other ways!). There is, as always, no one answer that applies to everyone, but I have listed here the things you should definitely try out and include in your social media plan. Then see what works for your camp and what does not and go from there. It is time to prepare since next year’s summer camp is right around the corner!
Why should my camp be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc? Is it necessary?
Plain and simple: because your campers are! Having a social media presence allows you to connect with campers, reach out and market to new ones and create your online personality and develop your brand.
Social media allows you to showcase your best self. Share photos, videos, blog posts, new information, events, etc with your community and keep in touch with past campers (to keep them coming back!) when camp isn’t in session.
In today’s world, it is totally necessary to be online, just as having a website is a no-brainer. Camps have the opportunity to thrive in social media outlets – it allows you to truly share the experience your campers have with you, what you’re all about and give a true picture of the amazing experience you provide. And on a business level, it’s an invaluable marketing tool!
Are paying for Facebook ads and boosting posts worth it?
In some cases, yes. The only way to really know is to try it out and see what results you get, just like with any marketing opportunity. First decide what your goal is: for people to attend an event, to let people know about upcoming registration or just to share your camp with targeted Facebook users.
A fun way to use Facebook ads and promoted events and posts (all cost money and come with great analytics!) is to create an event or ad for your registration season! Let your followers (and their friends, or neighbors) know that registration is open for your camp and offer an incentive for early bird registration. This gets the word out that you are open for business and might expose your camp to other families who are in the market for a place locally to send their kids for the summer! The great thing about Facebook is they show on your page to every user, friends they know who also like your page. If you target your ad or promoted post to friends of your followers, you can reach people who might not otherwise hear of you but will trust you or at least check you out if they see someone they know ‘knows’ you.
I’d suggest playing around with targeting and creating an ad, creating an event (open house, activity, etc) and promoting the event to a specific target group and see if people find you this way. Depending on your community and the number of your clients that ‘like’ you on Facebook (thereby extending your ad’s ‘reach’) you can see if this tool is a great option to grow your business!
Quick tip that will save you a lot of money and actually get you better results: Make sure to limit the target group to your area based on city, county or anything else that applies. It is safe to say that someone from NY is not going to come to a day camp in San Francisco so limiting your presentation only to people from San Francisco or from the bay area will ensure that you are targeting the correct audience.
Learn more about creating a Facebook ad in this post.
What info MUST I include in my camp’s Facebook page?
Think of your Facebook page as a business endeavor, not a social one. Make sure all relevant information is included – your website, your address, accurate contact information and a great blurb in the ‘about’ section about who you are, when you started, what ages you serve, what experiences you provide. Be sure to use great keywords about your goals to entice people and give a better sense of the type of camp you are.
Make sure your page includes content that is updated frequently. Daily, weekly, etc are the best options. Share pictures, camper spotlights, publicize your blog, share articles you feel your followers (whether campers or parents) would be interested in. Share it all! And invite conversation and connection from your followers.
Here’s a great step by step to creating an awesome camp Facebook page.
Should I allow my camp staff and camp counselors interact with campers on social media? Should we have an official social media policy?
The short answer is… it depends. Helpful, right? This is really up to the camp director and the atmosphere of your camp, the ages of campers and counselors, etc. Perhaps you have a camp that the connection between campers and counselors is paramount and engaging outside of camp is a goal of yours. In that case, create a clear policy for counselors about what is appropriate and what isn’t when connecting with campers online. Perhaps exchanging email addresses instead of connecting on social media is best. Or require counselors to create a “counselor facebook page” instead of connecting with campers on their private, personal pages.
Whatever you think is appropriate, make sure clear cut rules and guidelines are set out for your staff. Consider having a policy written up and checked by a lawyer, and have staff sign it. In the case of a major problem, having a signed legal document can help you deal with potential issues with a staff member should they occur.
Having the conversation with staff is important, to make sure everyone is on the same page. Begin by asking yourself the following question: Do I want my staff and my campers to interact outside of camp. If no, then great! You’re done. If yes, think about what that interaction should look like and communicate that vision to staff and help facilitate healthy communication.
If I only want 1 social media account for my camp, which platform should I choose?
If it were me, Instagram! First, you can link your Instagram to a Facebook page and a Twitter page and second, because images are WHERE IT’S AT! People don’t have time for reading things (which is sad in a way, but hey, you’re a business!) People love photos, and images, and looking at photos, and sharing images. Instagram offers a really easy and fun platform to share instantly pictures and videos from camp and a space to add a caption – with a link, with info, with a fun fact, etc that encourages likes, comments and shares!
The point of this post is really to highlight the fact that there isn’t a good reason to NOT be on social media if you’re a camp. There are so many ways to ‘be’ social on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc that benefits your camp – both your current community and with the intention of expanding.
If you have any questions you’d like to ask and add to this post, feel free to do so in the comments here OR on Facebook OR Twitter OR LinkedIn. We’d love to generate even more great content and resources for camps on this subject!