Creating a marketing campaign for your camp can be a daunting task. Where to begin? Do you create an email blast? Start a social media campaign? Put an ad in the paper? Send fliers to local schools and sports leagues? While only you know where best to promote your camp, hopefully based on data and not just your gut feeling, and based on your community and what the status quo is, eventually social media is going to play a part in your marketing campaign. This post will dive into how to create camp facebook page for marketing purposes.
A social media strategy should be high on your list of things to do when thinking about marking your camp. It will not only allow you to connect with your campers and their families (we talk more about social media and connecting with campers and their families in this post and this post) and further develop your ‘brand’ (we talk about how social media is important for your camp and brand here and here). Social media is fast becoming the top driver of traffic to websites, over SEO and paid ads (this article has crunched some interesting numbers)! This means that a social media strategy is a MUST for all camps (and frankly most businesses in general).
The question then becomes, what social media platforms are right for marketing your camp and how can you use those resources to their fullest potential? In this post we look at using Facebook as a marketing tool for your camp, including how to maximize Facebook’s events tool to promote your camp registration forms. We will follow up this post later on how to use Twitter for marketing and using SEO, Google and your website as a base for your marketing plans (it is always about how you connect everything together, like anything else in life, no?).
Creating a Page and an Event on Facebook
The first thing to do when marketing your camp Facebook page, is first to simply create a business page for your camp. Have a great photo and cover photo! Photos that include images of your camp scenery and campers doing fun activities (swimming, hiking, playing, etc) are always great options. Don’t forget to include your logo and use colors or fonts (where applicable) that tie in with your website and other marketing materials. Branding includes creating social media profiles that jive with your other online and print spaces.
After taking care of the graphics and making everything look amazing, make sure to fill in all of the information in the “About” section. This will help people find you (phone number, address, etc). It’s also the place for links to pages you’d like readers to know about and visit, which includes your website, a photo page if you have one, registration (including an updated registration deadline for each new session), other social media profiles, etc.
If you are just starting out, or a new season is approaching, having a ‘welcome’ event or some kind of event to get people excited about the upcoming season and learn more about what your camp has to offer, can be really helpful and fun! Facebook is a great place to publicize this type of event. You can begin by just creating an “event” via your organization’s Facebook page. To do this, you simply go to the area where you’d update a status and click on “Offer, event…”,
Then click on, “event” and fill out the information in the prompt, including the title, date, location, etc.
Another great use of Facebook’s event tool is for your REGISTRATION! Every time you have a new registration deadline for an upcoming session, make it an event and invite people! It’s a great way to spread the word to your followers about upcoming dates you’re offering so they are in the loop. Events can also be shared, so you can use the event wall to share updates about that particular session, shout out to followers when they’ve registered and communicate important forms, deadlines, dates as well as encourage participants to share the event with friends who might also be interested! The possibilities are really endless!
Free Advertising (who doesn’t like that?)!
By creating a page, and an event and by adding relevant photos, information and links to your profile, you are setting up a great foundation for continued marketing on Facebook. You can do paid ad’s through Facebook and target the community you’d like your camp to reach as well.
Use Facebook’s ‘share’ feature to share your page and upcoming events to other people or relevant organization’s timelines as a way to advertise for free! You can ask local businesses to like your page and share your event to their followers. You can also send your page and info on upcoming camp sessions, registrations deadlines, etc via Facebook messages to specific people you’d like to reach out to or just know about the happenings with your camp. A few of our +500 camp clients even use Facebook as their only website, including adding their registration options right into Facebook!
By getting people to ‘like’ your organization’s page and to say “yes” to upcoming events, you now have a community of people who will receive updates, messages and news about the event from you. This will keep them informed and assuming you post great, interesting and shareable content, you have a built in base of people to share your status that will also help you passively market your camp and share the details to more people who might not be able to reach.
Just as with your personal Facebook page, your camp page is a great marketing tool since potential clients will see your updates and photos that you post. So make sure to post away! Some great post ideas include:
Before camp begins:
- Share photos of where the camp is going to take place.
- Post images of previous campers doing fun activities.
- Share videos of your consultants working with your campers from previous sessions.
- Post the administration staff at the office working away and preparing for camp “behind the scenes” style.
- Share status updates or pictures from former campers who are attending the next session to include them in your page and get them interacting with you more directly.
During camp session:
- Post photos daily of activities happening at camp. Be sure to tag your campers or their parents if it’s relevant to get them to like, comment and share your posts and photos.
- Share photos of campers enjoying themselves that particular day.
- Post videos of campers saying a few words about their favorite part of camp, their favorite activity from the day/week
- Share photos of projects campers are working on.
- You can even be sure to connect with parents on Facebook and shout out to them through the status updates. For example, if you had a competition and one camper one 1st place…Tag the parent in the status so they can get excited and engage with your page “Asaf Darash your daughter, Jenny, won first place in the 3 legged race today!” and include a picture in the post. Asaf will probably like your post, comment on it, and even share it! Invaluable marketing and reach!
Post camp session:
- Continue to post photos and videos of your previous session with an emphasis on missing camp and wishing you could go back.
- Share status updates from campers after they’ve returned home about how much fun they had at camp, photos they posted, etc.
- Share photos of camp along with information on your next session – session dates, registration deadlines
- Photos or status updates on administrative staff and what they are doing now that campers have gone home in a “behind the scenes” style post.
Creating Shareable Content
What is great, interesting and shareable content you ask? Don’t just post “ Camp Starts in 3 WEEKS!!” or “Can’t wait to see everyone next summer!”. Use your updates to really engage with your followers.
- If you are contemplating new menu items for next session, poll your followers!
- Have a few funny photos, ask Facebook followers to tell you which they think is the funniest and give a ‘prize’ to the winner (by tagging them to say they’ve won a photo contest, etc).
- You are reading and learning about camp every day, post the articles you think your families and campers will love like whether campers and staff should be friends online, or this post about longing for home, when home is camp, or this great post for parents to read on how camp is one place kids can really be themselves!
Content that asks a question or otherwise solicits a response from followers will most likely get one. And allowing your community to be a part of decision making makes them more excited to come out and feel more invested in your camp. When they feel this way, they will be more likely to share updates and information about your camp with colleagues, family and friends.
The added bonus of creating an interactive community on Facebook is that people looking for a camp for their kids (or themselves depending on their age) or who are interested in what you have to offer can come to your Facebook page and see the great community you’ve built, which will make them more inclined to learn more about you!
Also, don’t be afraid to look at what other camps are doing on Facebook and borrow ideas! Even ‘liking’ other camps pages and communicating with them is a great way to build community and get great ideas on how to continually connect with your camp community and also attract other potential clients.
A great tool to managing posts on Facebook and other social media platforms is Hootsuite (Links: hootsuite.com). There is a great list by Mashable here with other platforms, but we love Hootsuite. The free version offers amazing tools and the premium is affordable if you have use of the extra services they offer. Hootsuite and other similar platforms allow you to not only view profiles you follow across all of your social media accounts (which is great for managing personal connections with people and other organizations who might be interested in your camp and help spread the word for you) but it can help you when sharing your own content.
Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts by date and time so if you have a free few hours and want to set up some posts to go out daily over the next few weeks, it can be a huge time saver. You can rest assured that your varied social media profiles are posting great content daily without the headache of remembering to post every day. It’s definitely a great tool to consider when managing your social media and marketing strategy. Multiple people from your company can have access to the Hootsuite page as well, so your entire social media campaign is all in one place and accessible to everyone who needs it!
Facebook allows you to boost specific posts so you can reach more people and connect them to your camp. Boosting posts can help create a buzz about your camp if you feel like you could benefit from targeted search and have the money to invest in that process. The idea is always to get people to read your posts, share them, consider learning more about you and stopping by your website to register for your camp.
Don’t forget to include a “like” icon on your camp’s website if you have one. You want to engage with people so make it easy for them to do so! Wherever they are on your website, or in an email from you, it should be easy and visible for them to click “like” and start receiving updates from you to keep them in the loop and to arm them with the opportunity to interact with you on Facebook and share your content with their circles!
And the most important advice: Focus a majority of time on building your camp and your community! You can use your camp Facebook page for marketing all you want, but you’ll be a one hit wonder if you don’t deliver on all that you promise! Good luck!!