As many 2017 seasons are cooling down, summer 2018 is heating up. That’s right: it may only be August, but the emphasis on recruiting next year’s campers begins now.
While social media isn’t the top dog for camp marketing (psss: it’s word of mouth), it’s a major player in the game. And here’s the best news – it can work for you even when you’re not working. A well built out social media profile can help recruit campers for you while you focus your time and energy on other things. A small amount of time spent on initial setup can have big long-term impacts.
Facebook isn’t the most-used social media for campers, but it is for parents – especially moms. It’s reported that 83 percent of women and 84 percent of people ages 30-49 actively use Facebook. That makes it a perfect, free (or not free – depending on your strategy) what to promote.
But because these people are active Facebook users, they have certain expectations. Not meeting those expectations can rule a camp out before you have the chance to have an actual conversation. Making sure you have complete and accurate information on your page is just as important as having a page. Along those lines, regularly posting relevant content is also important. Imagine scrolling through a page that hasn’t been updated since January of 2017 – is something wrong? did they close? Facebook is a living, breathing medium. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do any good if it just sits there.
Behind the Scenes
Navigating to the settings page and looking can be overwhelming, but remember: after a one-time set up, it works for you! Start at the General page and read through. Make sure the settings are such that your page is visible to as many people as it can be. If for any reason your camp has two pages, there’s also a feature in the General settings for you to merge the two pages. It’s a process, but worth it if you want to keep followers and ratings.
This is the start of where the customizable features can save you a lot of time and help you with excellent customer service. Under the Response Assistant, you can easily set up instant replies and greetings to help when you’re unavailable.
Instant replies let people contacting your page know that even when you’re not there, they’re important to you. These replies can also be set up to provide important information, such as your phone number, website, etc., for people to use while awaiting a reply. Here’s an example instant reply:
Camp SummerCampMagic is excited to speak with you! We try to be as responsive as possible, so we will be in touch with you soon. In the meantime, you can reach us at (000) 000-000. Feel free to check out our photos or head to our website, summercampmagic.wordpress.com. We look forwarding to chatting with you!
Your friends at Camp SummerCampMagic
Next, setting a greeting can help leads feel welcome and encourage them to go through with their message. A greeting can be simple, such as:
Hi, NAME! Thanks for getting in touch with Camp SummerCampMagic. We look forward to hearing from you!
And bam! You’ve just created two positive interactions in minutes, and they can work for countless people!
This tab gives you a lot of flexibility on what users see on your Facebook. They have templates (I use Business), but there’s customization beyond that! Set up what feels right for you, and don’t overpromise. Keep it fairly. It’s better to have five tabs with full information on each rather than eight sparse tabs.
How tapped into Facebook do you want to be? If you don’t log on or check your page regularly, it can be a good idea to set up email or text alerts to help you interact with your audience.
Preferred Page Audience
Again, this is something you can set and let work for you! Tell Facebook your target audience (based on your current camp families or personas), and they’ll help make sure the right people are finding your page.
There’s not too much to this, but it is important to make sure your Facebook and Instagram are connected. This helps Instagram recognize you as a business, which will give you more information into your insights. Additionally, it’s the way to run ads on Instagram (if you’re into that!).
This one is also pretty easy and may never be used, but it may be a nice customer service trick for parents at camp. If you make WiFi available to parents or campers, you can put the name on your Facebook, which will make it accessible through Find Wi-Fi, a new Facebook feature.
Going back to your page instead of settings, you have more things to customize and give your audience information.
Facebook users are known for liking the short and sweet – if they want the full scoop, they’ll navigate to your website. Make sure you fill out everything you can on this page with quick, easy-to-read, enticing information.
Jobs is a new-ish feature on Facebook that assists in recruiting staff. It’s not a need-to-have, but if you’re having trouble finding staff members (read: male counselors), it’s not a bad idea to use and doesn’t take long to set up.
Anything going on at your camp? A weekend retreat, staff training, a week of camp? Create an event! People like to see that you have things going on, and if they see that their friends are attending the event or interacting with it, it may be the extra push they need to sign up.
If you offer an early bird special, sibling discount, or something else, the offers page is a great way to let parents know!
Whew. There are a lot of ways to customize your page and make it work for you, but the payoff is worth it. If just a few parents sign up for camp, feel more valued, or become more likely to recommend you based on the adjustments you made, the one or two hours of time you spent isn’t a bad trade off.
There’s just one more thing you can do, have your staff do, and ask your parents/campers to do to help your page work for you. And that is: invite friends! The more people engaged with your page, the more successful it will be.
Have dreams of inviting ALL your friends to like your page but dreading spending the time doing it? No problem! If you’re a fan of Google Chrome, there’s a plugin that will make this easy. With that said, think about it before you do it. It can get you likes, but it may annoy your friends and possibly turn them off your camp. If your friends already know you as that person who really loves camp, it probably won’t hurt.
That’s a Wrap!
Use this information to make your Facebook page stand out and work for you, even when you’re not working. Have a few of your own tips or suggestions? Let me know in the comments!