Part of the beauty of camps and after-school classes is the freedom they provide — a chance for kids to learn and cultivate activities in their own space (and maybe the same goes for parents).
Still, it’s important for parents to stay engaged in the programs their kiddos are involved in, and Facebook groups are a trending way to do just that. By joining a Facebook group, you’re joining an active community of program coordinators and other parents who are facilitating a conversation about news, updates, and ongoings in the organization that matters to you.
Engaging parents on Facebook by buying promoted posts and targeted ads is still a great tactic for reaching new customers — but Facebook groups are an underused, powerful, and free way to bolster active parental involvement.
Here’s how to use Facebook groups to promote your programs.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A FACEBOOK GROUP?
Parents want to be involved, and that’s what Facebook groups are all about. Today, more and more busy parents are seeking online involvement with youth programs in lieu of (or in addition to) physically participating.
Facebook groups offer a safe space for parents to engage with your brand and other parents. They’re a gathering place for sharing stories, asking questions, and chaperoning discussion surrounding your brand. And for brands, they’re a great place to both speak and listen so that you and your audience can get to know each other.
WHAT MAKES FACEBOOK GROUPS EFFECTIVE?
Facebook groups are a digital watering hole for parents to engage, share, and discuss with your brand and other community members. In terms of engagement, Facebook groups are ideal, because your demographic comes to you.
A Dedicated Community
Facebook groups are opt-in communities, so they operate as a tribe. Members of the group feel kinship and responsibility toward your brand and each other. They view the group as both yours and theirs.
Want to know what else social influencers can do for your after-school activity or camp? Learn How Social Media Influencers Can Give Your Program a Boost.
FACEBOOK PAGES VS. FACEBOOK GROUPS
Even if your brand already has 100,000 likes on your Facebook page, a group is still valuable because Facebook groups and pages are good for different things.
Facebook pages are for the public (think potential customers).
Fill your Facebook page with you. This includes:
- Thought leadership.
- Deals and promotions.
- Program information.
- Marketing content.
New visitors should get a clear portrait of your organization. Your page should be in your voice.
Facebook groups are for your tribe (think existing customers).
Make your Facebook group about your tribe — and give your members a place to speak. This means posting:
- Pictures from the fun run last week.
- Need-to-know information for parents.
- Program updates.
- Fundraiser activities.
- Questions and polls.
Be sure to regularly welcome new members by name.
4 HELPFUL TIPS FOR FACEBOOK GROUPS
- Make sure your group is closed. This way, members must opt-in.
- This cuts down on scammers and bots looking for online spaces to hijack with their own agenda, such as posting malicious links or promoting their own content or brand.
- Closed groups promote the feeling of exclusivity between members, creating a sense of specialness and responsibility within the group.
- Post a welcome video. Start engaging parents the same warm welcome as you would in person. No need to go overboard; a 30-second hello from the group organizer will do.
- Set rules and stand by them. You don’t want your group to fall victim to infiltrators shamelessly plugging their own products in your space, nor do you want harassment and other questionable content from the corners of the internet to tarnish your name.
- “Pin” the rules to the front of your comments section. That way, they are clearly visible to every visitor as they post.
- Remind people of the rules every couple of months with a quick message or post to your group.
- Don’t be afraid to ban offenders. They threaten the safety of your group and the name of your business.
- Encourage social influencers to give your program a boost. Know a camp counselor who doubles as a talented photographer? Ask him or her to take photos at an upcoming canoeing class and then post to the group.
A Facebook group can provide a more balanced and comprehensive social media experience that engages parent volunteers. It gives your audience a platform on which to speak to your brand and one another, and it gives you a defined digital turf on which to engage with your audience.
Parents will appreciate the opportunity to communicate with and contribute to your youth program. Plus, they’re likely to sing your praises online long after.
Discover more opportunities to connect with today’s forward-thinking families when you read our free white paper bundle: 4 Ways to Offer a Next-Generation Program.