Diagramming Your Social Media Strategy

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Have you created a Facebook or Twitter account for your camp? The answer is probably yes, but the reality is that most of us in the camp industry are using social media without a strategy. Creating a social media strategy is necessary inorder to build relationships with your customers and we’ve got a new resource that can help you build your social strategy from start to finish.

ACTIVE’s new Social Media Playbook – A Camp Director’s guide to a winning social media strategy, outlines how camp directors should approach diagramming their social media strategy. Here’s an outline to help you start diagramming your social media strategy:

  • Identify your Camp’s Business Goals: before you can write your social media strategy, identify what you want to accomplish. Examples of these goals include:
    • Do you want your camp to be seen as the education leader in your field?
    • Do you want 50 new campers this year?
    • Do you want to increase parent communication?
  • Identify your Social Media Strategy: armed with your business goals, you can write your social media strategy. Remember to keep your objectives realistic and measurable. Check out these examples:
    • Establish your camp as a leader in your community
    • Establish your camp as an education expert
    • Gather more information about campers/parents education needs, service needs, spending plans, etc.
    • Identify your Social Media Tactics: the most important thing is to remember as you ramp up your social media efforts is that you’re trying to build relationships. You’re talking with people, not at them. Check out these examples of social media tactics:
      • Build your profile on your chosen platform
      • Make sure your social channels are integrated with your website
      • Start following the people talking about camps or youth activities

Before you start diagramming your social media strategy always remember to appeal to the heart of your audience and start actively listening to what’s going on in the industry.

For more information on how social media can improve your camp’s business click here to download the complete Social Media Playbook.

The Parent Trap: Marketing to the Big Kids

Camp directors know that managing the “big kids,” the parents, is just as important as managing the little ones. Parents are demanding and short on time, so it’s important that as camp directors you are grabbing their attention.

In a recent article featured on the American Camp Associations site, Camarin Wanamaker, a Senior Account Manager here at the ACTIVE Network, outlined 3 important marketing elements for camp directors to incorporate into their marketing campaigns to ensure they’re targeting the “big kids.”

Here’s a quick recap of the marketing elements:

Do Your Homework! – put yourself in the shoes of the parents and start thinking like a parent

What gets their attention?

Who do they listen to for advice?

What is their ideal camp experience for their kids (from registration to the wave goodbye)?

Where do they look for camps?

Be Unexpected – attract new campers and keep the ones you have coming back by differentiating yourself. As a camp director, ask yourself these questions: 

What’s important to your campers and parents?

What’s unique to your programs?

What do you provide that is top notch, best in business?

What can you can defend (i.e. a statement that can be proven through a stat, quote, or real life story)

Be Really Good Where it Matters – doing your homework and understanding your customers is the bedrock of your marketing message. Now start to focus on conveying these important qualities to your customers:

Experiences – make your camp experience a memorable one, from registration all the way to the wave goodbye

Convenience – no parent has time to fill out paper forms, move your registration forms online and link to them from your website

Savings – parents are looking for a good deal to maximize their family budget. Offer special discounts and early bird registration rates to parents who plan in advanced

Fun -this is the second highest criteria for camp selection. Having fun is essential, when kids are happy, parents are happy.

Results – think of your camp like a business, your camp produces results. Those results are manifested by the skills the kids learn and successes they achieve at your camp.

To read more in depth about these marketing elements visit the American Camp Associations webpage. Click here to visit the site. 

Know a Superhero Camp Counselor?

We’re giving away a $1,000 college scholarship to a deserving Camp Counselor this summer!   

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We all know that without the dedication and positive energy of camp staff, camp wouldn’t the memorable experience that it is for so many kids. This is our way to help recognize their incredible contribution to our communities.

Contest ends August 16. Nominate before it’s too late!

Go here to fill out the entry form.

Spring Fling or Summer Romance?

A New Camp Parent’s Thoughts on Creating Customer Loyalty

by Camarin Wanamaker

A few weeks ago, when the camp brochures started rolling in, our 7-year-old daughter Frankie said, “Mom, I don’t want to go back to Day Camp X. Please don’t send me there!” My heart twinged with guilt and a will to make her summer great this year. As both a parent and a professional working with camps across the country, I wondered what this camp could have done differently to win our attendance for another summer?

If you think of it like dating, there are 3 critical phases to ensure a second date:

1.    Before: First Impressions Count

How many hoops do parents have to jump through to “date” you? Registration is a prime testing phase for new relationships. Day Camp X’s process was paper-driven and confusing, requiring several trips to complete. Show parents you ‘get it’ by leveraging the automation of technology with a personal touch that reflects your camp’s brand.

2. During: Woo Us

Kids: Last year, Frankie started Day Camp X’s summer session a few weeks late. By that time, connections had already been established and she never felt included.  This risk period could have been mitigated by assigning buddies, alerting counselors, and emailing extra orientation collateral to us.

Parents: We don’t mean to forget swim day. It was bad enough that I had to reschedule meetings and trek home for Frankie’s forgotten swimsuit, but the well-meaning counselor who pointed out where I should have seen the reminder (on the checkout sheet), didn’t help. A reminder text that morning, an email the day before, or a take-home calendar for the following week to stick on the refrigerator would show you understand and care how much we’re juggling.

4. After: Call me, maybe

A post-camp survey (and follow-up) tells me you’re interested in a relationship. If there was chemistry, we can provide great quotes and references for you. If we struggled, we can be encouraged to give camp a second chance.

Day Camp X’s generic fliers that were identical to last year’s made me feel as if we’d never met. Compare that to one camp that asked campers to write a short postcard about their camp experience. When registration opened the next summer, the camp sent this note to the camper’s parents. It’s a thoughtful way to say ‘Remember all the fun we had together?’

I want Frankie to grow up with awesome camp memories, not ones that are merely satisfactory.  That’s why we’re still playing the summer camp field, knowing that her perfect camp is out there somewhere, waiting to embrace her.

Camarin manages the Youth and Education Account Management team at ACTIVE Network. She’ll be sharing her story and her insights about marketing to moms in an upcoming webinar. Join her:

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Not Your Grandmother’s Word of Mouth

We’ve been digging more into the Mom Market this year. Just recently, we stumbled upon another aspect of the female phenomenon that could make sense as a way to get your camp name in front of moms.

There’s an Internet niche called the Mommy Blogosphere. Tech savvy women with ideas and opinions, smart writing skills, and dynamic online personalities have become an advertising channel that some of today’s biggest brands are plugging into. The Mommy Blogosphere has taken word of mouth to a whole ‘nother level.

This is important because word of mouth from other moms is Mom’s most trusted source of information. When a blogger with thousands of followers talks about a product, service or YOUR CAMP, the message goes out to those thousands of followers. But then, many of those followers may tweet, repost or share the blog post to their entire online community. That could be a lot of eyeballs on your camp’s name.

The cost of sponsoring one of these bloggers to write about your camp directly correlates to the number of followers the blogger has, but the targeted, word-of-mouth factor makes this a far better value than traditional advertising.

Find out more by downloading our free resource: Best-Kept Camps Marketing Secret: The Mommy Blogosphere. You’ll learn three ways to tap into the Blogosphere to market your camp, and a few tips to be aware of, if you decide to go in that direction.

Not Your Grandmother’s Word of Mouth

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We’ve been digging more into the Mom Market this year. Just recently, we stumbled upon another aspect of the female phenomenon that could make sense as a way to get your camp name in front of moms.

There’s an Internet niche called the Mommy Blogosphere. Tech savvy women with ideas and opinions, smart writing skills, and dynamic online personalities have become an advertising channel that some of today’s biggest brands are plugging into. The Mommy Blogosphere has taken word of mouth to a whole ‘nother level.

This is important because word of mouth from other moms is Mom’s most trusted source of information. When a blogger with thousands of followers talks about a product, service or YOUR CAMP, the message goes out to those thousands of followers. But then, many of those followers may tweet, repost or share the blog post to their entire online community. That could be a lot of eyeballs on your camp’s name.

The cost of sponsoring one of these bloggers to write about your camp directly correlates to the number of followers the blogger has, but the targeted, word-of-mouth factor makes this a far better value than traditional advertising.

Find out more by downloading our free resource: Best-Kept Camps Marketing Secret: The Mommy Blogosphere. You’ll learn three ways to tap into the Blogosphere to market your camp, and a few tips to be aware of, if you decide to go in that direction.

April 2013 Question

Anonymous asked: This is our first year of camp and while the response and interest from the community has been overwhelming, I still don’t have any registrations in yet and it’s 12 days til deadline! Advice??

Congrats on your first year and the response you have received from the community.   We have seen some camps offer discounts for their first year to help drive registrations. Something like sibling discounts do a great job of both encouraging parents to register and getting more kids at camp.

Please keep us posted as to how you are doing!

Good luck!