Post Season Plea: Don’t Forget Us!

Mom and son in carWhen you complete a summer camp or a spring program session, chances are your main emotion is relief at having another successful season behind you. You’d like to take at least a 5-minute breather before the next whirlwind starts. There’s just So.Much.To.Do!

When you think about how to prioritize your tasks, it’s very likely that trying to figure out how to keep in touch with the folks who just waved goodbye is NOT at the top of your to-do list.

And yet, it should be. Staying engaged with your participants outside of your normal season is vital to staying “top of mind”—which is how you increase the likelihood of their return.

We’ve spoken many times about the value and necessity of social media as a vital component of your marketing strategy. It’s easy to use Facebook or Twitter for announcements, but who has time to come up with quick messages throughout the off season? When you’re in full-on business mode, “social” seems to require a major brain shift (and vice versa)!

We get it! So, here’s a strategy for bringing social into the business side of your brain:Create an Engagement Calendar.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. While planning your next season, set aside an hour to map out (on an actual calendar—digital or paper) a year of events that are related to your business, the seasons, national holidays, and annual community events and commemorations. These could include your first day of registration, Early-Bird deadlines, your registration deadline, Black Friday, the Boston Marathon, Election Day, Mother’s and Father’s Day, 9/11, and even National Ice Cream Day. You now have a loose schedule for message topics for social media.
  1. Now, look at the spaces between. Mark “New Post” at fairly regular intervals in these spaces (so that you have a post 1-2 times per week). How many “New Posts” did you come up with?
  1. Make a list with that many entries. Thinking about topics that relate to your field of business and which would be of interest to your participants, fill in at least half of your entries with these topics. Leaving some blanks allows you to work organically with this list as you come across new subject matter (i.e. articles you’d like to share) or ideas come to you (usually at the most inopportune time).
  1. Post this list where you or other team members can jot down new topics as they spring up. You can transfer these to the calendar if you want, but it might work better to just choose one from your list on “New Post” days. (Be sure to mark it off).
  1. Stay consistent but flexible with your topics. If something new and particularly relevant comes up, you can do an extra tweet or post! This list makes it more likely that you could delegate a social media post to someone else, just by pointing to the calendar.

Remember that all you have to come up with is a sentence relating to these topics! Coming up with the topics is the hardest part—and with this Engagement Calendar, you’ve done that! Keeping it simple means it’s more likely to get done.

For the ambitious: Here’s a sample Engagement Calendar for camps that builds on that basic list by including potential attachments, due dates, calls to action, owner and related costs. Engagement_Calendar.v2 Let us know how it goes!

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About Gina Calvert

Gina Calvert is the Senior Marketing Writer for ACTIVE Network, providing marketing and business resources for active lifestyle organizations across a range of markets, including government, nonprofits, camps, schools and endurance events, for more than six years.