Diagramming Your Social Media Strategy

social_media_playbook_camps

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.

1 Picture of camp = 5,730 likes and 1,558 comments in 1 hour

Lebron James runs a basketball camp.  I know that might not come as shock to people that “The King” uses his celebrity to promote a sports camp as he does Nike, Sprite, McDonald’s, State Farm Insurance, Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, and his own cartoon show “The LeBron’s”, but the story here is less about Lebron’s fame as it is about social medias appetite for content surrounding activities they love and want to participate in and the network effect it creates. 

Recently Lebron posted a picture of him at his basketball camp along with a link to the camps website to sign up for camp.

Within less than 1 hour there were over 5,700 likes and 1,800 comments about the picture and Lebron’s camp. Now here is where the network effect comes in… the average facebook user has 130 friends in their network and  when they “liked” or commented on this picture their entire network was notified, extending the reach to another 947,744 people, bringing the total number of people engaged to over 1 million.

Put this network effect to work for your camp, share pictures and stories of what’s going on at your camp with links to access your website and registration pages. By the way If you happen to have Lebron James or another famous athlete at your camp, be sure to include them as well.

People are talking about your camp!

More and more people are using Twitter to start and join conversations about subjects that matter to them.  They share stories, ask questions or just say whats on their mind and they could be talking about your camp or whats important to your camp.

Twitter has a basic search function that allows for you to search out subject matter or #tags but did you know that their is an entire search engine built to search tweets?


Twitter Search is a search engine built specifically for Twitter. Advanced search options allow you to search words, people, dates and even attitudes or if someone is asking a question.  You can even narrow your search to within 15 mile of a city or location.

Try it out, search for people talking about your camp or maybe summer camp in general. Look for questions about camp, join the conversation and let the network effect start to work for you!

“We don’t do Facebook”

I was speaking with a camp last week about their marketing and promotional efforts.  They are a traditional overnight camp in the Northeast that is struggling a bit to fill sessions that in the past were at capacity by this time of year.

I asked them about social media and their answer was “We don’t do Facebook.”  In an effort to understand better why a camp wouldn’t be using free media outlets such as facebook and twitter to share their story I pushed on, Why not? Had you in the past? Do you have a personal Facebook page?

It turned out for this camp they had put Facebook and Twitter in the “fad” category and were not sure it was going to stick around so why bother investing the time necessary to learning what is needed to get started. 

Here are couple quick stats regarding Facebook:

There are more than 500 Million active users on Facebook.

The average user has over 130 Friends.

People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook.

One of fastest growing groups on Facebook are mothers.

No one knows if Facebook will be around forever but for now it sure looks to be a great place start a network to share your camps story.

Here is a link that will walk you though the step by step process needed to get started on Facebook.

http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-set-up-a-facebook-page

Here’s to a great camp season!

– Anthony

Ask them to “Like” you

Most camps spend resources on marketing, often using traditional media sources such as local newspapers, magazines or direct mail campaigns, others will branch out and use their camp alumni to help recruit new campers.  (Camp Alleghany Best Practices)

As we are entering the new “Thank You Economy” camps should look to what opportunities are available to increase exposure and campers through their social media outlets such as Facebook.   The key here is not just to get them to see your Facebook page but to “like” your Facebook page.    This “like” will in turn allow you to share continued content with your new “fan” through their Facebook wall.  

Traditional media outlets such as direct mail or print have a one-time shot to grab the reader’s interest, Facebook allows you multiple opportunities to engage your audience with several mediums such as pictures, videos, stories and more.   Large companies such as Taco Bell have used free products to earn “likes” on Facebook recognizing that getting to reach out to a core group of customers over and over again for free has a very real value.

Camps can run “like us “ campaigns through their existing Facebook fan base by asking them to “share” the site with others, their mailing lists by encouraging “likes” on Facebook with offers of camp merchandise or discounts or by just word of mouth.  Be sure to run campaigns like these for limited times so not to fatigue your audience.   

By Anthony Owens

Anthony is a Social Media Advocate,  Account Executive for the Active Networks Camps division and Founder of LetsTalkCamp.com. Feel free to contact him @ anthony.owens@active.com

Do your camp staff have rights to post what they want on social media sites?

Helping organizations like summer camps and recreation department determine their social media strategy and write their social media policies are the questions I get the most.  Here is a post by Maggie McGary that will have you considering the rights of your employees.  In The Other Side of Social Media Policies–Employee’s Rights, Maggie notes that perhaps employees cannot be fired or disciplined for blogging about “wages, hours, or terms or conditions of employment,” such as the company’s pay scale or vacation policy. As with any employment policy, you should check with your legal department and state laws.

2113753499 d186efa8dd b 300x225 Do your camp staff have rights to post what they want on social media sites?

I still think summer camps can help our teenage staff with the life skills of social media in the work place. If you are looking for case studies to stimulate conversation, here is an article that may be useful: A CEO’s Dilemma: Should I Take My Burning Man Pics off Facebook?

photo credit: maritimeunion