Get Connected

While it seems a large investment of time, creating individual Facebook pages and separate Twitter accounts is one of the most powerful ways to tailor content to specific groups.

Ideas include specific FAQs for each group, application links, registration information, camp policies and procedures, general updates, deadlines and other applicable material.

For campers–often more technologically savvy and passionate about their camp experience–create group photo albums via a Flickr account, then use a widget to show them as a slide show. Invite links to personal blogs on camp-related posts and camp videos, or even create an archival-type section where users can add and share camp stories (“Notes” on Facebook pages are ideal for this.)

Encourage each year’s group of campers to continue the tradition once they return home.

Share some of the more poignant stories, photos and videos on the parent page to give them an appreciation for their children’s camp experience.

The same meaningful content can enhance a staff page, where programming and alumni-association details may be of interest.

4.) Invite Opinions

Online survey sites–such as surveymonkey.com and zoomerang.com–aren’t technically considered social-media sites by themselves, but they can be a valuable asset to engaging an audience while providing valuable feedback for future efforts.

Consider a monthly survey on any relevant aspect of the camp business for particular groups. Keep surveys short for best results, and always include an option for additional thoughts where possible.

Survey content can comprise anything from programming ideas to dietary considerations to education sessions–anything where feedback can be considered.

Humans are innately wired to give their opinions when asked. That feedback can come free of charge–all while keeping your audience engaged.

5.) Build Community With Colleagues

Facebook and Twitter are different from LinkedIn, in that the former are more geared toward sharing information with a large group instantaneously. Though LinkedIn content is much less interactive, it has enormous potential to build interest and create community at a professional level.

Some ways to use LinkedIn to promote a camp include:

• Finding potential investors, sponsors or other professional-level sources of funding

• Sharing knowledge and expertise with the camping community

• Building and strengthening online industry-network relationships.

The initial investment of time and resources required to build a social-media presence may seem great, but establishing an online community will get your message out in a more timely, economical and tailored manner. Connecting and building relationships are necessities in today’s business world. Using social media will help maximize your online networking and social-media presence, and translate into real results.

Special thanks to Darlene Honigford, Social Services and Camp Director, Central Ohio Diabetes Association, for her contribution to this article.

Beth Morrow is a freelance author, educator and member of the Central Ohio Diabetes Association’s Youth Committee and Camp Leadership teams. She has served for 16 years as Senior Week program director for Camp Hamwi, a residential, age-based, week-long residential camp for diabetic youth. Reach her via e-mail at: beth@bethmorrow.com.

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