Summer Lovin’: 5 Tips For Driving Social Engagement During Camp Off-Season

February 11, 2021

2020 proved to be a very interesting year for everyone — including campers! — and, as summer 2021 rolls around, there’s hope that we all, once again, will be together in person for summer activities. And yes, for kids, that does include getting together for summer camp!

But whether you run a sleep-away camp or a day camp, you know that social engagement is difficult during the so-called “on” season — and it’s doubly difficult during the “off” season. 

So, how do you keep the kids — and their parents — engaged with your camp’s social media pages? Whether your preferred platform is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even Snapchat, here are some tips and tricks that we’ve found helpful for driving social engagement.

Create An Editorial Calendar

Editorial calendars aren’t just for blogs and magazines — they can actually help you, as a camp director or owner, engage with people in an authentic way to keep your camp’s name in the general conversation. 

Let’s say, for example, that you’d like to curate some special content in honor of Black History Month, which is in February. By showing how your camp celebrates diversity and inclusion — with things like photos, programs, and educational museum trips — you can drive social engagement effectively and authentically. What’s more, you can use the proposed content calendar to consider what content to collect during the summer, when camp is back in session!

Drive Social Engagement With Curated Content

Summer is the perfect opportunity to take pictures, tag the stand-out campers and your favorite brands, and drive social engagement. But are you making it easy to re-use some of the best photos throughout the year? 

Popular trending hashtags like #TBT or #ThrowbackThursday — where you can share photos from the recent (or distant!) past — are great to use on both Twitter and Instagram, and can easily help integrate your camp into an organic and wholesome conversation.  

Remember: social media is a great place to meet new friends and share new stories, but it’s also a useful — and free! — sales funnel. Think of every single person who visits, follows, and engages with your camp as a potential customer, and think of what you’d want them to know about your camp to “seal the deal” going forward. 

Remember The Ultimate Goal: To Drive Engagement

Further along the lines of using social media as a free and effective sales funnel, remember that the ultimate goal of your professional social media accounts is to drive social engagement.  In addition to participating in trending topics and hashtags, there are a number of other ways to authentically engage with your existing audience as well as increase your follower count. For example:

  • Ask your followers a question. The best way to do this is to include the question in the caption of your photo. Keep the questions topical and wholesome — “when you were a child, what were your favorite summer camp activities?” and “what’s your favorite BBQ food?” — and avoid controversial and politically-charged questions. 
  • Share candid photos, not photos of scenery. Some experts believe that candid photos get up to three times more social engagement than photos of scenery. While there are a number of reasons why this is so, the general idea is that people like personal and authentic photos rather than impersonal photos of landscapes that could have been taken by anyone, anywhere, and at any time. 
  • Run contests! You don’t have to promise thousands of dollars in prizes — sometimes, just a simple promise of a photo share for the winner is enough to get people engaged. These photo contests will give you a clue as to what your followers prefer to engage with, as well. 

Keep Engaging With Your Audience

In the past, many social media accounts were automated. Posts were scheduled, then went live, and it was otherwise forgotten about. But that “set it and forget it” mentality not only proved to be ineffective, but it can now cause your content to be “struck down” on such platforms as Twitter and Instagram, where engagement is key to relevance. 

And while some automation of your social media is acceptable — especially if your camp has a bigger following — the only way to drive social engagement is to be socially engaged. 

Some simple and cost-effective ways to engage with your followers include, but aren’t limited to, the following:

  • Commenting on Instagram photos.
  • “Liking” Instagram photos.
  • Retweeting Tweets that mention your camp. 
  • Commenting on Facebook posts.
  • Tagging followers in Snapchat posts. 
  • Sharing followers’ photos to your Instagram stories.

These simple, effective steps will not only keep your followers engaged with you, but will make them feel “special” and more likely to not only further engage with you, but to encourage their friends and family to do so…and, of course, will make them more likely to sign up for your summer camp, as well!

Have A Killer Photo Management Platform

One of the best ways to drive social engagement is, of course, to have a killer photo management platform like Waldo. 

Waldo provides all the photos your campers and their families want to see via text or app notification directly to their phone via Waldo’s proprietary facial-recognition technology which does the sifting, sorting and sending!! 

How does this benefit your social media engagement? That’s simple. When families are getting their stacks of needles out of your stack of hay, delivered directly to their phones, their engagement with your content increases. And when their engagement increases and they are only a tap away from posting to Facebook via the Waldo app, their posts increase dramatically. 

But when that amazing photo hits their feed, how do their followers know the camper is at your camp vs one of your competitors? Simple. Waldo places your camp’s logo on every photo as a brand filter and embeds your hashtag automatically in their post. This will drive more social engagement for your camp and turn your photos into digital billboards far beyond your own Facebook page. 

It’s time for all camps, large and small, to embrace their content as their #1 marketing asset and to turn their camper moms and dads into the megaphones on social media that their camp needs to grow.

So, if you’re ready to get started with us, contact Waldo Photos today and let’s talk about how we can help your summer camp drive social engagement throughout the year!