According to Sprout Social, the average business gets more engagement on Instagram than on Facebook posts. It makes sense; Instagram is a short, sweet way to show off your camp’s brand and personality. It’s also a great marketing tool because users tend to share the good things that they find on it. Plus, it’s easy for adolescents and kids to use, which helps summer camps that cater to those age groups increase their visibility.
Do you already have an account but wonder how to get more dedicated followers on Instagram? (And if your camp doesn’t have one, why not?) To enhance your presence on this incredibly popular social media platform, you’ll want to read the following tips, which will help you develop your camp’s Instagram growth strategies to better expand and nurture your online following.
1. Have a Plan, Stan.
You can use a lot of entertaining Instagram marketing strategies when you’re using Instagram for summer camps, but it’s important to come up with post ideas and implement a plan. Make sure you link your account with your Facebook business page so that you have a one stop shop for posting videos and images, captions included!
If you want to connect with campers and/or parents, consider featuring campers while camp is in session. You can then tag them and/or their parents which allows you to connect with those people on the platform (by following each other) and increases the chance the parent and camper will share your post (“regram”) – meaning your post and account information is shared with all of their followers, too! Instant marketing reach without lifting a finger or spending a dime – what’s not to love?
Other ideas for posts:
- Arrival day activities
- General camp games, fun songs, activities
- Special events, like Color Wars!
- “Camper of the day”
- Testimonials/Camper Interviews
- Counselor spotlight
- Countdown to Opening Day!
Not only do these types of posts demonstrate how personable and devoted to the campers your program is, but it also helps you promote your camp without doing much work at all. The kids will be excited to see themselves and their friends online, and they’ll be likely to share the posts with their family and friends. It’s instant word-of-mouth advertising!
2. Use the Stories feature
The Instagram Stories feature allows you to temporarily post pictures or videos that disappear within 24 hours. Why would you want to do this instead of just posting a perfectly curated photo with a caption in your regular feed?
Stories can add personality and excitement! You can include some behind-the-scenes activities or information that show potential camp families what you’re all about. You can add stickers, filters, emojis, polls and drawings to your stories to make them fun and engaging.
Plus, when people respond to your stories, they send a message directly to your inbox. This is a great way to capture a lead and start a conversation with a potential new camp family!
3. Use Hashtags often (but wisely)
It’s no surprise that hashtags are one of the keys to Instagram growth hacks. Hashtags are keywords that you can add to your post with the # symbol in front of them. These become clickable, and people use them to search for their interests. Simply Measured reports that using at least one hashtag on a post can produce almost 13 percent more engagement than using no hashtags.
To capitalize on Instagram growth strategies, you must use hashtags strategically. If your competition has a large Instagram following, check out the hashtags that they’re using. Adopting the same hashtags can get you noticed by the same potential families that notice all of those other summer camps.
You can also come up with a hashtag that’s specific to your camp. Once you do, plaster it all over the place. Use it on T-shirts, bumper stickers, magnets, and your other social media platforms. Kids and parents alike will become familiar with it and associate it with your camp’s brand.
4. Encourage Camper-Generated Content
No one likes feeling like they’re on the receiving end of a sales pitch. People, especially millennials, trust their friends and family more than advertisements. That’s why consumers are more likely to interact with a photo that’s posted by a person instead of a brand.
Ask campers and other people who have interacted with your summer camp to share photos and include your handle and identifying hashtag so that you and others can find it. One fun way to do this is to have a weekly theme. Your followers can post a photo of their favorite camp activity, craft or food. Their friends will see it and potentially click through to your account when they want to know more.
You can always repost the photo on your camp’s main account as long as you provide a photo credit and let people know where the original image was posted.
5. Hold Giveaways
One of the best ways to use giveaways to gain followers is to specify that participants follow your account and tag up to three people to enter. This generates a domino effect because people who are tagged may also want to enter the giveaway, and they’ll tag more friends and so on. Possible giveaways are: A $500 discount on next year’s camp session, branded camp gear, a back-to-school survival pack (might include a cool backpack, water bottle, pens, etc.), a GoPro camera for the best pics at camp, and more.
6. Be Active. Every. Single. Day.
Posting consistently and frequently will help you grow followers on Instagram. Later reveals that brands don’t tend to lose followers when they bump up their posting frequency. However, an inconsistent posting schedule may diminish your following.
Maintain a year-round routine that your staff can repeat regularly so that your audience (parents in particular!) knows what to expect. The posting frequency that your summer camp can consistently uphold is the best one for maximizing Instagram followers and engagement. And keep in mind that when camp ends for the summer, your Instagram posts should not! For example, you can post highlights from the summer to maintain a high level of interest, as well as reminder posts as to when Early Bird sign-ups end, next year’s session dates and rates, etc.
7. Have fun!
Camp is fun, right?! So have fun with your marketing and online engagement. If you try too hard, it’s not going to be fun for anyone, and it will be seen as fake and forced (the exact opposite of fun).
What pictures and videos do you want to take and post? Get out there and record them! Figure out what makes sense for your camp and go with it. The reason people love Instagram so much is the ability to view tons of content in a short amount of time. The most important strategy is to have fun and see what comes out! Take funny pictures, take videos of the parts of camp you love and share with your followers what you love most about your job – campers having fun, staff making campers laugh and share your passion. The more true you stay to your camp’s mission and personality online, the more authentic you will be perceived, by your followers and potential campers!
Send us a message if you think your camp’s social media presence could use a boost!