You’re pursuing your mission, working to provide exceptional experiences that make positive impacts on children and youth. We know that converting inquiries into enrolment is crucial to achieving that mission. However, navigating Facebook for camp marketing as part of your overall marketing strategy can be overwhelming and time-consuming. That’s why we’ve created this guide to Facebook for camps.
Camp is all about experiences. The experiences for attendees as they learn and develop. The experience of being in nature. The experience of creating new friendships and lasting memories. The experience for parents as they see their child grow and develop through camp.
Ultimately, experiences start with engagement. More than ever, that engagement is happening online and on social media.
We’ve heard our clients tell us that they’re finding it harder than ever to build engagement with their target audiences on Facebook. They’ve also told us they know Facebook is an integral part of their channel strategy.
Platform Profile: The Status Update on Facebook
Facebook boasts over 2.4 billion Monthly Active Users (MAU), and when you include their entire family of apps—Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Facebook—that number jumps to 2.7 billion.
That might seem like a lot, but the MAU number doesn’t tell the whole story. After facing a deluge of public scrutiny, Facebook has experienced a dip when it comes to user engagement. Users are spending less time on the platform, and teens especially are opting for other platforms like Instagram. Combine this with recent changes to Facebook’s Newsfeed algorithm—which prioritizes personal interactions instead of branded content—and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for brands to have success without investing money into paid media.
What’s the difference between paid, earned, and owned media?
Paid media is any paid advertising, which includes social ads and paid influencers.
Owned media examples include your branded Facebook & Instagram Business Pages, and your original content like photographs and testimonials from previous campers.
Earned media consists of media coverage, mentions, shares reviews, and any other third-party brand engagement that is unpaid. An effective social media content strategy leverages all three of these components.
You might be wondering if Facebook is still relevant for camp marketing? Interestingly, Facebook is still dominant with millennials and older demographics, and the platform is still growing users (with most of the growth coming from outside North America). This presents some exciting opportunities for camps.
For camps wanting to attract attendees from around the world—wherever your camp is located—Facebook can help you spread your message to decision-making parents across the globe. Whether you’re a youth leadership camp in the USA wanting to increase your ratio of international students or an activity-focused camp in Europe that is looking to attract attendees from a close geographic area, Facebook can work for you.
Here’s what else is super-advantageous about marketing on Facebook: since Facebook owns Instagram, you also have streamlined access to run simultaneous paid advertising through both platforms. As mentioned above, Instagram is where youth are increasingly spending their time on social media. By marketing on Facebook you can effectively target your two key target audiences, parents and their children!
With the right strategy and some tips on how to make the best use of all three types of media, Facebook can still be an advantageous channel to engage your key audiences to increase camp registrations and positively impact ROI.
So, how can you implement the best strategy for marketing success on Facebook? It starts with content.
Content How-To Without the Hype
As a Camp Director or Owner, you’ve already heard the line, “content is king.” However, crafting a content strategy that gets you results is more abstract than a simple statement.
Owned & Organic Media
Here is your chance for your camp to shine. All of your owned and organic media on Facebook presents opportunities to highlight your unique brand, engage in two-way conversations, and attract your ideal audience.
Here are two key considerations when thinking about the owned and organic content for your camp.
Posting Schedules & Calendar
As experts in Facebook Marketing for Camps, what we can tell you is this: the most important thing when considering your organic posting schedule is to understand your audience and the type of content they will view as high-quality. When is your audience online? What is their daily routine? When during the year will parents be registering their kids for camp? Do they engage more with videos of group activities or photographs of campers?
To better understand your audience and how they use Facebook, use Facebook Audience Insights. Using this tool, you can analyze two principal groups of people: the fans of your page, and all users on Facebook.
For example, if you’re looking to learn more about the interests and behaviors of parents with pre-teens living in New York State, this tool can provide you with some significant insight. >>Click Here to go to Audience Insights
Even more importantly for your camp is the buying cycle. You are selling a summer camp program, which means you can only monetize during a short season. During the programs, you’ve got a lot of content to share. You’re focused on building your camp brand and highlighting camper experiences and stories. However, once the programs are over, you shift focus on selling for the next summer, and you may struggle to find content to post.
A tip we can offer for your annual content calendar is to develop a stockpile of content during program months. Stockpiling content and spreading it throughout the year will allow you to maintain a regular, consistent presence on social media; sharing stories and creating meaningful emotional connections. Then, when registrations open again, you’ll already have an engaged fan base to communicate with.
Video: On-Demand and In-Demand
Video is fast-becoming the most engaging content type on social media, especially for camps focused on experiences and storytelling. Video can spread your message and give both parents and campers a real feel for your camp in an easy-to-consume format. Live and uploaded video should be a central part of your owned (and paid) content mix.
If you need help with crafting video, we have a well-tested process and solid track record in helping with school and camp video production.
Having one of your engaged fans or brand advocates raving to their social networks about your camp is invaluable. When someone posts an exceptional recommendation about your camp, this helps to build trust and awareness.
SUCCESS TIP: You can more finely retarget engaged page fans, and even website visitors, with numerous paid advertising strategies. Installing Facebook Pixel on your website lets you create custom audiences of visitors who took specific actions on your website—like those who downloaded your registration form or those who visited your pricing & camp dates page. Pixel also allows you to track conversions and accurately attribute registrations and leads to your Facebook ads. Check out the section on paid media below to learn more.
There are several ways to increase the amount of earned media you gain on Facebook. Here are a couple of quick wins:
- Encourage Recommendations: Use other marketing channels, like email, to encourage parents and even past attendees to leave you a recommendation on Facebook.
- Keep an Eye on Mentions and Comments: The most important thing to remember here is that Facebook is inherently a two-way communication channel. Always respond to comments and mentions by checking the Notifications and Messages tabs on your Business Page. Imagine having an interested parent asking about registrations or payment options, and then to receive no response from the camp–that’s essentially a lost registration.
Your Secret to Success: Paid Media & Facebook Advertising
Owned and Earned Media is just the tip of the iceberg. The real bulk of Facebook lay underneath the surface, in its advertising capabilities. On all counts, this goes far deeper than boosted posts.
You can create multiple ad types. Lead form ads to directly build your parent email list or gain pre-registrations. Instant Experience ads that provide an immersive mobile experience and tell your camp story with video, photos, and writing. Pair that with ad objectives that span parents’ entire buying cycle, and you’ve got a winning formula.
Where Facebook advertising for camps is truly compelling is in its retargeting and audience capabilities.
Know Your Audience: Retargeting & Audiences
Facebook Pixel (mentioned above), is one of the can’t-go-without tools available for camps using Facebook Ads. A general rule in marketing has always been that your brand needs to touch a potential customer multiple times before they’ll make a purchase decision. Retargeting with Facebook Pixel lets you do just that.
There are three key benefits to using Facebook Pixel:
- Reach People on Facebook who have visited your website, have downloaded a registration form, or those who have visited a program-specific page on your site
- Measure conversions and directly attribute online camp registrations to Facebook Ads
- By better understanding your audiences, and the people most likely to buy from you, Facebook can better deliver your ads to to the parents and youth most likely to engage with your camp
Beyond Facebook Pixel, you can create other audiences using ads manager. There are three types of audiences you can create for effective advertising:
- Custom audiences: These are audiences created using Facebook Pixel. Add to this that you can create custom audiences by uploading email lists, segmenting parents who’ve engaged with your content on Facebook, or even creating an audience of parents that have used your app.
- Saved Audiences: Saved audiences are those highly-targeted audiences you can create using Facebook Ads Manager. This audience type allows you to segment based on geographics, demographics, behaviours, and much more. You could effectively target parents between 35-50 years-old, with pre-teen children, who are interested in youth camps and are in an income range to afford summer camp fees.
- Lookalike Audiences: As the name suggests, you can create lookalike audiences from customer or attendee lists, and custom audiences. This audience type can help you find new parents and campers who are similar to your actual customers and previous attendees.
We’ll Help You With Facebook Ads
After reading through this article, we hope that you’re encouraged about the possibility of Facebook marketing for camps. When used strategically, and when paid media is a part of your strategy, Facebook can prove highly beneficial to boost camp registrations and positively impact ROI.
We know you’ve got a lot on your plate: you’re running a camp, building programs, and creating experiences for attendees. Add to that the website you need to maintain and the email marketing you are managing.
World Schools was built to help camps like yours succeed. We are a boutique marketing agency wholly dedicated to schools and camps and can provide effective Facebook Ad Management for Camps. When you’ve got professionals on your side that deeply understand Facebook advertising, you’ll realize increased conversions and registrations.
Contact us today, and let’s start a conversation about how we can help you use Facebook to its fullest!