I've always felt social media marketing and summer camp marketing were made for each other. And when you really think about it, haven't camp directors ALWAYS been social media marketers, even before that fancy term was coined?
If "social media marketing" is about having conversations and connecting with your customers and prospects on a personal level, seems to me like we've been social media marketers all along.
I don't remember where I heard this, or even who said it, but I was reading a magazine article a few weeks ago where the author called social media marketing "conversational marketing."
Wouldn't you agree that "conversational marketing" is nothing more than talking with customers and prospects, listening to their feedback, and earning their trust so they'll sign up for camp and tell all their friends?
And haven't you ALWAYS marketed your camp that way?
Before "social media marketing" was all the rage, maybe you were one of the lucky ones. Maybe families flocked to you like white-on-rice and registered for your program sight unseen without speaking a single word to you.
But more than likely, I'll bet it took a little more work. I'll bet it took some talking, coddling, and even some ass-kissing on your part before prospects warmed up to you and trusted you with their kids, right?
The Internet - and Facebook and Twitter in particular - are just new tools camp directors can use to market our camps. In the past, maybe we used the telephone; today we use our blogs.
But we're still communicating with prospects and customers on the same basic level for the same basic purpose. At it's core, the most effective summer camp marketing involves making connections with families on a personal basis so they'll feel comfortable sending their kids to our camps.
That's how it was before, and that's how it is today.
The fact is, you and I have been using "social media marketing" to fill our camps forever. Now there's just a fancy new name for it.