Campground Social Media Course
Who Are We And How/Why Can We Help?
We’re a bunch of RVers who happen to be social media nerds. In fact, the company was started, built and managed all from an RV. Or rather, from RVs, as we’ve grown our team of campers who are social media experts.
Last year we were able to reach over 50 Million Campers on Facebook for our RV Dealership Clients. We have duplicated that system for Campgrounds, put it to the test and proven the system works over and over again. Now it’s up to you, if you stick with this strategy YOU WILL increase sales! Let us know if at any point you have a question or hit a challenge we might be able to help you overcome.
Through a little bit of strategy, and a lot of consistency, you’ll be able to create a powerful marketing tool that can generate incredible revenue for your campground.
The goal of this course is simple: to increase sales. For you that might be:
- Increasing new campers during camping season
- Increasing off-season campers
- Retaining customers to keep them coming back to you for years
Marketing is Simple
As time passes, the channels and avenues of marketing we use change. Marketing however is simple and the concept stays the same; wherever the eyes and ears are, that’s where you want to be. You are in the game of getting attention. Always keep that in the back of your mind.
Society has changed in a big way in how we consume things. Let’s look at a few traditional ways we’ve chosen to spend our time and how it’s changed.
- TV: more cord cutters now than ever because there are things like Netflix and Hulu where we can consume what we want, when we want. My father-in-law who swore he would never get rid of cable told me a few days ago he’s going to make the move and cut his $204 cable bill by more than half! Same channels, watch when he wants, at less cost…
- Radio: with things like Pandora, radio is becoming obsolete. Again, let’s look at my father-in-law. Pandora is connected to his phone, and that’s what he uses.
- Billboards: People are barely looking at the road because they’re stuck in their phones! They’re really not looking at your billboard.
- Newspapers/Magazines: Let’s be real. This is a dead industry. You can get real time news from whatever source you want.
How Do You Sell?
We have to remember why people use social media. People are ONLY logging into social media to be either entertained or educated. They DO NOT want to be “sold” to.
So if you’re not supposed to advertise, how do you sell?
We’ve found that it’s effective to post 80% of the content being “lifestyle” content; entertainment and education.
When you give someone what they want to consume 80% of the time on social media, they don’t mind being advertised to 20%. Mix that ratio with a good “offer/value” and we’ll get sales.
Content is the basis of social media marketing. You may have heard the phrase, “Content is King”. Without it, you won’t be able to be seen online. But with it, you can captivate, connect and SELL!
If you’re posting content that people don’t want to consume (FB can tell by their algorithm), they will minimize how many people see it. Conversely if your content is great, they’ll allow more people to see it.
What type of content is best?
The most important thing you could do in regard to content is have a schedule. This is where you identify the types of posts you’re going to do that month so that you can strategically plan your attack.
Brainstorm every single reason someone might want to camp with you and write it down. Then, on a separate list, identify the top 10 reasons people would want to camp with you.
Put these into the schedule. Then we need to either make sure we have content to fill the schedule, or we need to create it.
You’ll be happy to know you don’t have to create this content each month. Once you have a good inventory of content, you can recycle it and just create a small amount consistently each month to add to the pool.
If content is key, context is the queen. Captions add context to all of your posts. It’s where you can shape the narrative of your brand.
Features vs. Benefits
Features tell, but benefits sell. Make sure that when you create a post about a feature, you bring up the benefits. Here are a few examples:
- A playground is the feature: being able to spend quality time with kids in a safe environment is the benefit.
- Hiking trails are the feature: being able to explore and connect with nature is the benefit.
- Boat rentals are the feature: allowing customers the flexibility to enjoy boating without the hassle or cost of bringing a boat.
- Full hookups are the feature: a comfortable stay is the benefit.
- Pull through sites are the feature: allowing rigs of all sizes are the benefit.
There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re creating content. It’s not difficult or time-consuming to take a few extra steps and create professional-looking content.
- Lighting is key. Make sure the subject is well lit.
- Be stable. Use a tripod, practice holding steady.
- If the audio is bad, don’t post it. People will put up with less quality video but they won’t put up with bad sound.
- Rule of thirds. Make sure your subject isn’t directly in the middle of your photo. Position them slightly off to one of the sides sort of splitting the frame into thirds.
- What to capture. Zoomed in, medium shot and zoomed out shot, events, amenities, etc. We have an entire outline of examples of things to capture.
Get Campers to Give You Content
One way to get content is to ask for it. Ask people when they check in to share a photo of something they like to your page. Take those and post them onto your page as content and save them in a file to continue to re-purpose.
Have an incentive for your customers to share a pic on their Facebook page and tag you in it. This is word of mouth advertising on steroids as the picture of their campsite will go out to their friends and family who also have similar interests in camping and the outdoors.
Each piece of content that you take should be viewed as an asset. It can be repurposed and reused on the same platforms potentially multiple times per year.
Win/Win Content Arrangements
There’s no way around it, you NEED content. Even if you’re going to handle content internally, it’s still a great idea to bring in a fresh perspective and the creativity of a content creator. That way you can get a different “style” of content and build up a large inventory of relatively timeless content.
A couple of examples:
- Allowing a full-time travel blogger, photographer or Youtuber to stay at the campground for 2-4 weeks to capture content.
- Having a local high school or college student who’s trying to get into photography to come out and for $100 you can get A LOT of content. In fact I recommend hosting a photographers meetup for a local hike or adventure and their entrance fee is everyone has to send over their favorite pics to you.
If you can tug on people’s emotions, you’ll increase your effectiveness exponentially. People take action to either move towards pleasure or move away from pain. Here are a few social/emotional triggers to implement in your posts.
Fear of Loss – of missing out on enjoyment and a better life
Urgency/Scarcity – limited time offer or going to fill up quick
Jones Effect – people like you camp here
Story – could be of families meeting from all generations each year, could be someone who stopped in for a night or weekend and realized they landed in a great spot. Interviewing real people at the campground would be a massive piece of content. It’s all about the lighting and keeping the camera stable.
Funny – Funny videos like the lawn mower vs an RVer.
Curiosity – 13 best reasons to camp here. Things about current events
You Need an Offer
You’re never going get the results you’re looking for without a compelling offer. You’ve got to ask for the sale with an incentive. This doesn’t always have to be a discount, but there has to be value in the offer.
This is the most powerful social media channel and by far the most effective for campgrounds. The majority of your efforts should be on Facebook.
How Often Should We Post?
Generally speaking, the more you post, the more people you’ll reach. However, there are some guidelines, and we need to look at things from Facebook’s perspective.
Facebook ultimately needs to keep their stock price going up. So let’s reverse engineer how that happens. To do that they need to sell ads. To sell ads they need people to be on their newsfeed as much as possible. To get people to stay on their newsfeed often and for a long time, they need to give people the type of content they want to consume. In short, people need to enjoy their user experience.
If we spam people by posting too much, Facebook will minimize your reach. However, keep in mind that Facebook only allows roughly 3-8% of the people that follow you to see an individual post. For a post to land in someone’s news feed Facebook has analyzed over 10,000 pieces of information to figure out if it’s something they would want to consume. If you don’t post enough, you miss out on a marketing opportunity.
The goal is to maximize the amount of opportunities we have to post without hitting that threshold of over-posting. We’ve found that anywhere from 3-5 posts per day is best.
There are a few ways to increase your followers on Facebook.
- The easiest is to pay for them with Ads to gain “Likes”. We have an entire section on this below.
- Invite family and friends to like and share your content.
- Another incredibly powerful tactic is to invite the people who like and engage with your posts.
Make sure you check your comments and interact with people that comment with your content. Often you’ll notice that you will get a loyal Facebook group of people interacting with your posts. These are important ambassadors spreading the word of mouth about your campground.
Even the negative comments are important for a number of reasons.
- Facebook wants to see all comments responded to in their algorithm.
- People expect that a business will have a certain percentage of negative comments/reviews. How you respond to this is what’s important. They want to know that if they camp with you and have an issue, you’re going to address it.
You can think of “posting” to your timeline as building a bonfire and doing Facebook Ads as fireworks. They grab attention for miles around but they’re also expensive and burn out fairly quickly. The goal is to use fireworks (Ads) to bring people to the bonfire (figuratively and literally). Once they are hanging out online with you (following your page), you’ll have opportunities to market to them.
One of the main reasons Facebook Ads are out-performing most other forms of marketing is the targeting that’s available. Think of traditional marketing channels (TV, radio, billboards, etc): they’re usually a shotgun approach where you “spray and pray”.
It’s blasted out to a general group of people, and you’re hoping that a certain percentage of people that see your ad will be qualified to purchase. The challenge is that you’re paying to reach everyone.
Wouldn’t you rather just pay to get your message in front of the EXACT customer you’d like to attract? That’s what Facebook Ads offers.
If there are certain attractions, events or amenities your campground offers, you can hone in your targeting and run campaigns to attract these people.
- A mountain biker wants to camp somewhere with bike trails
- A climber wants to camp near a rock wall
- A concertgoer wants to stay nearby when their favorite band is in town
- A fisherman/woman wants to camp near great fishing
You can see how this list could get LONG and DETAILED. The more you dial down on the details of your exact customer, the more effective you’ll be. You may even want to take a poll and ask some current customers why they enjoy staying with you. You might even be surprised at some of their responses.
Types Of Ads
Facebook ads are the most effective form of marketing today. Remember marketing is simple, where the eyes and ears are is where you want to be. So not only are your prospects on Facebook, but it’s still a relatively untapped marketing channel for campgrounds, which means it’s INEXPENSIVE!
There are 4 main types of ads you’ll want to run.
Likes: This is to extend your local reach by getting more people to follow you. Once someone follows you, you’re able to consistently market to them at no cost.
Specific Actions: Want them to ACT NOW to book a campsite with you? Maybe you have a flash sale for an upcoming weekend you want to fill, maybe there’s an event you’re hosting and you have premium sites available at a discount if they book now, whatever the specific action you’re looking for is what you can achieve with this powerful ad campaign.
Branding: Let people know who and where you are, what type of people stay with you and what experience can they expect. General ads for a general audience often gets you on their radar for the next time they’re in the market for your product/service.
Video Ads: So powerful! You’re able to create specific videos for specific niches of campers and as I’m outlining in the next segment, you can then retarget to them.
Want to know what the big boy marketing teams do that separates them from amateurs? Retargeting on Facebook Ads. For example you can set it up where if someone watches 75% of one of your video ads you will be able to retarget them and drop another video into their newsfeed to dive further into the details of why that individual should go camping with you OR give them an additional offer to sweeten the deal.
Instagram is one of the largest and most effective social media platforms today. It’s also owned by Facebook. You can think of it as a modern-day photo album.
It’s fantastic for campgrounds because people primarily login to Instagram as a form of escapism. Help them escape virtually and then give them an offer to escape with a camping getaway.
How Often To Post
Every other day is a good frequency to post. If you don’t have that much content, it’s more about being consistent and minimizing big spaces in posting that you want to avoid. If you have plenty of content, post every day!
Get a MASSIVE list of all the local hashtags possible around your area. This is a very important step so put a good amount of time into it. You want to be visible on all these hashtags. Keep in mind that hashtags are critical on Instagram, but you won’t want to add them on Facebook.
You could take it a step and add in some camping hashtags to attract people nationwide.
The best way to get quality followers:
First, make sure you have at least 10 posts so it looks like you have an active page.
Find a local dealership or other campground in your area and start following their followers. Instagram lets you do around 75 per day so this is a marathon. If you follow too many people in a burst they will block you for 24 hours for misusing the platform.
Keep going down the list until you’ve followed the entire list. Instagram also likes it when you clean up your follows. So if you’re onto the next dealership/competitor, go back and unfollow people you’ve followed in the past. This also helps with perception so you aren’t following 15k people but have only 1k followers.
Youtube is the 2nd most used search engine in the world (behind Google). Guess what? They are owned by Google. So making sure that you have videos up on this platform that people can find when they google camping in your area is key.
There are two questions people are going to have when they’re thinking about the campground. What’s it look like, and what will the activities look like. They want to be able to visualize the experience that they would have if they are booking a campsite through you.
Start with creating a general sales video that highlights the main features and benefits of your campground.
You can dive deep into a specific amenity or benefit and create videos based on that benefit. These videos should also be repurposed on Facebook.
Another thing that you may want to do is create virtual tours of specific campsites. If you have some very desirable campsites, showcase them with a tour. Of course, you’ll also want to drop other benefits of the campground in this type of video.
Local partnerships/relationships can be a game changer. Once the relationship is built, often you can get consistent referrals from quality partners.
Another way to make this effective is to find an RV Dealership or other local influencer with a large following on Facebook. Have them host a contest for a FREE weekend of camping at your local campground. Let them know they need to promote it and boost the post with a budget of at least $50-100 to be effective. If they already have a big following they could do it for almost no ad spend and you’re piggy backing off of the efforts they’ve put in to gain that following of your ideal customer.
Examples Of Groups To Partner With
- RV Dealerships
- Local fishing guides and other outfitters are great to partner with.
- Boy Scouts or religious organizations.
- Find hiking/photography groups or some other groups around town to connect with and let them know you have hiking/kayaking whatever the groups activity is that your campsite accommodates.
- If there is a local restaurant that has a great reviews and food that is an attraction, do a giveaway when someone books from Facebook. Have the restaurant post about you also.
- Give the local news people a unique story from you. Be their eyes and ears when there’s crazy weather or things going on in the camping world.
FREE WEEKEND Of Camping
Give away a FREE weekend of camping on Facebook. The way we do it is do a post announcing the contest. To enter, someone has to like the page and share the post. If you want to inject some steroids into the post, a $50 ad boost would get some serious reach. Even without the boost, it has the potential to be explosive. We’ll tag local influencers in the comments to get them to share it as well.
Local events either in town or at your campground can be a big draw for many people. Here’s an example of an in-house event.
Sunday Drive Sundae
When I was staying at the newly opened North Myrtle Beach RV Resort, I noticed that we had a ton of people creeping on us. They would drive through the campground to check it out. A great way to capitalize on this traffic is to call them out online and encourage people to creep.
Have them swing in and get a free ice cream sundae. While they are getting the ice cream in the office, have the person who’s serving them have a 15-30 second pitch of the highlights they need to check out while they’re visiting. Also, point out that if they book a 3+ day stay with you TODAY, they get a 4th day FREE (or whatever offer you want to give).
Reviews are a powerful tool that can be used for or against your business. Studies show that when you keep your Facebook Reviews at a 4 or higher, it helps the customer have a favorable feeling towards your brand. Conversely, a rating lower than a 4 hurts your sales.
You can repurpose comments and reviews for content to share recent happy campers.
Some frequently asked questions.
Linking Facebook & Instagram
Don’t do this. Hashtags shouldn’t be used on Facebook. I would highly suggest not linking the two.
Hashtags On Facebook
Do not use hashtags on Facebook. They are effective on Instagram but work against you on Facebook.
Do I need other software? No.
We utilize some software online to to help us manage so many social media accounts. Nothing that we use is needed, and posting directly to the social media platform is best in most situations.
We do, however, recommend using Canva. It’s free online software that allows you to easily and quickly create professional-looking content.
Fiverr.com is a website we often use, and we recommend it for specific needs you have. You can find great creators to come up with commercials and other forms of content for your business.
Additional Topics for Content Creation w/ Real Life Examples
Click here to see a compilation of REAL Social Media Posts in the RV/Camping Industry.
If you have any questions about something we haven’t covered, give us a call/text or email and we’ll get right back to you!