1) Create a great bio
When people are choosing to follow your camp, they will head to your profile to check out your feed and also view your bio. Having a great, eye-catching bio could make the difference between them following you or not following you. Bios are important, but you only have 150 characters.
Start off with something descriptive yet to the point, like ‘We are a music summer camp.’ Then, follow with something fun. One idea is to throw some emojis in for your camp’s personality and then have some type of CTA (call to action), like ‘Click below to start the best summer of your life.’ Check out The Walden Schools for a great example. Feel free to follow them, too!
2) Setup Instagram Business
If you don’t use Instagram Business, DO IT NOW. There’s no need to download a new app or anything; just head to your settings then tap ‘Switch to Business Profile.’ The advantage to having Instagram Business is that it opens all kinds of great data to you. This data will be helpful to see what posts are doing well and what you should keep doing or maybe change.
It will tell you when your audience is using Instagram and what days and times you should be posting. This is helpful to get to your audience when they are on the app.
You can also create CTA button on your profiles, which is great for SEO for your website. If you are doing an event or selling a product, you can create buttons right on your profile now! There are so many reasons to get Instagram Business.
3) Develop a strategy and goals
Many of us are posting on Instagram just to post on Instagram, but there are huge advantages to setting some goals and strategy. You know us camp people...we love goals!
Setting goals can be super easy. For instance, a goal could be to schedule 5 posts for this week or get 10 followers a week. These goals can be tracked and reported. I would suggest creating more impact-oriented goals such as getting 50 people to your website from Instagram or engaging with followers 6 times a week. Set goals, report them and evaluate often.
Creating a strategy can be a bit harder and I suggest doing this as a comprehensive marketing exercise including print, digital and social mediums. Each medium should have a different strategy as your audience is different on each one.
Posting the same content on Facebook and Instagram is a start, but if you want to have a killer presence, this content should be different and each platform have a different strategy. For Instagram, your strategy should be created around your audience which is typically campers, staff and young alumni. Be visual and have a solid feed for people to follow. Also post! There’s nothing I hate more than going to a profile and seeing 6 photos from the past 6 months--there’s no way I am going to follow that account. I need to reason to follow.
4) Know your audience
Carrying on from creating your strategy is knowing your audience. As I mentioned previously, your Instagram audience is going to be campers, staff and young alum. With that build your Instagram calendar around that. Have posts directed at those audiences specifically and seek engagement. Ideas for this might look like this:
Post a group shot and ask them to comment what session they are coming this summer and who they are coming with.
Post a photo of a cabin and ask them what cabin they were in last summer.
Share memory highlight posts from last summer that only staff is know like some themed event during staff training, or the end of year banquet.
Ask them questions about the best night out they had last summer, etc.
Highlight them in more recent TBT from the past 10-15 years. Say something like ‘Check out the Coroado Backpacking trip from 2006, spot anyone you know? If so comment them below.’
Highlight a popular staff member from back in the day and have a quick Q&A with them as a video or a photo and in the caption section.
5) Share high-quality photos
Most camps will have media staff during the summer who use a DSLR. I encourage camps to only post high-quality photos and videos on Instagram. Yes, iPhone photos are getting somewhat amazing but I can still tell the difference between a high-quality photo and a bad iPhone photo. If you have the photos, use them.
Having organized digital files to key to this success for social media in the of session. You can make digital organization a required component of your media staff members’s jobs. Check out McGaw YMCA Camp Echo’s feed for an example of high-quality photos; there are very few phone photos on this feed.
6) Share high-quality videos
To have a killer Instagram feed you will also need video! I like the ratio of 3 photos for every video. Having them mixed in your feed is key to have audiences engaged and your feed looking fresh. If you have a camp photographer or media staff during the summer set a goal with them to have 100 videos by the end of the summer edited down to 15-45 seconds. Having these ready to post and scheduled for the off season will be a game changer. Don’t over think it: it doesn’t have to be anything amazing; just a stable shot of something at camp which is shot on a DSLR. These small clips also help for b-roll in larger videos like your annual campaign or informational videos.
Having a great camp Instagram should be on your marketing hit list! I truly believe in the impact this social media platform can have on your community--it can influence staff culture even bring new campers to camp. I check my Instagram maybe 100 times a day (seriously!) and, anytime I see something from my home camp on my feed, I like it and it brings a smile to my face.
If you are interested in having a review of your Instagram and giving you some free trips, send me an email! I am happy to help.