Social media has long been touted as the golden goose of the marketing world. With the right strategy, planning, and execution, your social channels can be an amazing medium to connect, inspire and engage with your ideal audience.
But there’s one major problem that some clubs fail to take into account: your club has two audiences (at minimum). Every club needs to speak to both current members and potential members.
Many club marketers make the mistake of trying to use the same posts to engage with both audiences, but the truth is that it can cause a lot of confusion to talk to both of these audiences in different ways on the same channel. And if you're confusing potential members, that won't end well.
So what’s a club to do? Here are three easy steps you can take to separate your audiences, connect with them appropriately, and even boost your content to increase membership prospects.
Step One: Create a Closed Facebook Group for Your Current Members
Your current members absolutely want a place to connect with each other and the group of other members. They want a place to see upcoming events, photos from their recent events and find someone to fill their foursome next Thursday. And these are all conversations for your club to help facilitate.
The problem with Facebook pages is that communication only really goes one direction. It’s a broadcast platform, not an engagement platform.
Creating a group for your members will allow you to post things that are member-only events and information in a platform that’s already part of most people’s daily life.
A few things to consider:
If you don’t have time to manage both a group and your main social pages, you may want to nominate a member to keep up on posting and managing your Member Group.
Set specific rules about what group members are allowed to post in this type of group. For example course photos, events and golf-related posts may be allowed, but garage sales and job postings might not be. Make sure that you have clear rules and someone whose job it is to enforce them.
Step Two: Choose Your Target Audience for Social and Share Interesting Content
Once you’ve created your Members Group, you can start clearing your main pages of some of the things that make them feel cluttered and unfocused.
But before you start posting new content, it’s important to understand who your target audience will be. Remember, it was hard to keep track of several different audiences on your Facebook page before, so it’s important that you don’t fall into the same trap again.
Spend some time thinking (really thinking) about who your club wants to target:
- Is it retirees who have serious time to dedicate to playing the game?
- What about young families who are looking for a way to spend time together outside of the house?
- How about young singles and couples who are looking for like-minded people and a place to find group experiences together?
You might be thinking “but I want all of these people to join my club”. That may be true, but you’ll be much more effective in connecting with people if you pick a clear focus. Think about what your club does really well and what differentiates you from other clubs in your area and focus on these things.
Once you’ve decided on your focus area, it’s time to create and curate helpful and interesting content that will resonate with that audience. Focus on sharing stories and helping that audience see themselves as part of the bigger story that’s happening at your club.
Does your club have the largest league of 55+ golfers in the city? Have your retired golfers improved their game by spending time with your golf professional? Why someone would want to spend their newfound free time hanging out at your club?
Does your club offer extensive kid’s golf programming or weekend family activities? How has your club helped families to connect and get away from the busyness of life? Why would someone want to choose to invest in a club instead of the myriad of other sports activities for kids? How can parents get away without having to pay for a babysitter?
What kinds of experiences does your club offer young couples and singles? How often do you host events? What does the current membership look like? Would that person fit in with the culture?
These are all stories, stories that you can share. These are stories your members already know because they live them every single day. But these are the stories your potential members are anxious to hear.
Think of your social media channels as the destination for potential members to get a peek inside what it looks like to join your tribe.
Phase Three: Fuel Your Stories to Get More Reach
Traditionally, private clubs (especially 501C7 clubs) have strayed away from doing any and every kind of advertising for fear of being too promotional. But sharing club culture and stories and making information accessible is not advertising.
After you create interesting and unique stories that focus on your target audience for your club, utilize platforms like Instagram and Facebook to boost your posts and get them in front of more people.
We recently worked with a private club to capture more than 90 new membership prospects in less than a month, simply by creating an ad campaign that showcased what made their club stand above other clubs in their area.
Unlike traditional Facebook Ads, your boosted posts can lead to pages or blogs on your website that feature stories of families, members or tournaments at your club and show the story of membership instead of selling it.
Here’s your recipe for success:
Be specific when targeting location, demographics, and interests of people that would be interested in your club.
Boost posts that have a compelling story and a clear action for the reader to take if they are interested in more information.
Follow up with your new leads in a timely fashion when they reach out, but don’t give up on them if they don’t get back to you right away! Keep the leads in your customer relations management (CRM) platform so you can continue to follow-up with them after a few weeks, during a big promotion or at the beginning of your next season.
Social media is a powerful tool for connection, engagement and lead generation, but it can’t be everything to every audience. By defining a clear process for communicating with current members and member prospects you can better align with the needs of each audience.