There is a lot to campground social media marketing. But since I’m a web marketer that likes to camp, I’m going to boil this down to the #1 thing I believe you have to focus on: user generated reviews.
I’m not camping this second to last weekend of August. Why? Because we need someplace close and the place we wanted to go had reviews we believed and were bad.
The pictures were good. The website was good. But people just didn’t like the place. The pool isn’t heated which makes it too cold most of the time. You had to pay extra to use the facilities, which wasn’t clear on the site but the reviewers made very clear. And the staff was snippy.
You have to know that these reviews are effecting sales for your campground.
As you are reading this and thinking “I’ll just start writing some reviews,” I want you to just wipe that thought clean from your pretty little head.
“Companies, including public relations firms involved in online marketing need to abide by long-held principles of truth in advertising,” said Mary Engle, director of the FTC’s division of advertising practices, in a news release. “Advertisers should not pass themselves off as ordinary consumers touting a product, and endorsers should make it clear when they have financial connections to sellers.”
This is now straight up illegal. If caught, you will get fined by the FTC. On top of that, fake reviews are usually clearly fake. Finally, with Google reviews you can only write one review per company because you have to be logged in.
Fixing this is no big deal. I want you to do 2 things:
First, keep a laptop behind your front desk. Have your Yelp, Citysearch, and Google listings bookmarked. As you are talking to campers that come into your office, ask them if they would like to write an online review. If you have made a sad camper into a happy camper, now might be a good time to ask for a review.
Second, make up postcards with your Yelp, Citysearch, and Google links on them. I’d also recommend shortening these URLs with http://bit.ly to make them easier for people to type in. If you get a free account at bit.ly first, you will be able to see how many people have accessed these links. Ask for reviews with these postcards and put them throughout your campground. If I found one of these kinds of postcards in the bathroom I would be very likely to go back to my campsite and write a review. There are many times while I’m camping that I’m just goofing around on the web. I know my wife would do the same thing.
Like I said before, there are a ton of things to campground social media marketing. But I have been to many campgrounds and read many more user generated reviews. Most campgrounds are missing a huge opportunity at this one point.
Please make this an A-1 priority. It will make a significant difference for your campground.