By now, it's pretty obvious that golf courses need to have a Facebook page. However, many business owners don't see the real power of social media marketing yet. They'll set up their pages because they feel like they have to, instead of setting them up to bring some serious exposure to their operation.
Golf managers face the major challenge of maintaining a high-quality Facebook page with consistently good content. On top of that, tracking the results from this marketing channel is not easy, so it can be hard to justify putting out that kind of effort on social media when there is an entire golf operation to manage.
Don't feel discouraged though, just because you can't readily see the results, doesn't mean that they're not there. Implementing a strong social media marketing strategy at your golf course will grow your business in the long run. There's a reason that over 80 million small and medium sized businesses use Facebook: 78% of American consumers have discovered products on the platform. If you want a good ROI, you'll need to avoid these 5 critical mistakes that golf courses make on Facebook.
Your Facebook page isn't the place to bombard people with sales messages and flyers. Instead, you need to feed your followers interesting content that will keep them engaged with your brand. Obviously, the end goal of your marketing is to sell tee times and merchandise, but there are stages to the sales process. The first step of that process is generating awareness, which is where social media marketing fits in.
It's very easy for people to scroll right past your posts if your only goal is to sell them something. People are not on Facebook to book rounds of golf, they're there to be entertained. Delivering content that makes people like, comment, or share will vastly improve your exposure. This exposure will eventually drive more golfers to your website or app, leading to more rounds booked.
Of course, we don't recommend cutting all of your promotions! We're saying they'll be a lot more effective if they only appear in between several other high engagement posts. People will actually feel a sense of urgency when you let them know about a deal on rounds booked for an upcoming weekend, instead of having the attitude that there's going to be the same promotion next weekend.
It's also so important to make sure that you deliver professional-looking promotional material. Too often golf courses post sub-par looking flyers on their social media, and this can seriously hurt the attitude and perception that people have about your brand.
Another reason that golf courses need to post quality content is to encourage comments. You can then answer these comments to open up a dialogue with your followers. Don't be afraid to share your opinion or make jokes with the commenters, just make sure that you maintain a professional brand image.
Responding to comments will also make your golf course seem more human. Golfers will feel like you're paying attention to them and creating a community, instead of just trying to get them to spend money. Communicating with customers nurtures the relationship you have with them. Social media is the perfect place for this because it's easily accessible and open to everyone.
Don't shy away from responding to negative feedback. Comments from unsatisfied customers are not necessarily a bad thing, they're actually an opportunity for you to right a wrong and show your customer base that you take their issues seriously. Make sure that you answer these kinds of comments politely, and assure the commenter that you're going to correct any problems.
You should also be responding to negative reviews that are left on your Facebook page. Do you see a 2 star review? Ask the person to contact you with what was wrong with their experience so that you can fix it. Golf courses operate in the service industry, so you must set yourself apart from the competition with great customer service.
Do you only ever post pictures of your golf course? These photos might be beautiful, but people will grow bored with them if all you're doing is showing off your fairways. There's nothing inherently wrong with posting pictures of your course, but make sure that you switch it up by showing more than just your grounds.
Use your social media to showcase the entire experience of your business, instead of boring people with the same type of content that all of your competition already posts.
A cool way to do this is by posting pictures of food from your restaurant. Make sure you get a nice quality picture (take angles, lighting, and the camera into account). Food photograpy is very trendy right now, so posting pictures of the meals you serve will generate interest while making people want to visit your restaurant.
If you have a tournament or event, make sure that you have a photographer on hand. This will add to the professional feel of the tournament and you can then use these pictures on your social media. After a tournament, you can post a photo or video of a highlight or the winner. You'll be able to showcase your customers, all while giving interesting content to your Facebook followers.
For Facebook advertisements to be worth your time (and money) you'll need to set them up properly. The key is in what posts you choose to promote and how you target them.
Start by posting organically (not paying for exposure), then when you see a post getting high engagement pay to place it in front of more people. When you find a post that has a good formula for getting clicks and generating purchases, you know there will be a good ROI on paying for ad placements.
Now that you've found a high engagment post it's time to find a target audience. Facebook is one of the best systems for targeting an audience because they collect so much data on their users. When creating an advertisement for your golf course, you should choose an audience based on:
Your first few ads should target your biggest demographic (age, gender, location) so that you can start seeing results and experimenting with what appears in your promotion. The way to run tests is to vary the content by changing the types of images you use, the captions, and where a click on the advertisement will lead the user. Keep track of what you're posting and what the response is in order to be able to gage what kind of ad works best on social media for you. Don't be afraid to get creative, as long as you remain professional.
You should also target people based on their interests, an incredibly powerful feature that is really only offered by Facebook. It's very easy to target golfers in your area by the pages they follow, whether it be a club manufacturer, golf courses, a golf blog, or anything else related to golf. This will ensure that you're not wasting your money on clicks that are coming from people who have no interest in actually coming to your golf course.
You need to balance staying in the minds of your followers by posting often enough, while not posting so often that people ignore you. Regularly posting will keep your audience engaged with your content, ultimately leading to increased brand loyalty. In fact, according to Forbes, 62% of millennials say that if a brand engages them on social media, they are more likely to become a loyal customer. Pair this with the fact that millennials are slowly becoming the most important demographic to target in golf, and it becomes quite clear that reaching this segment with a good social media strategy is crucial for the success of your golf course.
Sharing something on your social channels is pretty easy, the difficulty comes with making sure that you post interesting, varied content. You need to value quality over quantity, all while keeping up a consistent schedule. In order to find out what schedule works best for your audience, you can play around with when you post. Generally, a good place to start might be one post every 2 days. Run this schedule for a few weeks before you try something new. You can then switch to every day (as long as you can maintain quality) and see if those posts gain more traction.
If you want to be a successful golf course, you need to have a great strategy for your Facebook page. Staying away from the mistakes that we listed will ensure that you're not wasting time, money, and a great golf marketing opportunity. Social media marketing is no joke, take it seriously and you'll definitely see great results right now and down the road.
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