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Social Media Strategies for Golf Courses: Attracting and Engaging Players Online

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  • Social Media Strategies for Golf Courses: Attracting and Engaging Players Online

Social media is an essential part of building a great brand, attracting new business, and increasing customer loyalty for any leisure and tourism business. If you’re running a golf club, a good social media strategy is a key to success. But if your online presence is lagging behind, keep reading to see what social media strategies you could be using for your golf course.

Before you start

Before you embark on your social media journey, you should establish what outcomes you’re hoping to get from this activity. Are you looking to increase brand awareness, boost sales, or increase the loyalty of your existing customers? If you have clearly defined goals and KPIs, you’ll be able to better tailor your approach. And with measurable targets, you can track your progress and identify what’s been a success.

What social media platforms should I use?

With so many platforms to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to begin. While being on every platform increases your audience reach, you might spread yourself too thin and reduce the quality of your content. Assess the size of your team and how much time you have available to invest in your social media. It’s better to invest in one or two platforms at a time and build from there.

Selecting a platform to start or build on will depend on the strengths and weaknesses of your golf club. Are you focused on premium prices and luxury service? Or do you pride yourself on building communities and warm hospitality? Different platforms attract different ages, demographics, attitudes, and media styles so choosing one that aligns with your values is essential to reaching the right audience.

Take a look at some of the options below and see which one would suit your golf club best.

Facebook

Although numbers continue to fall, Facebook is still the largest social media platform for both consumers and marketers. This means you have access to a huge audience but also face stiff competition for their attention.

The main age group for Facebook is 25-34 and it is used more by men, with a 44% female and 56% male audience. It also uses a wide range of mediums across text, image, and video. You’ll have lots of flexibility and get to try out a lot of different things but your to-do list will also be higher.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is considered a niche platform with a focus on B2B, professional development, and lead gen. But some of your best target customers could be hiding on here. It’s full of corporate companies with deep pockets, high-earning professionals, and an audience that may not typically bother with other forms of social media.

Their biggest age group is 30-39 with a 43% female and 57% male split. Content uses a variety of media, but most aims to engage users in intelligent discussions. These are busy professionals browsing for high-value content, so quality over quantity is best here.

Instagram

Instagram is all about the visuals. Its focus on high-quality and aspirational images and videos helped Instagram to explode, especially among 18–24-year-olds. It has a fairly even split between men and women.

It’s also packed with fun interactive features to help you engage with your audience. But like Facebook, it’s a crowded market. Unless you produce content with exquisite quality or that’s very unique, it can be difficult to stand out.

TikTok

Although dismissed as the platform for Gen Z, TikTok shows no signs of slowing down. The average time spent on the short-form video site is over 45 minutes a day. If you think you can produce fast-paced, attention-grabbing video content that’ll keep your audience coming back for more, then TikTok is the platform for you. Why not check out this article on building a TikTok strategy for inspiration?

Twitter/ X

It’s an uncertain time for Twitter, with lots of changes under its new leadership but it’s still home to a lucrative audience. The platform has a large base of high-earners and well-educated people.

It’s a more text-focused platform but is popular as a place to discuss current events and breaking news in real-time. The audience is 34.1% female and 61.29% male.

Other platforms

There are lots of other channels you could try, such as Snapchat, Youtube, and Pinterest. They all have their own niches and demographics and require different skills. This article on choosing the right social media platform is a great place to start.

Best strategies

Create beautiful visuals

Your beautiful golf course is your biggest asset. Make sure you invest in collecting high-quality photos and videos of the course and the club. Since we’re selling a sport here, videos with lots of satisfying movement will catch the eye and get people wanting to play on your course for themselves.

Social Media Strategies for Golf Courses

Image courtesy of Pexels

Visuals do great on TikTok and Instagram. Nowadays, these platforms are where many people find inspiration for travel and things to do, so be sure to highlight all your club’s best bits. Don’t forget to focus on your clubhouse too. Tempt people in for food and drinks in glorious surroundings with pretty images of a clubhouse lunch.

Create valuable content

Make sure your social media isn’t just a pretty face. Content that adds value for your audience, by entertaining or educating them, gives them a reason to keep coming back for more. It also shows you know what you’re doing so they’ll have more trust in you and your services. This helps them to know that a game at your course is also an opportunity to become a better player.

In your social media posts, you could share tips about how to pick great golf products, the best time of year to play, and fun facts they could drop into conversation. For example, turning this article on American Airlines’ golf club policy into a post could persuade golfers from further afield to visit. You could also give your opinions on the latest tournaments taking place or share videos on how to improve technique.

Collaborate

Working with other companies may seem counterintuitive- you want them to go to you and not your competitors. But packaging yourself with high-profile brands gives your club more prestige. Whether you work with travel agencies, hotels, athleisure brands, or rival clubs, it’s a great way to boost your profile. For example, in this post on the best stay-and-play packages in Kentucky, you’re sharing the limelight, but you’re sharing it with the best.

When collaborating, make sure to utilize features like the tag button or shared post on the different platforms. This helps both of you reach as many people as possible.

Influencer and micro-influencer marketing

Everyone knows working with influencers is a great way to raise the profile of your club. They often have huge followings who find inspiration in the things they post. Just one successful post from a major influencer could generate a big spike in sales.

If you’re thinking this will be outside of your budget, you don’t necessarily need to target the next golfing superstar. Find local rising talent and give them incentives to share their experience of your course. Or find someone not directly linked to golf, such as a local travel or lifestyle blogger. Although smaller influencers don’t have as big a following, they’re often more trusted by their audience as they aren’t yet taking on lots of sponsored work.

Authentic/ behind the scenes

The constant bombardment of advertising on social media has caused many users to become disillusioned. This has led to a rise in “de-influencing” and an increased demand for authenticity. Giving your brand a less polished, human element helps people identify with you more and stops them feeling like you’re just there to get them to buy things.

Why not do a profile on your best staff members or allow them to take control of your feed for the day? Or ask one of your loyal members for a personal review/ account of a day on your course.

Play with the real-time features

Using the real-time features can be a big advantage here. Things like stories and live videos give a genuine and unfiltered view of your golf course. And since stories only last 24 hours, it gives your audience an incentive to check your page often. Why not try posting stories or using live video at your next event?

A person taking a picture of a group of people Description automatically generated

Image courtesy of Pexels

User-generated content

Another way you can make your content more authentic is to generate it from your own customers. What better way to place trust in your product than to show real-life people enjoying it?

Encourage members to post pictures and videos of themselves using your course and tag you. Not only are you getting talked about online, you now have content created for free that you can adapt and reuse for future posts. If you’re struggling to drum up user-generated content, try offering incentives like a competition or a free piece of merchandise. Don’t forget to share and repost so they feel appreciated.

Senior golfers on court. Two men using smart phone.

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Engage with your audience

Social media is the opportunity to have a better relationship with your target audience. If you’re constantly putting content out but not making an effort to hear from them, they may become disengaged. Facebook and Instagram in particular have lots of fun features like polls and quizzes to get responses from your audience. But just asking a question on a video or caption is also an easy way to get your audience involved in your brand.

This doesn’t just give you a boost on the algorithm, it’s a chance to collect genuine opinions and feedback from your customers and target audience. For example, if the comments are telling you they loved the cocktail night at the clubhouse, maybe it’s time to hire a mixologist.

Senior man walking with golf bag and using phone.

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Social media don’ts

Forget about your existing customers

The hardest part of getting started on social media is building up a follower base. Before you go searching for new followers, have you asked your existing members to follow you? This increases your chances of getting seen by their friends and family, who are potentially like-minded users. Put out some flyers with your social media handles around the club or add a link to your monthly newsletter.

Cross-posting

If you’re juggling multiple platforms, it can be tempting to post the same thing everywhere. But this can be detrimental to your content strategy. Ever heard the phrase “a Jack of all trades is a master of none”? As already discussed, each platform has its own nuances with very different audiences. Not creating and writing content for those audiences may result in your post falling flat and you losing followers.

That doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch. Take a look at what you want to post and see how you can adapt it for different channels. Could you change a video from horizontal to vertical or make it shorter, could you change it to an image on some platforms, or could you craft a longer and more engaging caption to spark conversation?

Start on paid ads until you’ve established what works

If you have a budget for paid social media, it can be tempting to splash the cash straight away so you can see results faster. But with social media, you have the luxury of trying out lots of different styles and mediums for free. So before you start designing paid ads, have some fun!

Play around with different video formats, photo filters, caption lengths, themes… the possibilities are endless. Sit back and see how well different posts perform and if you can identify any patterns. Once you have an idea of what your target audience is engaging with, you’ll have a better idea of which sponsored posts will be most effective.

Concentrate on the vanity metrics

Yes, it’s great that you got 100s of likes on your last post but what did it translate to? Unless your efforts are leading to profitable results like increased sales, all you have is a number on a screen.

While it’s great when your social media page is growing, always strive for more and consider how you can build upon your success. If you set your profile as a business account, you’ll have access to lots of interesting metrics like number of returning users and clicks through to your website. Circling back to your initial goals and KPIs is always a great place to start.

a person holding a cell phone in their hand

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Forget to reply to your audience

As discussed, engaging with your audience is a fantastic way to build a relationship with them and boost your spot on the algorithm. But to build a real community of followers, you need to take the time to continue the conversation. Make sure you’re always replying to posts and resharing their content so they feel valued.

Are you worried about getting negative comments on a post? Unfortunately, this is a reality of being a brand on social media. Check out this article on how brands handle negative comments so you’re prepared for the worst.

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