Athens, GA – The University Course

I grew up learning one of the hardest, most frustrating games I’ve ever played from my grandfather.

But, as soon as I picked up a club, I was hooked. Over the years growing up, I’ve noticed the typical decline in play at my local golf club.

Saturday tee times typically die off around 12 or 1 instead of going throughout the entire day. It’s not that the game has changed- it hasn’t. It’s that people believe they have better ways to spend their time.

Instead of coming home from school and walking nine holes with their friends, kids would rather watch Netflix or scroll through Instagram. After coming home from work, 40-year-old men would rather relax at home rather than go out for a quick nine to hit a little white ball around and watch a beautiful sunset.

It’s no longer 1998, or even 1457 in Scotland.

Most realists see the new world we live in as the ultimate demise for the long-standing game of golf as we know it. Instead, I view this new era as an opportunity to shift and pivot from the traditional golf course marketing strategies.

If you’re using a computer, I’m sure you’ve heard of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, & even Snapchat, but when was the last time you saw your local club on one of these platforms?

If people are starting to spend more time on social media than watching tv, I think it’s worth investigating whether or not it’s a viable option for marketing your business.

I think golf courses, of all businesses, are set up to succeed on social media more than most because of the value they can provide on Facebook, Instagram & Snapchat.

Value = Successful Social Media Campaigns

In order to successfully use social media to build a brand & ultimately drive sales, you have to understand the key to being successful on social media in 2017 is providing VALUE.

So what value can a golf course bring to social media? If you look at Facebook, Instagram, & Snapchat the types of content being shared are photos & videos. This is what makes golf courses perfect for these platforms because golf courses can provide gorgeous captivating pictures.

People actually do want to see golf courses. And if people are consistently seeing their local golf course, learning about it, seeing fun events, and getting an inside look into what really goes on then your golf course may have a few new people making regular tee times and even some new members.

I hope you understand the massive untapped benefits of social media, but if you want to learn about more great benefits check out this post I wrote on why businesses need social media.

Why Do Other Courses Not Use Social Media?

If this marketing channel is so great for golf courses then why haven’t many golf courses capitalized on these massive benefits?

Since 2008, technology & social media specifically has changed a LOT.

And the last time golf courses were really doing well were in 2007/08 (before the housing crisis). Once the housing crisis hit, golf courses became grave yards and they all began cutting costs just to stay afloat.

In 2008 Instagram & Snapchat didn’t even exist

Facebook was a thing back then, but it was nothing compared to what it is today. Instagram didn’t get big until around 2013 & snapchat wasn’t big until 2015. Since then they’ve only grown more and more rapidly. 2017 is the time to begin to capitalize on social media. Golf courses have regained some momentum since the recession, but even a small monthly investment in social media is going to bring in a huge ROI in as soon as a few months.

Whether you think about paying someone to do it for you (hint: us), or you do it yourself. Here is what I recommend golf courses do to run a successful social media campaign.

FACEBOOK

Facebook has become so popular (and useful for businesses) it’s become a “pay to play” platform. This means you’ve got to spend money to reach people.

Don’t let that scare you off though, $5 can help you reach about 2,500 people. At $5 day, your posts can reach 75,000 people per month. Additionally, if you’re sharing valuable shareable posts it will reach even more people for free.

Keep in mind the content is key on Facebook. You need to provide VALUE. Don’t do sales pitches.

INSTAGRAM

When it comes to posting beautiful photos of your 18th hole at sunset, Instagram is a great option. Take advantage of the fact that Instagram is still not a “pay to play” platform (although it may become one). It’s free to post and reach people, you just need to find relevant followers.

To get followers on Instagram you have to reach out and connect with people one on one. This means finding your members (or regulars) and liking their pictures. It means finding people who have posted pictures of your course and following, commenting or liking their pictures.

In short, keep interacting with people daily and post regularly.

Oh, and make sure the link in your bio is connected to some sort of online tee time booking website.

SNAPCHAT

This is where we get into very new, untested waters.

While you can take the same approach with Snapchat as Instagram & Facebook, I suggest you try a different more passive route that does cost some money up front.

I’m talking about Geofilters. Unless you’re between 18-34 and regularly use Snapchat, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about.

When you take a Snapchat picture you have the option to add “Geofilters” to you picture. These are overlays that appear on top of your picture depending on the location of where you took the picture.

With an upfront cost of maybe $500 for the whole year, your golf course would get a customized Geofilter that people aged 18-34 will be sharing with 100s of their friends every day. The ROI of this is going to be huge especially as Snapchat continues to rapidly grow.

Choose to Win, not Lose.

Whether you buy into this whole “social media” thing, it’s here and it’s here to stay. Businesses that are learning to capitalize on these new marketing channels are winning, and those that aren’t are losing.

Jump on now, and get into something that might just be the greatest long term investment you’ve ever made.

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