Golf Course Marketing

Golf Course Marketing

Make Your Golf Course a Social Golf Course

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7 Quick Tips to Add Followers for Your Golf Courses Social Media Accounts

Gaining followers on your social media accounts is no easy task.

You need to set up your account, post regularly and follow along with comments. Most importantly, you need to have a strategy to add followers to your page.

Here are some quick tips on ways your golf course can add more followers to your social media channels:

On-Course Social Media Promotions

The easiest way to get followers to your social media accounts is to tell your golfers to follow you with on-course promotions. Some ways you can create on-course promotions to get golfers to follow you on social media are:

  • Clear Signage – include signs on your course, in the clubhouse and in the golf shop that tell your golfers you’re using social media.
  • Selfie Spot – Identify a popular picture taking spot on your golf course and include signage letting your golfers know this is a great spot to take a photo to share on social media. They will likely follow and share their experience at your course with their friends too.
    How to Gain Followers for Your Golf Courses Social Media Accounts

    Photo by Tom Prince

  • At the Point of Sale – Train your staff to let your golfers know to follow you on your social media channels for special offers, updates and course conditions.
  • Include a Scrolling Feed: Use a scrolling feed to show your golfers what you’re posting and what your golfers are posting on social media in your golf shop or clubhouse.

Engage on Other Social Media Pages

With more than 1.1 billion users, it’s possible to reach and connect with people from all walks of life, especially golfers. Local community pages, local golf-related pages, and local business pages are a great way to reach out and connect with your community and get more people following you on social media.

  • Local Community Pages: Regardless of where you live, there are social media accounts set up to engage your local community. In my town, Chino Hills Connections is a go-to resource for members of our community. Be sure to engage in local discussion to raise the profile of your social media pages.
  • Local Golf-Related Pages: You may have seen golf trick shot videos, golf equipment review sites, and golf course aficionado social media posts all over the internet. Connect with these influencers to raise the profile of your golf course and add to your follower count.
  • Local Business Pages: Local businesses are a great resource for golf courses to reach out to. Not only are they great prospects for events and tournaments at your golf course, but the people that visit those pages are likely people in your community.

Social Media Advertising to Target Golfers

An easy way to add followers to your social media channel is to use Facebook Advertising. With Facebook Ads, we recommend targeting golfers who live within 30 miles of your golf course.

  • Ads for Likes: You can run ad campaigns to target people who would be most likely to like your page. This will help increase your follower count.
  • Ads for Sales: We typically don’t recommend using ads for likes unless you’re just starting your social media account. What we suggest instead is using Facebook Ads to drive potential customers to a sale. While doing this they will be aware of your social channels and be more likely to follow.
  • Ads to Your Prime Market: With Facebook Ads, you can target golfers who are on your email list, who have visited your website in the past 90 days, or are the most engaged on your Facebook page. This high level of targeting insures that you’re reaching the right customers at the right price.

Use Hashtagging

Most social media sites use hashtags to help identify topics of conversation or categories of posts. Using hashtags in your posts will help add followers, specifically on sites like Instagram and Twitter.

  • Straight-Up Hashtagging: Example = #Golf – Using a hashtag like this makes your content usable on the various social media search engines. #Golf in Instagram as an example has more than 10,717,779 posts.
  • Local Hashtagging: Example = #SoCalGolf – Want to be searchable for a higher target market. Use local hashtags to be found by golfers who are more likely to play your course. #SoCalGolf in Instagram as an example has 7,304 posts.
  • Golf-Related Hashtags: Example = #GolfLife – There are tons of golf-related hashtags that can help your golf course get found by golfers all over the world. #GolfLife in Instagram as an example has 476,967 posts.

Run Social Media Contests

Run contests through your page to help spread word of mouth. They can get golfers to share your posts which can drive new golfers to your social media accounts. Some examples of contests you could run to gain followers are:

  • Photo Contest – Have your golfers submit a photo to your social media channel. The photo with the most likes wins. This will encourage your golfers to take a picture at your course, share it with their friends and invite them to your page to see it.
  • Share This Post with Your Friends Contest – Ask your followers to share a post. Randomly choosing a winner from the participants.
  • Majors Contest – Host a social contest during the major golf tournaments. Give your golfers a contest they’re happy to share with their friends.

Use Emails and Website to Promote Social Media Channels

Include your social media accounts in your emails and on your website. You can do this by:

  • Including your social media accounts in all employees’ email signatures
  • Sending an auto-responder email when they complete a round to ask them to follow your social media accounts
  • Having social media buttons on your website
  • Including a live social media feed, showing your actual social media posts, on your website.

Post Authentic, Engaging Social Media Content

The more engaging and authentic the content on your golf course is, the more likely you’ll have people want to follow you.

Think of your social media accounts as your own personal newspaper. The more subscribers you have, the more customers you’ll get.

Want more tips on how to get more golfers playing your golf course more often using social media? Sign up for the 19th Hole Media email list.

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Do Facebook Marketing Right for Your Golf Course

Last month, we covered the top six mistakes golf courses are making on Facebook. Those mistakes were:

  • Being overly promotional
  • Just posting flyers
  • Posting infrequently
  • Not engaging golfers with comments
  • Posting the same thing over and over
  • Not analyzing your efforts

For the full article please visit – The Six Biggest Mistakes Golf Courses Are Making on Facebook.

Now that we’ve covered the mistakes let’s talk about how to do Facebook right.

Ask Questions

The purpose of social media is to develop relationships with your customers outside of the golf course. It requires engagement. One easy way to do this is to create posts that ask a question. Engaging questions prompt your audience to answer which gives you an opportunity to extend the relationship even further.

Here are some questions we’ve posted for golf courses in the past which tend to get a lot of engagement:

  • Do you repair your ball marks?
  • What ONE thing would you add to the golf carts at our golf course?
  • You’re teeing off on our 167-yard Hole #12 with a pin in the middle of the green. What club is in your hands?

Just asking questions is not enough, you need visuals to go along with them.

Use Visual Content

Visual content draws the viewers into the post and, as a result, gets higher engagement. Golfers are twice as likely to comment on a post that has a picture or video than a post without. Facebook algorithms also show visual content to more of your followers.

Visual content can be in the form of photos or videos.

Using the above examples we could use:

  • a picture of a ball mark on one of our greens before we ask the question
  • a picture of one of our golf carts next to the clubhouse
  • an aerial video of the 167-yard 12th hole at this golf course

Once your golfers start engaging with your content it’s a sign that you’re beginning to do things right. Take it to the next level by engaging with your audience.

Engage Your Audience

Once your golfers start to comment on your Facebook posts you need to respond. Provide responses which try to extend the conversation. Don’t post a throw away comment that is easy to ignore.

The Facebook algorithms show your posts to followers more often when they have more engagement. If you focus on building engagement, your Facebook posts will show up to more people more often.

If you want to see great engagement in action check out our friend, John Hakim’s Facebook Page at Greenskeeper.org.

The more engaged your audience is on Facebook, the better job you’re doing with your social presence. To ensure your audience is engaged in your social efforts you need to be authentic.

Be Authentic

It’s easy to tell which golf courses outsource their social media marketing to a firm who doesn’t specialize in golf. For the most part, they try to use stock photos, funny videos and memes to drive engagement at your golf course. But, they rarely do.

Golfers follow your Facebook page to find out what’s going on at your golf course.

To be authentic:

  • use actual photos of your golf course
  • pose questions that only your golfers would know
  • update them on course conditions, course improvements and special promotions
  • highlight your staff members and golfers

Know of any other ways you can be authentic at your golf course? Add them in the comment section.

Be Consistent

I see it all the time. A golf course will pick up their social media presence only to let it slip in and out of dormancy. Consistency is important to continue to drive engagement and to make more of your golfers aware of the activities taking place at your golf course.

Inconsistent posting results in less engagement and, therefore, less exposure for your club.

Our average Facebook posts reaches approximately 1,000 people. Daily posting insures that our golf-related Facebook posts are being seen more than 30,000 times per month. Being inconsistent substantially drops the amount of daily exposure your golf course could be receiving.

Analyze Your Efforts

A successful campaign on social media depends on how well you analyze your efforts and can adjust accordingly. Facebook Insights is a part of every Facebook page and it is a great tool to help you monitor your efforts.

Facebook Insights can give you valuable information about:

  • Reach
  • Engagement
  • Likes
  • Promotions
  • Page Views
  • Post Performance
  • Demographics
  • Local Information

The metric we tend to look at the most when analyzing our efforts is how our posts performed. Each post shows how many Facebook users our post reached, which actions took place and how many people clicked through to the website. This information is critical in terms of catering your content to your customers. The more you analyze your efforts the more you’ll find what resonates with your audience.

Conclusion

In our last post you learned what not to do with Facebook marketing for your golf course. In this post you learned what to do with Facebook marketing for your golf course.

To establish a strong Facebook presence for your golf course you need to ask questions, use visual content, engage your audience, be authentic, be consistent and analyze your efforts.

These tips are designed to help you build a strong online presence for your business, but there is so much more that Facebook offers to help you get more golfers to play your golf course and play more often.

Thanks for taking some time to see how to do Facebook right for your golf course. We will be sharing more tips like this soon, Including a big one: The Difference-Maker in Facebook Marketing Today. Join our email list to ensure you learn even more about how to be successful on Facebook for your golf course:

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The Great Golf Course March Bracket

Conference Championships are here and March Madness is next. There’s always a ton of buzz around the tournament and people are thinking about their brackets.

Let your golfers embrace bracketology to choose their favorite hole at your course via an exclusive contest through 19th Hole Media.

We’ll set up and run a contest using your 18 hole handicaps as “seeds” to slot your golf holes into a bracket. Your golfers will choose their favorite hole at your course after five weeks of voting!

What better way to get in the spirit of March and stir golf sentiment at your course leading up to the Masters!

Contact us for details and pricing and then look forward to stirring sentiment and buzz at your course with us!

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The Six Biggest Mistakes Golf Courses are Making on Facebook

The Don’ts of Facebook Marketing for Golf Courses

“Mistakes are part of the game. It’s how well you recover from them, that’s the mark of a great player.” – Alice Cooper

A new General Manager was hired at one of the first golf courses 19th Hole Media signed up to manage their social media pages. In my first conversation with him he told me he saw no value in social media.

“What do I care what people had to eat?”, he said.

In speaking with many golf course owners and general managers, they were of a similar opinion.

That was six years ago.

Through education, competition and the shifting purchasing habits of golfers most golf course owners and general managers realize the importance of social media in increasing rounds and revenue at their golf course.

Many, however, are doing it wrong.

Here is what NOT to do when marketing your golf course on Facebook:

Don’t Be Overly Promotional

People use Facebook to keep tabs on their family, friends and the companies that interest them. Selling on Facebook is acceptable, but not all the time.

How many of you would willingly sign up to watch TV commercials, look at magazines with only advertisements, or read newspaper ads without any news stories?

If all your posts are sales posts, your audience will get tired of your constant ads and stop following your course.
Another reason not to be overly promotional is that Facebook algorithms will show posts that get low engagement to fewer people. From analyzing thousands of Facebook posts, I can tell you that promotional posts get little to no engagement.

If you continually make posts that get little engagement, Facebook will show your posts to fewer and fewer of your followers.

Don’t Post Flyers

Many golf courses treat their Facebook page like an on-site bulletin board. They have their marketing team draft a flyer, blast it out via email and share it on social media.

Just like when you’re being overly promotional, flyers typically get little to no engagement. The less your Facebook followers engage with your posts, the less likely your posts will show up.

You also don’t want to post flyers because flyers usually contain a lot of text. Facebook will not allow you to boost – spend advertising dollars to reach more potential customers – any posts that have close to 20% text in the photo.

Facebook did this to limit an advertising look and feel to their platform. They also recognized that most photos with text had little to no engagement. And Facebook is all about engagement.

Lastly, consumers can spot, and ignore advertisements easily and flyers are easy-to-spot advertisements.

Think about opening your emails. Do you know which emails are promotional and which ones are not?

Most email users can immediately identify and delete any sales/promotional emails while recognizing emails that are important to them.

Think about watching TV. Do you watch commercials when you watch TV?

Most TV viewers now have a DVR to record programs and skip through commercials to watch their shows uninterrupted.

Think about retrieving the mail from your mailbox. Do you open and look at every piece of mail you receive?

Most people immediately discard mass mailings and open the letters that are important to them.

As consumers we’re constantly filtering out sales messages. Try your best to avoid anything that looks like an ad in your social media posting.

Don’t Post Too Infrequently

Another problem golf courses have is posting too infrequently. I can’t tell you how many golf course Facebook pages I’ve seen get started enthusiastically and then go dormant.

Many of your golfers are accustomed to getting information about their world from their social media pages. If your golf course is absent from posting to the people who want to hear from you the most, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

There are many reasons why golf courses’ Facebook pages go dormant: perhaps the person in charge of social media moved on, it wasn’t a priority, or there just wasn’t enough time in the day to commit to creating a vibrant social presence. (Which is why golf courses hire 19th Hole Media.)

Every day something worthy of social media is happening at your golf course. Identifying those opportunities and sharing them with the world takes a consistent, committed and focused effort.

Don’t Not Engage

Another big problem we see many golf courses struggle with on social media is responding when followers comment on stuff.

Imagine a customer comes to the counter at your golf shop and says what a wonderful time they had playing your course and the person behind the counter says nothing.

Better yet, imagine your golf shop full of golfers when your customer complains loudly about an experience they had at your golf course and the person behind the counter says nothing.

When golfers comment on your social media pages they are expecting a response, just as they would when they are at your golf course. Ignoring comments by followers not only misses an opportunity to connect further with the golfer who commented, but it also hurts your relationship with other golfers who see that you aren’t responding to your golfers.

The more you comment back, the more you encourage comments in the future. And the more engagement you have on your posts, the more Facebook will show your posts to your followers.

Don’t Post the Same Type of Post Over and Over

Just like you wouldn’t want to continually post advertising messages on your Facebook page, you also wouldn’t want to post the same type of post all the time on your Facebook page.

I see many golf courses who just share links to websites on their page. Facebook posts can be links to webpages, pictures, questions, testimonials, polls, videos and others. The more variety you have on your Facebook posts, the more likely your followers will stay engaged with your course.

Don’t Not Analyze Your Efforts

Facebook has an excellent analytical tool called Facebook Insights which monitors the success, or lack thereof for your Facebook efforts.

In addition to gathering valuable demographic information about your Facebook followers, Facebook Insights will also show you which Facebook posts are delivering results and which ones are not.

Analyzing your efforts will not only provide valuable feedback when it comes to posting on Facebook, but it will also give you valuable insight into other marketable aspects of your business.

The Back Nine for Social Media

As Alice Cooper would tell you, in golf and on social media, mistakes happen. If your golf course is guilty of any of the Facebook don’ts for golf courses, it’s not too late to turn things around.

Don’t be overly promotional, don’t post flyers, don’t post infrequently, don’t not engage your golfers, don’t post the same type of post over and over and don’t not analyze your efforts.

Instead, recover from your mistakes, be great, and do Facebook right.

Coming Soon How to Do Facebook Right at Your Golf Course: The Do’s of Facebook Marketing for Golf Courses

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19th Hole Media’s Top 10 of 2016

At our end of year meeting each year we go over a lot of material, make a lot of plans, and do a lot of business stuff. But, we also make a point to look back over the previous year and celebrate our victories.

We have come a long way since we started. Here is our Top 10 of 2016.

Top 10 of 2016

10. Speaking Gigs
This year Zeb spoke with the California Golf Course Owners’s Association and the National Golf Course Owner’s Association Arizona on digital marketing for golf courses.
9. Visiting New Client Courses in Chicago and San Jose 

One of the coolest things we did this year was add new client courses in Chicago (Village Greens of Woodridge) and San Jose (Cinnabar Hills Golf Club) . . . and, as a result, visiting those courses during the year to take social media pictures, videos and discussing how to best implement our plans for 2017.In September, Zeb brought the family for an amazing trip to Chicago and played Cog Hill, Cantigny, Village Links of Glen Ellyn and, of course, Village Greens of Woodridge. Thank you Brandon Evans for a memorable trip.In November, Zeb headed up to San Jose for the California Golf Course Owner’s Association Annual Meeting and to play/shoot social photos and videos at Cinnabar Hills Golf Club. Cinnabar Hills is a beautiful 27-hole golf course and includes the impressive Brandenburg Historical Golf Museum.

8. #GolfChat Authors

Zeb started #GolfChat in 2015 and since then it has taken on a life of its own.The Twitter chat (which takes place every Tuesday at 5PM PST) now has it’s own Author’s Group.Each month a topic is explored by golf bloggers and their articles are shared on the #GolfChat website.

We have to thank #GolfChat legends Jeremy White for orchestrating the authors group and Cassie Norris for hosting #GolfChat. As well as Pete Flanigan, Tiffany Chiasson, Todd Marsh, Tony Dear, Anne Foley-Smith, Dave Hill and Jim Burton for being #GolfChat Authors. And everyone else who has participated in #GolfChat.

Congratulations to the 2016 #GolfChat Award Winners – @Front9Back9, @golfbandwagoner, @ShawnBell, @h2cgolf, @GolfUnfiltered, @1beardedgolfer, @bowdo83, @tiffchaisson and @JDres15.

Follow #GolfChat in 2017 with the new #GolfChat Twitter account – @realGolfchat

7. GolfBoard

We first saw the GolfBoard in action early this year at the Golf Industry Show.Since then we’ve played it at Maderas Golf Club, Los Serranos Country Club and Candlewood Country Club.Maderas is one of the most popular GolfBoard destinations in the country and new partner, Corey Ross is solely using social media to promote it. General Manager, Michael Flickinger said their original GolfBoard fleet of four has already paid for itself.

This year we created marketing packages specifically for the GolfBoard. The GolfBoard is a great social opportunity to help attract followers and online conversations about your golf course. Our marketing packages help to leverage social media to drive new golfers to your golf course.

6. Social Media Golf Course Marketing Column and Sponsorship for California Golf Course Owner’s Association

Zeb has starting writing a column for the California Golf Course Owners Association regular newsletter. The column will share the benefits and best practices of online marketing with golf course owners.Check out his first contributions here:

19th Hole Media became a sponsor of the CGCOA this year and will be helping them recruit new members in 2017.

5. Game 7 – A Night to Remember
Game 7 of the World Series was one of the best baseball games I’ve ever seen. The game ended up being even more memorable for Zeb.Zeb watched the Cubbies break their curse with Steve Plummer, Ron Zraick, Michael Lautenbach – the past, current and future California Golf Course Owner’s Association Presidents – and Executive Director Marc Connerly while eating the best steak he’s ever had.
4. REALiTEE Golf

At the beginning of 2017, we were introduced to Dave Shultz and REALiTEE Golf.REALiTEE Golf is a majestic real golf experience that takes place indoors with a fun social atmosphere. It’s a big idea with a big personality launching it.In February we went with REALiTEE Golf to the Golf Industry Show in San Diego. There we saw founder Dave Shultz in action. He’s incredibly passionate and enthusiastic. We’re looking forward to being a part of REALiTEE Golf in 2017.

Learn more about REALiTEE Golf.

3. New Golf Clients

This year has been amazing for 19th Hole Media.We’ve added several new clients including Cinnabar Hills Golf Club, Desert Island Golf Club, Indian Wells Golf Resort, REALiTEE Golf, Riverwalk Golf Club, and Village Greens of Woodridge.We’ve also taken on bigger roles at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club, and Los Serranos Country Club and continue to work for Anaheim Hills, Dad Miller, Greenskeeper.org, Robinson Ranch, San Dimas Canyon, and Strawberry Farms.

2. Southern California Charity Golf Classic

We hosted the 2nd Annual Southern California Charity Golf Classic at Los Serranos Country Club in Chino Hills, CA on July 29.With help from many in our community, the tournament met it’s goal and raised over $12,000 for Boys Republic, the Chino Rotary Club, the Chino Valley Fire District, the Love Them All Foundation, Priceless Pets and The Let It Be Foundation.The event was a ton of fun and we have already begun planning the 2017 SCCGC.

1. Corey Ross Joins 19th Hole Media

This year we added Corey Ross to the 19th Hole Media Team. Corey is the owner of Southern California Golf and Travel Blog, contributor to Southland Golf Magazine and Director of Digital Marketing and Social Media at Maderas Golf Club.

He obviously has great experience and our shared mission make Corey the perfect addition to 19th Hole Media.

Read more about our partnership with Corey Ross – Corey Ross Joins 19th Hole Media.

Thank you all for everything!  We hope you all have an amazing 2017.

As we plan for 2017, we’re preparing to send out marketing tactics and tips for golf courses coinciding with the CGCOA newsletter. If you’d like to learn how to better market your golf course in 2017 sign up to get our emails – 19th Hole Media Newsletter

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Social Media for Golf Courses

How Donald Trump Won the Presidency with Social Media

Regardless of how you feel about the election results, you witnessed a drastic shift in the way politics will be handled in the future. Golf courses and businesses should take note of the power and influence Donald Trump was able to yield through social media.

“The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” – Oscar Wilde

Our President-Elect, Donald Trump, made controversial statement after controversial statement throughout the campaign and – every time – our political pundits said he was done. He would not recover.

But, he did recover.

Not only did he recover, but he continued to make more and more controversial statements and each time his influence grew.

His campaign is a testament to the new age of marketing – the power of social media.

Donald Trump’s strategy was to make sure eyes, ears and minds were on him and only him.

His strategy worked and it will work for your golf course.

Trump’s campaign relied on one simple premise:

“There is no such thing as bad publicity…” – Brendan Behan

If you’ve ever thought to yourself social media doesn’t work, it’s a waste of time, or it can’t help to get more golfers playing golf, Trump just proved you wrong. Trump used social media to persuade our country.

In a traditional campaign, any number of Trump’s controversial remarks would have doomed his run for the presidency, yet he thrived.

With each tweet, Trump defied conventional thinking and the reason it worked is because his statements dominated the headlines nearly every day of the campaign election cycle. Every late night talk show host, news anchor, newspaper, magazine and media outlet mentioned Trump on an almost daily basis.

The free press Trump received far surpassed the mentions of Hillary Clinton throughout the entire election. Whether good, or bad, Trump was on the minds of the American people and we have social media to thank.

As the results were being read, many pointed to the fact that this election would “rewrite the history books.” Its ramifications will reverberate throughout the future of political campaigns.

Trump was able to activate an untapped voter base. In the same way, golf courses can use social media to tap into golfers who have considered taking up the game, but haven’t yet.

In every debate, Facebook and Twitter were mentioned – they even had a selfie spot at my polling place.

Donald Trump Social Media for Golf Courses

Those engaging in discussions on Facebook and Twitter permeated news feeds and those who proactively supported or endorsed either candidate influenced our election.

If you’re active on social media you’re an influencer. You have the ability to persuade others to your way of thinking in today’s connected age. If your golf course is active on social media, you have the ability to persuade golfers to choose you over another golf course – OR – to choose golf over another recreational activity.

And when they choose you, you have the ability to generate a “base” of followers who will overwhelmingly support you and your brand. So much so, that they’ll take to Twitter, to Facebook and other social channels to tell everyone just how great your golf course is.

Trump demonstrated the power and appeal of reaching the masses. If you’re not using social media you have zero influence on those people using it. If you use social media, you have the potential to tap into thousands of people on a daily basis to convince them to play golf at your golf course.

Sign up for the 19th Hole Media newsletter for tips and tactics on social media marketing for golf courses.

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