The rise of social media has had a massive impact on the role in decision making and brand advocacy.

This is especially true when evaluating the purpose of social media in member retention and relationship initiatives, because creating opportunities for long term mutually beneficial relationships is what social media was made for. 

But for many clubs social media can become an overwhelming tool that feels more like an obligation than an opportunity. Snapping a photo of the sunrise with #blessed becomes a chore and feels inauthentic. Clubs might fret over the frequency of posts, what type of content to share, and what channels to use (are our members really on Snapchat?).

When speaking with several Clubessential customers one thing is clear; view social media as a gift to your members.

Show Your Human Side

Field Club of Omaha found an opportunity to connect on Facebook. They plan for, capture, and communicate a range of experiences at the club, from holiday events to club members participating in the ice bucket challenge. It has allowed for quick and easy personal communications between the club and its members, building engagement even when they're not on the club grounds.

“We’ve found that our social media marketing is getting to our member audience quicker than we even intended or expected it to. In many ways we’ve won the game before we’ve even started the battle,” says Field Club of Omaha General Manager, Greg Gilg. “So many clubs are afraid of it because they think it’s going to take a lot of work, but it’s worth it. And we’ve been doing it long enough that it really manages itself as long as we provide the content.”

Graham House, Clubhouse and Lodging Manager of Cordillera Ranch explains, “We have a wide range of members across varying age demographics so we’re on multiple social channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This allows us to easily communicate with our members about events, special programs, or even just a lifestyle piece.”

Contrary to what many believe, content is everywhere around the club when you start looking. Just think about what your members care about.  Emily Ojerholm, Membership Director at Longue Vue Country Club says, “As we know, a picture's worth a thousand words, so social media has really been a wonderful tool. We did a lot of capital projects over the winter. I would post photos of the renovation progress which our members loved. Even our greens superintendent uses the Twitter page to provide updates on the course.”

Create Dialogues to Build Relationships

One universal truth is that people want to be heard. Building on a connection that exists with a member provides opportunities for members to be heard and clubs to actually listen. But as important for the club, social media can be your best asset to have a dialogue to get feedback (we need more wine tastings), support follow-up (I’m having trouble making online reservations), issue management and reviews (we all want that 5-star rating). Many are finding that social media is becoming a preferred channel of communications for members when it comes to member service and support. In some ways, it feels far more like an area owned by the member than your club website could ever achieve, which makes it even more important that clubs be present.  

When done correctly, social media can become that extension of the two-way dialogue with members when they’re not on your club grounds, continuing to build that long-term relationship. “Social media is nice because we follow the members back, it's a great way to keep up with their lives and have a more personal relationship with them,” says Ojerholm. 

As you can see, there’s no silver bullet for social media success. There aren’t shortcuts, but content is everywhere. Success for your club will hinge on your ability to connect your social media authenticity to your core club mission and values. And remember, every time a member interacts with your social network profile it sends a ripple of notifications throughout that individual’s network, telling everyone they know that they’ve spent some of their precious time talking to you. That vote of confidence can be all it takes to bring in new members to your club, as well as retain your current members. 


Next Generation of Leaders

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