Planning Successful Social Media Marketing for Waterparks.

Every marketer will tell you that your current waterpark marketing and advertising plan needs to include social media platforms. Many business owners, waterpark management included, jump at the chance to get on these various free platforms and use them to market the property to the world.

Your typical waterpark owner/manager has heard how social media platforms can enhance a property’s SEO results.  This incomplete understanding of using social media in the marketing mix results in management issuing a directive to the marketing team to create an account on the social media platform du jour. It sounds so simple. It sounds so easy. And it’s free, right?

Often, businesses are jumping into multiple social media platforms without a good understanding of what is needed to be successful on that particular platform.  Each of the top social media platforms has specific demographics and usages patterns.  Further, each of those platforms has their own nuances of how users engage, how the users respond, and what outcomes can be expected from a platform.
Unfortunately, social media marketing is really not simple, easy, or even free!  Winning at social media marketing takes planning, preparation and, yes, a budget. So let’s take a look at what steps need to be taken to produce winning social media results for a waterpark.

In the same way that your waterpark marketing teams plan traditional media marketing for successful results, they need to plan its social media marketing.   The team that reacts without careful planning is likely to produce underwhelming results.

Laura Salisbury, VP of Sales & Marketing at American Resort Management shares, “It can be seductive to look over the vast platforms in social media and think that your business needs to be on every one of them. This is not true of traditional media and it certainly is not true of social media marketing! We work with our waterpark properties to define goals and then our expert marketing teams to design programs to accomplish our aims for the property.”  The key to success in social media marketing is to plan for three items:

1. Who is the waterpark trying to reach?

Is the goal to reach the parents, particularly the mom, who will likely make the final purchasing decision? How old is your target mom? What is her income, lifestyle, motivation to purchase?
Perhaps it is determined that the social media should be aimed at the kids with an ultimate goal of motivating them to ask to come to the park.  Is the social media plan goal to speak to both?
The platforms to reach these demographics are vastly different.  The moms your waterpark seeks to reach may be on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. They have time periods in which they are more likely to be on social media and they respond and react to messages differently depending on the format of the platform and the messaging, itself.  The kids may be on a platform like Snapchat, which serves a much younger audience, and features “snaps” that must be updated daily.

2. What is your story?

Social media, on almost every platform, has largely become an opportunity to share your company’s story.  This focus toward storytelling is an important trend produced by social media marketing.  So what does “storytelling” mean in this context, and, more importantly,  how is it created by a waterpark to effectively market to the desired customers?
First, we need to look at how social media creates relationships between brands and consumers.  Consumers follow companies on various social media platforms with an expectation that the connection will bring them closer to that brand in some way.  Consumers demand a pay-off, of sorts, for their continued attention. Great social media marketing uses the social media platform to further the relationship with the customer by offering them additional information, privilege or benefit for their engagement.
For waterparks, this engagement can be created in the form of how the property enhances the life of its guests.  Therefore, a great story could take the guest through the cycle of holding a birthday party at the property or spending a day or weekend at the park.  Creative teams can work within the confines of the overall story to produce the elements to support the waterpark story. In the case of the birthday party story, a marketing team can post invitations, highlights, surveys and/or photo albums all with a focus on the “birthday party” story. Creativity can drive engagement with a compelling story.

3. What are your company’s available resources?

Knowing your own resources is critical to success on social media.  An over-extended, disorganized and under-funded social media marketing plan will fail. There is not a single social media platform with a marketing cycle that responds well to sporadic and disorganized efforts.  It takes time and effort to build a following on any social platform.  As previously highlighted, each platform demands particular assets to successfully engage with the audience.  Those assets will need resources to plan for, create and post.
It’s here that many waterparks over estimate their options.  The tendency is to not recognize what will be necessary in terms of actual dollar spends and human resources to implement a program that can produce results.
Careful considerations throughout the planning and growth of a social media marketing plan are needed to stay on track. Each social media platform that a waterpark choses to engage with demands its own goal driven marketing plan complete with appropriate resource allocation.

Social media marketing continues to expand the role of marketing for successful businesses.  It can produce dramatic results for a business in terms of brand recognition, customer loyalty and bottom line sales.

American Resort Management works with our clients to find effective social media marketing plans.  Call us today to see how we can assist in making your waterpark’s social media campaigns successful.”