Why is it you never hear anything about a private country club until it burns down or is foreclosed upon? I find this rather sad since I know there are a lot of interesting things going on at thousands of private country clubs around the world. Business Golfers, especially, would like to know since private country clubs are the place to affordably to play a lot of golf. Social Media would really, really help private country club in a number of ways.
Here are four reasons why Country Clubs need to get their arms around how to use social media.
1. Address Club Issues
It is one thing for a member of a private country club to receive a club’s newsletter in an email, but another thing to change their thinking of what is in the newsletter is anything more than canned promotions for things they already know the club is doing. What is missing in all the communications to private club members is frank information on where the club is actually going and how the ownership or management are dealing with the issues the club is going to be facing in the foreseeable future.
Country Club members are no dummies and since 2008 have started to turn to outside media sources to find out how their club is dealing with the economy. Unfortunately, they are NOT seeing anything on how their club stands in their industry. This leads them to wonder if the club’s ownership is doing anything or just sticking its head in the sand in denial the economy is a concern.
It is for certain all private country club management teams are dealing with economy issues. No matter if the member is an equity ownership agreement or just a dues paying member, what their country club does in reaction to dealing with the challenges of the economy are their shared concerns. Not hearing anything about their club from anyone builds stress, tension and low morale within the membership. Once the membership gets a feeling of uncertainty it is hard to win their loyalty back.
What would help eliminate stress and tension amongst a private country club membership is to provide them with access to information about the private club industry that is not framed inside a promotional advertisement. Every private country club should have a blog that is updated frequently with relevant, none promotional, information members can read that answers questions they may have about how the club is managed. Simple information like how the swimming pool is maintained or what height the rough will be cut and why helps keeps members informed. A Club Blog also shows potential members how the club communicates to its members.
Social media, if done correctly, can help bring information to the membership more effectively.
2. Promote Members’ Interest
How many members of your country club do you actually know? Not just their name, but know who they are and what they do? From my surveys, approx 70% of members of private country clubs do not know over 90% of the membership. This ‘not knowing anyone’ feeling members get will eventually lead to them leaving the club since they don’t feel welcome. The club membership maybe private, but within the clubhouse doors being social leads to member harmony.
Social Media can help private country clubs help their members to get to know each other. Overall, social media can really help members’ total visibility to the membership as well as outside the club, if the member so chooses. Of course, if the private club wants to stay in the dark by not showing who their members are they can and it might not hurt their image too much. Social Media can be used in the ultra private realm of society as well.
Now days, most people are proud to let others know their personal involvements including their membership at a private club. In a consumer driven economy more visibility to what business people do outside the office is mandated. Trying to hide something from consumers works against a company executive’s positive image.
In this country’s economic uncertainty more business owners and executives are concerned with their business’ opportunity to develop and keep new customers. Country Clubs make for a great place to network a member’s business interest. The club’s use of social media could help its membership know more about other members’ business needs. The club’s promotion of members interests adds value to being a member and would set the club apart in its market.
A private social network for its membership to connect with other members can help keep members connected with activities going on at the club. Offline gatherings showing members how to use their social network will provide another reason for members to come to the club.
Social media plays a key part in accomplishing a higher visibility of a private club’s members.
3. Personable Marketing Opportunities
One of the most important parts of social media for private country clubs is offering potential members a more sociable look at what the club offers. Many club’s go for the stuffy web-site with Flash presentation in an effort to paint an upscale image of the facility. What actually takes place is the exact opposite of their intensions.
Flashy web-sites really do not encourage a potential member to look further than the front page. Classy imaging is OK. However, more sociable content is what the potential member is after. Consumers are looking for…What is the mood of the club’s membership? What is the attitude of the club’s members? Potential members to a private club search for the answer to the question…’How would I fit in at this club?’ All of these aspects of friendliness is what potential country club members look for when it comes time to choose a private club to join.
Having a person or person’s from the club reaching out to people online and offline to promote the club’s virtues can change the old stuffy image a private club may have established during the dark ages. Of course, if the private club still wants to stay hidden in medieval times, but does want to promote itself to people, social media can still be used.
Private country clubs sometime miss out on bringing in a prime candidate due to them not knowing how to use social media to paint a sociable, more open, image of their club. Social media can round out the message of upscale image and sociability.
4. The Power of Social Networking
There is nothing new about the power of online social networking and how it can be used as a marketing tool for any type of business. This includes private country clubs. Unfortunately, again, the private country clubs of the country just do not understand how to use social media in the social networking environment. Social networking for a traditionally offline social venue calls for tact and dedication from an individual who understands how to work online social networks.
It is true many social networks are not filled with potential private country club members. However, it is surprising to see what social networking will develop towards bring potential club members online and then into the clubhouse to take a look.
Social networking, if done correctly (which is the key) can show a private country club’s lighter side which appeals to today’s consumer. Having someone who represents the club reach out to people on Facebook and Twitter to socialize with them online really does draw attention to the club’s social side. Showing the world there is a REAL person online representing the club goes a long way to stimulating potential member’s interests. Knowing there is someone they can direct their questions to about the club does get the ball rolling towards promoting the club.
Social Media is a great way to market and is quickly becoming the standard method of promotions. Those businesses and private clubs who take steps towards learning how to use social media will be the clubs who meet the challenges they face. There really is no reason for private clubs to be left out.
Let me know how I can help.