The phenomenal growth of social media and in particular mobile usage offers tremendous opportunity for venues to stay connected to their members when they are outside the club walls. The key word here is “connected.” If you are simply posting “ads” for your concert, promotion or bistro special, and the viewer glosses over it, you haven’t made a connection or engaged that person.

You are missing an opportunity to strengthen the relationship between your club and your members and potential members and visitors.

The digital experiences that your target audience has with your venue need to be exceptional – through all digital touchpoints, but especially mobile.

Australians spend 10 hours and 24 minutes engaging with their Internet-connected devices every day. From checking email to time spent on Facebook and other social platforms, news, shopping, blogs and online games, people are on their devices many times throughout the day. For example, two-thirds of Australians check their smartphones first thing in the morning.

Your members (like you) are bombarded with ads and messages from every business-product-service that we have shown interest in on the Internet. So how do you make sure that digital communication from your club stands out and is sought out by your target audience online?

The key ingredient is the content. How you communicate your message is more important on mobile than what your message is.

Here’s an example that may provide you with some practical ideas that you can use to change your social and mobile strategy from straightforward advertising to a real engagement effort.

Club A has a concert coming up and wants to sell tickets, of course. Their agency or in-house design team creates an ad with a picture, date, time, etc., and this ad is used for print, website, in-house signage and a digital ad campaign. It’s all branded, consistent and done well. Let’s say that the concert is Jess Mauboy, so tickets sell out, and you’ve also reinforced your position in the market as the place with the best entertainment … great!

But all that doesn’t engage your members and potential members and visitors through their digital universe.

Club B is also selling tickets to a concert. In order to connect to and engage people where they spend the most time – on their phones – the following digital marketing efforts are executed:

  • Video greeting from a band member inviting people to come to the show.
  • Links to the band’s videos and articles are used as curated content.
  • Online contests to win tickets to the show and people post pictures of themselves in the band or artists T-shirt or answer trivia questions.
  • Time-lapse video is shown of your venue being set up for the show.
  • Behind-the-scenes video and photos are posted to bring the guest “inside” what’s going on.
  • Interview with the chef talking about preparing items from the contract rider and showing the green room set-up.
  • Sweeping video of the crowd during the show as they are on their feet dancing and singing all the words to a song.
  • Out-the-door interviews of people heading to the gaming floor or bar after the show, still aglow in the excitement.
  • Candid photos posted over the next few days with fun facts about how much beer was consumed or for your opt-in gaming market, how much was won on the gaming floor or a jackpot win that night.

In the above example, both clubs sold their tickets and had good nights on the floor. But Club B maximised member and player engagement by digitally connecting to people countless times, getting them involved in the event and drawing them in with content that evoked an emotional reaction of some kind – from nostalgia to amusement to excitement to “wish-I-was-there-that-looks-like-a-blast.”

Club B created a specific strategy and executed tactics to connect to their target audience. They touched their audience on the sites where they spend time, from Facebook to news and weather outlets to retail sites via paid posts.

Their messaging strategy required time and resources in order to make a deeper impact cut through the online chaos and engage with people over and over again for this show. There’s no doubt that Club B’s digital community is strong and yields goodwill, more visits, and even brand advocacy.

It takes a shift in resources and, most of all, thinking to touch and connect with your members and potential members on social media because they are more distracted and have more options than ever before. But what you are saying to your audience is, “We know you – you are part of our family – engage with us. We are spending time with you when you are not at our club.”

Source:  Adapted from an article Mark Astone, Raving Solutions Magazine, Issue 3 2017