If a picture speaks 1,000 words, how many words does a GoPro video of your campers being launched from The Blob speak? I'd venture to guess at least 17,000.The point is that visual media – especially, high-quality, action-packed pieces – can speak volumes about your camp. And they jump out in your audience’s social media feeds. The more you share, the more you're creating and upholding your brand - and ultimately growing your camp.
But in today’s social media landscape, basic photos only go so far. It's allllll about story - especially story told in a compelling visual way. Embracing new and innovative approaches to telling your story, and that of your campers, can transform your camp's marketing. Here are a few of our favorite ideas and examples for creative visual media.
1. #OneTake Videos
Take a look at this incredible video from Canyon Creek Camp. It's jaw-dropping-awesome, and if your eyeballs don't tell you that, just look at the shares. This camp social media masterpiece has been shared nearly 50,000 times! What’s so unique about it? If you didn't notice in the midst of the choreography and golf carting around, the video was taken in one single shot, AKA #onetake. This piece is perfect because it brings out the camp’s spirit, shows off the beautiful scenery, and, simply, is super entertaining. Just try not to smile while watching it!
2. Facebook LIVE Streams
Streaming video provides parents the chance to be a fly on the wall when camp is in full swing (which, to be honest, is what many of your parents wish they could do anyway!). Facebook Live is a great place to plug your parents and former camp people into for events like camp talent shows, award ceremonies and even times around the campfire. Not only will live streamed video give parents a chance to get a behind-the-scenes look into camp, but they’re also great for helping to reinforce parents’ trust in the camp. (Just go easy on how much you're streaming - see our post "Four Ways Camps Can Manage Helicopter Parents" for more info.)
3. Time-lapse Videos
Time-lapse footage is incredible for showcasing your activities and programming. A clever time-lapse or slow motion video can instantly spice up footage of camp races, archery programs, or ropes course adventures. This example, from Oswegatchie FFA Camp in Upstate New York, makes rock-climbing wall footage endlessly engaging.
4. GoPro It!
GoPro – the camera built for adventure sports – is an absolute must-have tool for summer camp. GoPro footage gives your prospective campers a first-person look at the adventures they can expect at your camp, which is a powerful tool for getting them excited. This video, originally shot at a summer camp in Illinois, is the perfect example of just how fun these videos can be.
5. Drone Footage
Want to show off the natural beauty of your camp? You need a camera-equipped drone. Drones make it easy capture a birds-eye-view of your camp in all its splendor – whether that’s a state-of-the-art sports facility, or a sprawling, lakefront campus. Camp Parsons, a Boy Scout camp in the Seattle area, did just that, by partnering with a local company. Take a look – the camp’s coastal property is stunning.
6. Narrative Promo Videos
As a camp, you probably have a promo video or highlight reel on your site. Camps, however, don’t just have to settle for highlight reels matched with voice-overs touting the benefits of camp. More and more camps are experimenting with narrative videos that tell stories of the camp experience, and seeing big returns from the investment. Birch Trail Camp for Girls, a Wisconsin overnight camp, created a powerful video for new families which effectively conveys how new campers often feel (and highlights how fun and transformative a summer at camp can be(!).
7. Music Videos
Whether you’re singing a favorite camp tune, or covering a song with an important message, a music video can give the promo video a new look. For example, Camp Simcha, a camp for kids and teens, recorded a cover of Andy Grammer’s “Back Home,” and created a music video to showcase the camp’s spirit.
8. Song Parody Videos
Parodies – of popular songs, movies or TV shows – can engage your audience, while showing off your camp’s unique spirit and beautiful location. Take a look at this example from Camp Robin Hood out of Markham, Ontario Canada. It gives a narrative look at a new camper’s experience, set to a tune from Beauty and the Beast. (AND WHO DOESN'T LIKE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST!?)
9. Sticky Note Videos
The humble sticky note. Who knew it could be such a powerful marketing tool for your camp? Take a look at this video from Camp Caroline. To mark the launch of a new website, the camp created a sticky note montage to highlight all the fun things kids do at camp, and it rocks. Sidenote: Check out Camp Caroline’s YouTube channel for other great parody and marketing ideas. These guys do some great stuff!
10. 360-Degree Photos
Both Facebook and Instagram have added 360-degree photo capabilities, making it easy for camps to upload panoramic photos. From the top of your camp’s climbing wall to sweeping lakefront views, take advantage of this feature to give campers and parents a new way to explore your digs.
11. White Board Videos
No one wants a watch a video of someone talking into the camera. And that’s why whiteboard videos are so popular. They give camps an engaging medium for discussing camp values, packing lists, or camper preparations – without having to do it as a static interview. Take a look at this example from Camp Stomping Ground in Upstate New York. It provides a fun, engaging look into what campers can expect. The bonus? Last we checked, there are lots of folks out there who can put these videos together in a cost-effective way.
Now what? Get out there and post something!
Feeling inspired but don't know where to begin? Here's some advice: Ratchet down your expectations, get out of your comfort zone, and just go for it. Create something. Post it - half the fun is in making it, after all! The odds are you're not going to go viral on your first post, but with a bit of practice you'll be well on your way.