Using Social Media to Drive Revenue:
The Power of Photos
Park owner shares secrets of success
Social media can deliver some pretty powerful revenue-generating opportunities for your park, but only if you know how to use it. We asked Erin Thiem, who co-owns ARVC member-park Inn Town Campground in Nevada City, Calif. with her husband Dan Thiem, to share a few of the secrets of her online success.
Even though Inn Town Campground has only been open for two years, Thiem honed her social media skills with the other business she and her husband own, the Outside Inn, also in Nevada City.
“Outside Inn is a remodeled 1930s motor court motel that’s been in the family for 20 years, but we've owned it for the last seven-and-a-half years. When we took over ownership, I decided that my creative outlet would be to write a blog for the motel on things to do in our area.“
“I think my most recent one was about a local craft fair,” she says. “The one before that was about an indoor climbing gym. It doesn’t really have much to do with the motel itself, but it helps draw people there.”
Thiem started blogging about their new campground while it was still in the construction phase. “I took all of those skills that I already had from being an active local blogger and using social media, and just applied them to telling the story about our campground.”
THE POWER OF PHOTOS
She also hired a professional photographer and staged a photo shoot to give future campers a good idea of what the campground would look like. “That has paid off so many times over,” she says. “Having that collection of really high-quality images was probably the best marketing tool I could have done.” She says having these images also made it easier for them to get coverage in local publications.
“Once we opened, I continued to share with people about the things to do at the campground, as well as things to do in our area.”
“I think I think what's unique about my perspective is I am really passionate about visual storytelling. I wouldn't call myself a professional photographer, but I have taken many, many photos for the blogs. I feel like that gives me an advantage to understand how to tell a story through visuals.”
She is careful about how she uses photos. “If I ever put someone direct center into the photo, then, generally speaking, I will ask their permission. But most of the photos, I try to not have it be up close to the camper. I also won’t post a photo of someone else's children without the parents’ permission.”
“As someone who takes her own photos, I'm also very aware of copyright infringement laws. You can't just do a Google search and find a photo to use in your marketing. It’s amazing how many other business owners don't know that small detail, that they should have permission to use images in their marketing collateral. I would hate for someone to get in trouble because they don’t know that.”
Thiem says that if you’re going to write a blog for your park, it’s important to set a regular schedule. “When I first started blogging for the Outside Inn, I did it two to three times a week. When we opened the campground, that became an unrealistic goal. So now I have a weekly blog, but I'm consistent about it.”
She writes a blog post for the campground once a month. Recent topics included Nevada City summer camping, kicking off the camping season, shoulder season camping and an introduction to the park’s new Riverside Retro travel trailer rental unit. She always includes plenty of photos in her blogs to help tell the story.
This is the first story of a three-part series called “Using Social Media to Drive Revenue”. Stay tuned for Part 2, “Generating Interest with Instagram” and Part 3, “Setting Priorities”.
Photo provided by Erin Thiem, Taken by Lenkaland Photography