It’s no surprise or secret that technology has been making its way into the golfing world. It’s already changed numerous games in drastic ways and it’s impacted virtually every industry in the world. Golfing, however, is still a relatively untouched game when it comes to new technology. Many golf courses are still using outdated methods to advertise and manage their courses and there’s also a serious lack of social media presence by golf courses.
One of the biggest reasons why golf courses seem to be avoiding social media is because it has a bad stigma among some golf course owners and players. It’s been reported that a large number of golfers find social media causes slow play on the golf course, resulting in frustration among loyal and long-time members. Social media also has an image of being used by the younger generation, and it can be quite annoying to see a group of younger players on their phones instead of focusing on the game and moving on to the next hole.
Changing the Approach to Social Media and Golfing
Many golfing courses attempt to advertise their services on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram, but the approach they take is surprisingly ineffective and it’s because of one statement that might be seen as controversial; they’re talking too much about golf.
It might sound strange to say that your advertising approach on social media is wrong because you’re talking about golf, but how many people do you think would search or talk about golf in the first place? According to some studies, 63% of the PGA’s television audience was over the age of 55 and that audience is going to continue shrinking because it’s not a game that is appreciated by younger audiences.
It can be argued that golf is a senior or adult game instead of being a physically demanding or active activity that many younger audiences prefer. However, that’s not a good argument considering you absolutely need younger players to join, talk about the game, spread it around and grow old with the course they play on. Golf’s core audience is slowly dying, and this is why we need to change the marketing approach. We need to start thinking about how we can get new players to try golf instead of enticing existing players to travel to your course.
The problem is social media is generally used by a younger audience, meaning that the audience of 55+ probably won’t see your advertisements on Facebook or Twitter. According to reports, the majority of users on Facebook is between 18 and 34, and the core audience (above 55) accounts for just 5% of all the users on the platform. In fact, they might not even understand how to use the internet very well, but as younger generations age and they start to look for hobbies they can get involved with, golfing may very well be on their to-do list which is why we need to start shifting the focus to getting newer and younger players into the scene and on your golf course.
Although younger audiences might have a somewhat bad reputation among loyal golfers, you should keep in mind that any game needs new and young players getting involved in order to grow the player base and introduce new talent–and that’s where the focus needs to be.
Appealing to a Younger Generation of Golfers
Now that we’ve explained why you should be shifting your focus to a younger audience and not just focus on the customer profile of your regular members, we can start developing new and fresh ideas to help grow your business with social media.
Firstly, don’t make your golfing advertisements all about golf. It sounds like a counterproductive idea, but the problem with most golfing content on social media is that it doesn’t speak to a younger audience. A large chunk of the revenue from a golfing course comes from auxiliary purchases such as overnight stays in hotels, cart rentals, ball purchases, food and even memberships or photo sessions. There are plenty of extra services you could advertise to draw in a wider audience and you need to utilize your location for different events and draw more people to your club to get them to try golf. Think about hosting some kind of party, consider hosting public events or even talk about your brilliant chefs to get more people visiting your course.
Secondly, create content and display it on social media with the purpose of getting younger audiences interested in golf. Don’t take the old and outdated approach of showing them why golf is a “cool” game because they’ll shrug it off. What the younger generation needs is a push in the right direction such as guides on how to play, how to pick clubs to play with, golf course etiquette and also beginner packages where they can play with or without tuition for a cheaper price.
Lastly, you have to be social on social media. It sounds like an obvious idea, but the idea of social media is that content should be informative or funny and then shared. Being controversial by angering an audience (such as comparing golf to another game or ranting about why new players aren’t trying golf) is a poor approach and has to be avoided. The better approach is to share golfing photographs and videos (they could be funny or light-hearted, it doesn’t need to be serious!), writing up and sharing guides to help new players, or even just sharing and retweeting the photos that people take of your course when they play. You should also add social media to the physical location of your course, such as encouraging people to use hashtags in their social media posts about you or even giving discounts that are exclusive web-only deals.
Utilizing social media is all about appealing to new players. You need to learn to be social when using platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and the focus should be on bringing new customers in and converting them to loyal players by teaching them how to play, giving them excellent content to read or watch and enticing them with exclusive deals.