Last week's blog focused on understanding why Instagram is crucial to every golf course marketing strategy. Instagram is a photo-sharing app that helps picturesque accounts gain recognition. This blog breaks down exactly how golf courses are using Instagram.
The Study on Golf Course Marketing:
On February 14, 2017, we conducted a study on the top golf courses marketing strategies via social media in the Arizona market. We were interested in seeing how many golf courses and country clubs used Instagram, how many posts they had, how many followers and followings, and the quality of their content on each post (hashtag, geotag). We profiled golf courses in the Valley and began our search.
The results were as expected: out of 75 golf courses, 27 did not even have an Instagram account. Of the 48 courses that did have an Instagram, 12 accounts had fewer than 10 posts and have been active over 3 years. What's even worse, 75% of the accounts on Instagram weren't active. The hashtag usage was widely varied. Commonly there were 3-8 hashtags on most pictures and geotags were used sparingly. On average there were 85 posts per golf course.
What Does This Mean for Golf Course Marketing:
This means that golf courses are using antiquated systems of communicating with their golfers (email marketing, only having a Facebook page, paid advertisments). We discussed in the previous blog the amount of people on Instagram, how much time they spend on the app, and the trends in the future. The fact that golf courses are not utilizing this platform also stems from their lack of knowledge on the best practices for Instagram.
The relationship between Hashtags and Followers:
Golf courses that use 5-15 hashtags per post have seen a direct impact on how many followers they have and how many likes are on their posts. Golf courses that use 5-15 hashtags have on average 4-21 followers per post where as golf courses that use 0 to 4 hashtags generally have 0-4 followers per post. Granted, there are some outliers. TPC Scottsdale uses no hashtags but their publicity stems from the Waste Management Phoenix Open and their "like" amount per post is average. We will go into which hashtags are best used later.
What does posting quantity have to do with it?
Posting quantity is the bees knees to social media. The reason a user will follow an account is because of the content they post. When an account posts more frequently, there is a better likelihood of being discovered by outside users.
Let's take a look at Troon North Golf Club Instagram. With 387 posts, this account has more posts than the average (85 posts). Commonly, Troon North uses 1 to 5 hashtags per post which has gained them almost 7 followers per post which is a rather large amount for such few hashtags. What makes Troon North's Instagram pop aren't their photos, but rather their funny and informative videos. The only thing we would suggest Troon do differently is their hashtags. They already have such great content, centralizing on their hashtags may improve their reach 10x. Nonetheless, Troon North Golf Club is a great example of how to have a professional and attractive Instagram feed that golfers want to follow.
Golf courses are notoriously slow at adopting new technology, so it's not surprising that most haven't taken advantage of new technology. Check back next week to learn more about Instagram hashtags and why they work so well. Subscribe to our blog to receive email notifications when we post more of our free golf industry knowledge.