From the beginning…
We have always been a confident brand with personality. We have always honored our name and reputation and have been proud of being innovators in our industry. In fact, we racked up a large number of firsts.
Today, we still reap the rewards and benefits of those early investments in our brand. Reflecting back, we were all in love with the touch of paper, 72-page brochures, magazine ads, newspaper ads, big mailing campaigns and, yes, even paper applications. It wasn’t guessing; it was targeted even if that meant pins on a map!
There was no Twitter 10 years ago, there was no Facebook, and Snapchat would’ve sounded ridiculous. Websites were simply a place where you viewed brochures.
Big Transition Years; Living Online
We used to watch TV from a family room, now we can watch it anywhere. Today, 90% of millennials spend a huge amount of their lives online. In most cases, 25 hours a week! Plus, say hello to smartphones and tablets. We see them sleep with their phones under their pillows or on their nightstand. Today’s empowered, hyper-connected teens are always “on”.
Moving Media Forward
When we first set foot on the shores of social media, we had no idea where we were going, but we knew we needed to be there. In our defense, it was new for everyone. We had a feeling that buying into social media would be essential for the future of our programs. Looking back, we’re so glad we got in when we did.
We heard about the growing popularity of Facebook and rushed out to create profiles and pages. We had Twitter, we had YouTube, but everything was disjointed. Looking back, those early struggles were the best thing to happen to us.
Early mistakes, which turned out to be lessons, got us to where we are today. It was our decision to grow with social media that recommitted us to getting it right. So much has changed with the way we communicate with our customers.
We stopped spreading ourselves thin and started to get organized. We set up our home bases, removing duplicate and extra profiles, and establishing a well thought out, branded, and personable presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. We used these channels to communicate information about the programs, our staff, our students and other information we knew our students and parents would appreciate.
Over the course of the next year, we showed our students and parents that we were there, we were interesting, and most importantly, we were listening.
Now we have a Facebook page and many groups where we routinely interact with 3,300 people.
We’ve built communities for students, parents, staff, and alumni of the programs. This has proven to be one of our most successful tactics as we have a direct channel to talk with each of our most important stakeholders.
In summer especially, we’re posting photos and videos on Instagram, but more importantly, we’re seeing our students posting to Instagram using the hashtag #jkcp. It’s generated thousands of photos for us helping us to reach countless new people.
We’re on Vine, Pinterest, Snapchat, and several other sites. But for JKCP, it’s less about what site we’re on, as it is about having a culture that meets our audience where THEY want to be and finding a way to engage them and create conversations.
Just Do It
You might look at all of this and say “this is social madness!”
We know more about our digital natives and their parents than anyone and it’s because we’ve worked to make sure our social media gets out of the way, so that we can build, listen, learn, appreciate and develop deeper relationships with our customers. We’re not in this to create more marketing noise. We “get it” now.
These tools have given us unprecedented reach, but also incredible depth. Our website traffic has ballooned, our students are more engaged than ever and we’re able to proactively address the needs of our customers on their turf.
Don’t be overwhelmed or paralyzed by the media options. Instead, focus on what your customers are already doing and begin building authentic relationships with them. Reach the social generation through relationships; speak to their lifestyle and tap into their emotions. That’s why it’s called “social” media; it’s meant to be about relationships. When you do this, people end up joining your brand instead of simply “Liking” it.
What will 2014 bring? Who knows, but always be prepared that change is inevitable and listen to the young people around you. Their habits are often the gold dust to the future!
To borrow a phrase from Nike, “Just Do It!”
For 35 years, Julian Krinsky Camps & Programs has been providing summer educational experiences and fun learning in the greater Philadelphia area. Students come from over 40 countries to the programs at the University of Pennsylvania, Villanova University and Haverford College.