As some of you guys know, one part of Kurtz McKinnon Creative is selling custom hand-lettering projects that I create. The art side of the business is entirely word-of-mouth, and most of that is driven through social media.
As such, I have joined some various closed Facebook groups that relate to my target customer audience, and have noticed a fabulous phenomenon that ties more closely to camp than it does to art sales: the discussion boards on local, closed “Mom Swap & Chat” groups.
Many of the posts on these boards are for selling and swapping stuff—there are always some great deals on strollers, maternity wear, etc. However, beyond the pure transactional functionality of the site, moms (and dads, but mostly moms on my pages) will post just about anything on these boards to get parenting or life advice.
Actual quotes from one of my pages:
"My 9 month old is basically exclusively breastfeeding & just within that last couple weeks started eating fruit & veggies. He broke out in hives on his skin when he had avocado (just on contact where the avocado touched his skin-within minutes) & same thing today after a couple tastes of plain hummus. Except a lil worse today b/c it wasn't just where food got on his skin. Cleared up within an hour or so after bath etc but I am baffled by this reaction to fruit & veggies..any insight or experience? There was no nuts, dairy, wheat etc."
"I love to snack. Just mindlessly dump food into my face at the end of a long day. On what types of foods do you snack? I need inspiration, and the peanut butter is almost gone."
So I'm sitting at the dog park and I am appalled at how this football coach is speaking to his junior high school age players. My nephew played all through high school and I'm sure, even at that age, his coaches weren't yelling obscenities at them or belittling them the way this guy is. How embarrassing for him. Glad I'm not a parent of one of those young boys….”
"Concerned parent alert: Parents, if your two blonde daughters drove themselves to school today in a white grand Cherokee, they could use a gentle reminder of the dangers of impatiently pulling around cars turning left. They nearly got clipped by pulling around a turner at Cross St. (into my lane)!!! I'd want someone to tell me if these were my kids. Too young to be this impatient!!"!"
10, 15, 20…even 100 comments will be posted in response to these inquiries, whether about something as insignificant as snacks or as significant as teen driver safety . Sometimes on the medical ones, the responders will say “CALL YOUR DOCTOR!” but others bring up all sorts of remedies, hypotheses and more. Posters will respond with enthusiastic thanks, report back on any solutions they tried, and genuinely build friendships with the other parents on the chat. It’s really an interesting phenomenon.
In some respects, the responses on the "Mom Swap" have replaced the advice of formally-trained professionals, because moms trust other moms.
Then time for camp rolls around.
What do you think this mom did?? (way to go, Black River Farm and Ranch!)
And this mom??
It’s time to become a member of these swap pages in your key camper areas—I would recommend sharing this article with some of your strongest parent advocates, and asking them about their Facebook group involvement, and show them how powerful it can be if they are able to advocate in this space on your camp's behalf.
Although I recommend the proactive approach, you also better believe that if something negative happens at your camp, the moms and dads will blast it all over their Facebook group, too. Nip any customer service problems in the bud before you have 100 parents complaining about your online registration system all over the inter-webs (I speak from personal experience here). Consider joining as many groups as you can in your local camper areas so you can be on the lookout for any commentary--positive, negative or neutral--about your camp.
And, as a special bonus, people sell stuff all the time dirt-cheap on these...from sleeping bags and tents to art supplies. What a great way to get some extra gear for your camp or for your life. I for one am really sad I missed these: