23 Tips to Promote Your Recreation Activities Using Social [Updated 2022]

Written by CivicPlus

Tips for using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Pinterest, and LinkedIn to promote your recreation activities.

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Social media is a relevant, inexpensive, way to promote your recreation activities in your community. With the proper tools and processes in place, it doesn’t have to add much time to your existing promotional processes and workflows, and it can be an impactful way to engage your community.

With 4.65 billion social media users in the world, it’s a good bet your residents are using these platforms to engage in your community. What follows are 23 proven best practices for promoting your community’s recreation events using social media.

Civic Tip: As you read our tips, know that you don’t have to be active on all the social media accounts referenced. Leverage the platforms you have in place today, or add one more that you think may fit your community if you have time to manage it properly. If your community is not using social media at all today, we recommend starting with just a Facebook account as the best way to reach the greatest number of citizens possible, and then adding a second account, such as Twitter, in the future.

General Tips

  1. Promote everything on social. Every time you open any new class, course, or league for registration, promote it via all your social media channels. Include a link for the public to register online directly using your recreation management software.
  1. Announce last calls. The day before registration ends for classes and leagues, send a series of “Last Call” posts, tweets, and messages to create a sense of urgency. Include a link to register online.
  1. Always include photos in your posts. Photos are more likely to gain the attention of residents scrolling through news feeds.
  1. Use high-quality local photos and imagery. Stock photography is a great alternative, but when possible, obtain release forms so that you can use engaging photos of real people in your community, at your local facilities, to promote classes and events.

  2. Use video whenever possible. Just as photos are more engaging than text-only posts, videos are more engaging than photos. Again, you may need release forms, but including a video of last year’s little league baseball team celebrating its victory as you promote this year’s league registration will help you generate interest and sign-ups.

    Civic Tip: Don't have an on-site videographer? Many people today consider themselves amateur photographers and videographers. Ask community members (via social) to come out and shoot footage of important events. In return, you'll give them a photo or video credit and tag their social media account, which can help them grow their personal social engagement while you gain free access to quality videos.

  3. Share recorded videos of key events. Record portions of sporting events or classes and use the footage to create promotional posts to encourage registrations the next year. Who wouldn’t want to sign their daughter up for soccer camp after seeing a video of girls her age feeling confident and forming friendships?
  1. Promote Events on your website. Share any news articles or blog posts that you create on your municipal website about your recreation programs on all your social media channels, especially Facebook and Twitter. Remember to include photos or videos.
  1. Promote your people. Create brief bios for your community instructors if you haven’t already, and promote them individually via social media. Encourage your instructors to share the posts with their followers as well. Remember to @ tag your instructors and encourage them to share posts about their classes across their social networks as well.
  1. Encourage the public to post testimonials. After your residents have registered for community activities using your recreation management software, encourage them to share their anticipated participation on social media. A robust recreation management software will allow people to directly generate a social media post to encourage their friends and family to view the same course registration details.
  1. Invest in scheduling software. To help you manage your social media campaign, invest in a resident communication tool that will allow you to schedule social media posts and other communications in advance, via multiple platforms and channels. Start your week by spending 30 minutes scheduling your posts in advance, and then add to them as needed.

Tips for Facebook

  1. Use Facebook Events. For individual community classes and one-time events, create a Facebook event page to promote the event, and to allow people to RSVP that they are attending. By RSVPing to your event, it will create a status update in their news feed, sharing with their friends and followers that they are attending—a source of social sharing and free advertising.
  1. Consider paid Facebook advertising. Use paid social to promote your most financially profitable community events, classes, or courses. For example, for a few weeks before you open your community’s softball league for registration, invest in a Facebook advertising campaign to promote registrations. Facebook allows you to target specific demographics, and easily set a maximum budget and campaign duration.
  1. Live stream events. Use Facebook Live to stream live footage of key community events, like the final five minutes of the junior basketball league play-offs, or part of a demonstration of glass blowing from one of your art classes. Facebook Live offers an easy-to-use platform to engage with citizens using live broadcasts and will very likely get citizens thinking about signing up for future opportunities.

  2. Use Facebook Polls Solicit resident feedback using Facebook polls. Ask the public what types of classes and events they’d like to see offered in their community in the future using an easy-to-manage Facebook poll.

Tips for Twitter

  1. Promote In-the-Now Reminders. Twitter is a medium best used for hyper-time-relevant news and information. Use it for last-call reminders, opening day announcements, and sign-up deadline notifications. When sharing news and promotions about your community events on Twitter, add relevant hashtags to help members in the community not already following you to find your stories. For example, if you’re promoting registration for your new archery class, add a hashtag for your community name, and consider such additional hashtags as #archery and #archerylessons #CommunityNameEvents

Tips for Snapchat

  1. Reach Gen Z. Snapchat is an ideal social platform for creative social influencers in our younger generations. It allows you to capture your audience’s attention with photos, videos, drawings, and corresponding clever captions. Be as creative as possible and use Snapchat’s integrated tools and filters to spread the word about seasonal classes, local community events, and open sports league registrations.

Tips for Instagram

  1. Keep it visual. Use Instagram to upload photos and videos taken at recreation events in your community. Just like with Twitter, use hashtags, and add location identification tags for your community facilities. Promote residents attending events to tag your community profile as well to increase shares and followers. Use the Stories feature for in-the-now updates about each day's top events. For example, use it to recap your youth soccer championship game, from the first video clip of players running out on the field to each goal, to the final handshakes and winning team celebration.

Tips for Pinterest

  1. Create Boards for key events and teams. Create a Pinterest Board for each of your primary community recreation events, leagues, and classes, and cultivate photos as a further strategy for promoting community programs.

Tips for LinkedIn

  1. Reach potential instructors. Like Facebook, LinkedIn offers targeted advertising opportunities, which can help you find instructors, coaches, referees, and other professionals. Without the need to spend significant ad dollars, you can target professionals in your community based on their interests, ages, hobbies, etc. For example, target active adults between 18 and 65 with ads for your adult, community soccer league.

Tips for TikTok

20. Lean into the latest craze. TikTok is a video-based platform. Many users leverage it to create entertaining videos in which they execute short clips of themselves doing the latest dance craze, telling jokes, or sharing key moments in their lives. It will take some video capturing and editing capabilities by a team member or a passionate intern, but you can use TikTok to share fun and funny videos captured at events with Gen-Zers (and their parents—yes, they are on TikTok too).

21. Involve your community leaders. Discover the latest dance craze on TikTok and then film your mayor and town council members giving it their best execution. Did someone say viral content? Y

22. Film sports challenges. For example, see how many times it takes your mayor to hit a Steph Curry-inspired half-court shot. If they nail it on the first try, you'll have captured social gold.

23. Share user-generated content. If the idea of creating regular TikTok content feels daunting based on your current staff and workflows, leverage your local social experts by sharing user-generated content from your local events and parks.

No matter how many platforms you use, by following these best practices, you’ll easily amplify the reach of your recreation promotions and increase citizen participation.