Myrtle Beach Park Taps Power of Social Media
Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, S.C., had a successful first Facebook Fan Appreciation Weekend this past weekend (April 16-18), as more than 145 campground Facebook fans gathered at the campground for an interactive weekend to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the campground’s launch on the social networking site, according to a news release.
Participants came from eight states – including New York, Georgia, Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Ohio – to take part in games and competitions that were viewable online through live streaming video on Livestream, and video posted on YouTube and Facebook.
The Facebook Fan Appreciation Weekend had a ripple effect, with Facebook posts, T-shirt giveaways and voter polls generating more than 450,000 Facebook impressions and the Ocean Lakes Fan page gaining more than 100 new fans during the weekend event. On Saturday, the campground launched a fan page for its recreation department, and in nine hours, it had more than 150 fans.
“Our first Facebook Fan Appreciation Weekend was a big success,” said Barb Krumm, director of marketing and public relations for Ocean Lakes Family Campground. “Our goals were met. We used social media to increase interaction with our fans as the event unfolded, and the fans used it to communicate their fun with family and friends.”
During the weekend, conversations were stimulated both online and offline.
“Our fans had a great time and their comments can be seen on our Facebook fan page,” she said. “The fans were watched by their family and friends back home and we streamed video online during the activities, shot and uploaded nearly 700 photos to our albums and made more than 40 HD videos.”
Families At Event Share Experiences With Those At Home
Ocean Lakes teammates received excellent feedback from appreciative fans during the event.
A couple from Augusta, Ga., said their 10 grandchildren back home began calling their friends and telling them to log onto the Internet to view the festivities. They were impressed with how much fun their grandparents were having at Ocean Lakes.
“We came just for this event,” said James Drew. “My children and grandchildren were communicating back and forth about what was going on and waiting to see us during the activities. We’re going to have to bring them next year.”
On Friday evening, dozens of the Facebook fans took part in social-media themed mixers, called “Social Meetyas.”
More than 60 Facebook fans took part in Saturday’s mini golf tournament, “Golf Car Challenge” and “Golf Car Rodeo.” These activities had special meaning to the campers because a major part of Ocean Lakes’ culture includes traveling through the campground on golf cars. There are more than 5,000 golf cars on the 310-acre oceanfront camping resort property.
On Saturday night, the Facebook fans gathered on the beachfront and had a weenie roast and shared in conversations that they started earlier in the day. The winners of the Golf Car Challenge were announced (using the results of a Facebook poll) and the Golf Car Rodeo champions received special trophies made by Ocean Lakes’ golf car mechanics.
“We actually added some activities ‘on the fly’ to increase interaction,” said Krumm. “Anyone who watched our Livestream channel Friday night witnessed this with the ‘Musical Chair Share.’ That wasn’t on the schedule, but it got participants warmed up. We were amazed at how much fun fans from age 2 to age 70 were having.”
Ocean Lakes did not originally intend on live-streaming the mini golf tournament on Saturday, but the fans started calling family members to tell them to tune in and watch.
“I was standing there with my laptop, just making sure our fans made it to the tournament OK, when a mom and her teenage sons stood in front of me with a cell phone and began trying to direct their family at home to the link to watch,” Krumm said. “I opened my laptop, found the Wi-Fi signal and opened Podcaster to start streaming. The mom asked her son from the tee box, ‘Did they find the link to watch me?’ It was really great to see.”
This was the first time Ocean Lakes used Livestream to stream scheduled activities online. At one point, there were 45 viewers watching the video stream. Friday and Saturday’s Livestream generated more than 120 viewer hours with average streaming clips one to four minutes. Ocean Lakes teammates say this is just the beginning of what a social media-based event can achieve.
Organizing The Event
Fans had to RSVP on Ocean Lakes’ Facebook fan page. Attendees who registered by April 12 received a specially-designed T-shirt to commemorate the campground’s first anniversary on Facebook. Fans who couldn’t attend in person participated on the fan page and were included in special drawings for fan prizes. Ocean Lakes teammates would post on the fan page that the campground would mail a T-shirt to the first fan who sent a comment that said, “I want the shirt.” The first giveaway on Friday resulted in 15 comments in four seconds.
“Fans had so much fun that they were asking us what the date is for next year’s Fan Appreciation Weekend,” Krumm said. “That pretty much establishes this as an annual event.”
Since joining Facebook in April 2009, Ocean Lakes Family Campground has gained more than 13,700 fans. It was verified as an authentic Facebook fan page in February after passing the 10,000-fan mark. On average, more than 3,500 people visit the campground’s Facebook fan page each week with daily posts generating around 20,000 daily impressions.
For more information about Ocean Lakes Family Campground, visit www.oceanlakes.com or become a fan on Facebook.
About Ocean Lakes Family Campground
Ocean Lakes Family Campground is the largest campground on the East Coast and one of the largest in the United States. It has received numerous awards for excellence. It is the 2008-2009 National “RV Park of the Year” and has received that honor from the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) four times. In 2006, Ocean Lakes received the prestigious South Carolina Governor’s Cup for making a significant economic impact on South Carolina. Ocean Lakes covers 310 oceanfront acres with nearly one mile of beachfront. It offers 3,447 sites — 893 of which are large and pull-through to accommodate larger RVs. It was built by Mary Emily and Nelson Jackson and their five daughters, starting in 1970. It opened with 30 campsites and one bathhouse in 1971. On an average seasonal day, Ocean Lakes has 25,000 – 30,000 guests enjoying the countless amenities that have made it a local favorite and a national vacation destination.