February 27, 2023

Matt Stephens: Run Fun Social Media Contests During the Offseason

Matt Stephens is the PGA General Manager at Blackstone National Golf Club in Sutton, Massachusetts.

Matt Stephens on the importance of running fun social media contests during the offseason:

If you are a facility that has a true offseason, like we do in the Boston area, consider running offseason social media contests. Besides promoting any special holiday deals or merchandise offerings, we also run contests, like “Guess Our Opening Day” or “Guess the First Hole in One” (the date, not the person.) We have found those to be great vehicles for engagement, costing very little, but with a lot of payoff, especially for the public. And engagement when there’s five inches of snow on the ground is a big boost for anyone. It was originally the brainchild of my colleague who runs our Facebook page Marnie, trying to keep us on their minds in the middle of winter.

Matt Stephens on the business impact of running fun social media contests during the offseason:

We have 6,000 Facebook friends who we want to have thinking about us during the winter and vice versa. We’ve done this for about 8-9 years and it helped us open up a constant dialogue between the public and us. That’s the important thing here: we’re a semi-private facility. The goal in this initiative is to reach the public. Specifically that group of frequent golfers that knows we’re here, may not think of us on December 15th, but is always thinking of us on June 15th. If you do guess the date or first ace accurately you typically receive a free twosome or foursome of golf plus lunch, all for free. It’s basically a day at the course, if you want to look at it that way. Zooming out, avid golfers engage all the time, 12 months a year. Casual golfers may find us only when they’re looking for us. But frequent golfers? They know we’re there in the spring and summer, now this helps us get to them in December. (We do have plenty of programs for beginners as well, it should be noted.) Two other important things: we’re driving people to OUR website and OUR Facebook page, not a third-party website for this. And finally, the program is free for us, and between the free twosome/foursome and lunch it’s a drop in the bucket for us in terms of money “lost” for the overall year, and we’ve upped engagement and sparked a great conversation. That is a win for everyone.

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