As Tiktok continues to grow, especially with Gen Z, it is emerging as a tool that camps can use to recruit staff — and not only any staff, but staff who have the same interests in the activities that your camp provides. So, what is TikTok all about and how do you get started?
Create an Account for Your Camp or Camp Staff (If You Don't Have One)
Pick a username that is similar — if not the same — as the rest of your social media so that when you are discovered, the user will be able to then find you on other platforms like Instagram.
- Don’t create a business account if you are going to be using it for staff recruiting. It won’t allow you to use trending sounds.
- Put a video and a photo in your profile page, because in different places on Tiktok it will show both the video and the photo (presumably your logo).
- Make a short bio that tells your mission or the answer to your most frequently asked question for staff
- Until you get 1,000 followers you won’t be able to put a link in your bio, but you can link your Instagram. Make sure that your Instagram has Highlights for staff. The first story should be telling them how to find more information just like your website.
- Terminology: FYP (for you page) is a curated page based on your likes, comments, and the videos that you post. This is the most important one to know, because this is where a majority of the traffic to your videos will come from. I like how Pop Buzz (popbuzz.com/internet/viral/slang-tiktok/) explains a lot of terminology.
- Buttons on your screen: (left to right)
- Home (also known as FYP)
- Friends (this is where you see content from folks you have followed, though they will introduce you to similar accounts and ask if you want to follow them)
- Inbox (notifications where you can see likes, comments, and folks to follow)
- Profile gives you the ability to see videos you have made private, saved items like sounds and videos, and items you have liked (just like other social media). It makes a great place to catalog ideas.
Start Curating the “For You Page”
Spend 30–60 minutes scrolling through videos and liking or commenting on videos that you think your ideal staff person would really enjoy. It's important to be consistent and scroll for a little bit each day . . . you’ll see why in a minute.
- Give multiple staff members the log-in information and let them all like and comment on videos so that multiple pieces of metadata come into the algorithm.
- Save some videos that you think could be applicable to your camp
Record a Video
Dig out the content from this summer or use a staff member. I only put myself in front of the camera if I’m answering a question or it’s a more serious topic because I’m not my ideal audience.
- Don’t overthink it! The worst case scenario is that your video is only seen by 10 people and then it's forgotten about. Putting the first video out there should be fun.
- Experiment with sounds and trends and develop your unique style.
- Most folks only stay about for the first 10 percent of your video, so stand out and make them curious to stick around to find out for information.
Curate and Cultivate Your Content to Attract Your Ideal Staff Member
What makes your camp unique? What makes your camp the best place to work? Do you offer some awesome perks? This is where liking videos on your FYP and commenting on others’ videos happen.
- Some ideas we have had in cultivating our page:
- Answer Their Questions — both by the director and other staff members
- Try a Trend — Jump on a trend that is relevant
- Showcase Beautiful Spaces — Show off your camp or the area around it
- Staff Reviews — Let your staff take over and give a review of the camp. This can be funny, quirky, or serious.
- Document a Day in the Life — What does a day really look like for staff members?
- Create guidelines for use (simple ones with no more than five points) and then let your staff members take over the page. It's a great way to keep them involved and to announce returning staff.
- Set a timer and take 30 minutes or so a day to comment and like videos. Remember to keep them relevant to staffing and your ideal staff member .
- You don’t need to post multiple times a day — just consistently. Our camp posts three to five times a week and sometimes when we find great sounds or when a question comes in.
Next Level: Enable Creator Tools and Look at Your Analytics
This is a great intern project! Then they can tell you when you get the most engagement (if you want more) and what times might be better for you to post.
I hope that this helps you to be brave and reach out to try a platform that others already have success on. For my camp, She Summits Co., we are getting a significant number of applications just from TikTok and you can see the traffic to our website increases on a significant basis when we have videos that receive 10,000+ views and 2+ comments.
Photo courtesy of Teton Valley Ranch Camp in Dubois, Wyoming.
This blog was written on behalf of ACA's Project Real Job, whose goal is to support camps in their efforts to recruit, hire, and retain staff.
Amanda Hatley is an outdoor enthusiast who currently calls Old Town, Maine, home. She has worked in the camp and outdoor industries for 18 years, starting as a camp trip leader and now the owner of a summer camp and adventure travel business: She Summits Co. Amanda has a BBA from Boise State University and is currently working on an MBA. She loves spontaneous hiking adventures to new places and all things travel, especially getting lost in a new country. Amanda can be reached at: email@example.com.