This past year NPR published an article about how the National Park Service (NPS) was making a strong effort to reach minority groups. The NPS has been having trouble engaging with minority groups for years. Even though minorities make up 40% of the U.S. population, they only make up 20% of the NPS visitors.
One of the issues that the NPS faces is that people from minority groups didn’t grow up going to the parks, so they aren’t bringing their children. It is a big fear for the NPS, because minority populations are growing rapidly, which could lead to low park attendance in the future. The NPS has traditionally marketed attending the parks as an independent experience, and that isn’t very appealing to collectivist minority groups. They want to have experiences with their whole family around.
Some of the other problems minority groups reported were being busy with work, not having the money to pay park attendance, and not knowing much about the parks. Last year the NPS started the ‘Find Your Park’ social media campaign to target a diverse audience and to create awareness. Since beginning the campaign, they have seen record attendance at the parks. Since social media channels such as Instagram and Twitter are more popular among minorities, this was a good strategy to reach more people.
Even though the NPS has begun engaging with people through social media, there are still a lot more opportunities for them to reach minority populations by using emerging media. Perhaps they could approach prominent minority emerging media influencers (bloggers, YouTubers, etc.), and have them spend a day at a nearby park and then share the experience they have with their followers. Or maybe they should could seek out a celebrity endorsement through social media that would appeal to minority groups. ‘Find Your Park’ has been a great start, and I hope to see the NPS build on that momentum!
How do you think the NPS can improve its presence on social media to engage minority groups?
Here is a screen shot of some of the photos from #findyourpark!