Social media is fast becoming the go to form of communication between organisations and customers. It has made the connection so easy, personal and quick that you have no other choice than to jump on board and harness the powers of the ever expanding social media world.

Social media platforms provide a highly accessible communications medium for sports administrators, fans, athletes, coaches and educators alike. Australia has readily adopted the use of social media, with around 14 million Australians using Facebook every day! Given the decline of traditional media, on-line media is becoming ever more important and gives sport organisations the opportunity to make news, whilst also managing their messages.

As part of an over-arching marketing strategy, social media can assist sport to potentially enhance its level of community engagement; increase levels of participation and over time improve sustainability via new income streams. It’s also a great way for grass-roots clubs to connect with their members and potential members to supplement recruiting efforts and promote club activities to your community.

On the whole, the use of social media is a positive experience for individuals and organisations but it should be noted that there are potential ‘risks and traps’ for users, including both organisational and individual ‘reputational’ damage. Many of these can be mitigated and avoided with an appropriate level of user awareness, effective risk management, guidance and sound administrative practice. Before you post on social media consider these points:

  • who it is attempting to engage with
  • what are the outcomes it wishes to achieve
  • how will it control its usage across its organisation
  • how will it measure the success and/or failure
  • promote positivity as much as possible

Here are 3 points that will assist you and your club with effectively using social media to engage with your current members as well as potential members and sponsors.

 

1. What are your club’s objectives?

Your social media communications should reflect your club’s objectives. If your club is focused on attracting new members then having a closed Facebook group is pointless, a Facebook fan page will work much better for you.

If your club’s objectives include securing more volunteers, then your social media should reflect this with “volunteer of the month” and other recognition strategies.

If you want to engage the younger members of your club, then using Twitter to post results as they happen will make them feel involved, especially if they see their name up in lights, and more likely to renew their membership year on year.

2. Understand the value propositions of both Facebook and Twitter

To use social media tools effectively, you should try and understand their strengths and weaknesses. Facebook is an informational tool that is easy to use and perfect for keeping your members updated on the goings on at the club including events and fundraisers.

It is also great at allowing the club to attract potential new members by encouraging the general public to visit and like your club’s facebook page. What it is not good at is real time updating of information.

A club that updates their Facebook page 20 times in a day is likely to lose their followers. However in the Twittersphere, you cannot update enough. In fact, Twitter followers expect a constant stream of information. And that makes Twitter a perfect tool for results posting and event day updates where there are lots of activities happening that can be promoted through your club’s Twitter feed.

Sports Community encourages clubs to have both a Facebook and Twitter presence and to have a mix of informational communication (volunteer of the month, upcoming events, and so on) and real-time updates (results).

3. Engage your followers

Variety is the spice of life, and that also applies to social media. A Facebook page that has the same information posted day in, day out, will not capture the imagination of your club members or potential new members.

Facebook allows you to post images and video. It allows you to post links to other interesting sites and articles. The list below represents the different types of communications you could include in your Facebook posts:

  • A statement – eg. “training is cancelled today”
  • A picture
  • A video
  • A link
  • A question
  • A poll
  • An invite to an event
  • A joke

Once you have posted some content it is important that you monitor the likes/shares/favourites/retweets you receive for the post as well as what type of post it was (video/link/picture etc.) and what time you posted it. This is extremely important as it will give you an idea of when you are best engaging your audience and how you can maximise your reach in future posts.

Conclusion

Many clubs choose to ignore social media treating it as the tool for the “young ones” but what should be happening is club committees own their social media and develop a strategy to make sure it is used as a tool to achieve club objectives.

Most clubs have members that are proficient in the use of Facebook and Twitter, the mistake the club makes is letting them loose with no direction and no goals. Change that and your club will reap the benefit of these awesome tools.

 

Did you catch last weeks blog? Would you like some more useful tips and tricks to help grow your club? Visit the article ‘6 Factors for Volunteer Retention’ to help retain your recently recruited volunteers.

Don’t forget, if you need any information about our latest range of Spartan products and prices or if you would like some more useful tips and tricks about clubs, visit our club sports home page or give us a call on 1300 785 605.

Reference and Further Reading

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-facebook-reach-actually-works-james-kliemt

http://www.ausport.gov.au/site_tools/social_media

http://goodsports.com.au/resources

http://www.thecgf.com/games/2014/CGF-G2014-Social-Media-Digital-Engagement-Policy.pdf

http://corporate.olympics.com.au/files/dmfile/2014_Media_Guidelines_FINAL_Schedule_5.pdf

http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/marketing_sales/demystifying_social_media