One question that comes up a lot is how to effectively use social media to market your sports team.
Social media is such a broad term but each channel is very, very different. Different levels of engagement in different ways, different ways to communicate, different audiences etc. Lumping them all into one article is definitely not helpful.
The platform chosen for part one of series is the giant that is Facebook.
So, strap in…here we go!
There’s no getting away from it. Facebook is HUGE. An absolute giant with 2.2 BILLION active users per month.
That’s a lot of people to potentially put your team in front of. It isn’t, however, as simple as merely posting your information and getting 2.2 million people engaging. Sorry about that.
Many people make the mistake that just posting content on your page equals people seeing your page. Essentially, due to Facebook’s algorithms, unless you regularly engage with the page or you have paid to promote and boost posts, the people who actually see your posts can be quite small. You may have 20,000 page likes but only 100 people seeing your posts. There are, however, plenty of ways to encourage page engagement and increase awareness. Engagement is the key and, let’s face it, that’s what people want to do with your team. Engage.
So…what can you do?
Stop Selling! – My biggest tip is my first tip. If the only content you’re consistently getting out is a sales message you need to change your tactic (and this applies to all your platform marketing) . If you check your reach from your posts where you’re selling something versus when you’re giving something away or posting something of value you will see a massive difference in views. Nobody wants to be sold to. Don’t get me wrong, you need to sell your stuff. You need to tell people when you’re playing and against who. You need to launch your new merchandise or promote your events but you need to be doing much, much more alongside that. The more value posts you get out there the better your overall reach will be and the more people will start engaging with your page. Then they’ll start seeing your ‘sales’ posts in their timeline. But if that’s ALL they see they’ll start to zone out. It’s dull.
Plan your content – Social media marketing is like any marketing. You need a plan or else it is just scattergun marketing and reactive. You know who you’re playing and when at the start of the season. You know when a game falls near an important calendar date for example. You know who your big rivals are. You know when the big games are coming. So many other businesses would love to have that advantage!
You should also plan when your ‘sales posts’ will be for the game or other events during the week. Then build content around that. What players events in the community do you have coming up? Put those down on the plan. What sort of posts perform well? Put those in the plan.
Interact and engage – If you work in sport you are in a privileged position as you have content coming out your ears. Use your assets. Your players will no doubt have a weekly schedule. When they’re training (training sessions can provide fabulous video content), when they’re at an event etc. Getting your players involved and making them visible is great for engagement. Remember there is no limit on photos and text on FB so play around with what works.
- Always go behind the scenes. People want to see things that they don’t normally see.
- Ask questions and do a player Q&A to get to know a player better.
- Post video of drills.
- Use photo competitions.
- Ask stat questions (anything involving a question is great for interaction)
- Use nostaligia posts. ‘On this Day four years ago we…’ Nostalgia is great as it creates lots of discussion and often brings older supporters back into conversations when they might have drifted away for one reason or another.
- Use images on all your posts that look enticing and exciting. Use a tool like Canva to create really great graphics.
Live Video– Facebook Live is a great feature for sports teams. You can stream training live, team travel, game build up, live Q&A with supporters etc. It’s quick and simple and can really open your audience up if your viewers share the live stream. Just make sure you have a good connection and good light for filming otherwise it can look very amateur. Where possible always use a lapel mic too.
Facebook Live Videos Are Watched 3x Longer Than Videos That Aren’t Live
Events – The events tab on Facebook is a brilliant little tool for marketing your event. All your home fixtures and any other events should be added as an event. This should be done as soon as you have your fixtures. Events are great. You can description, photo, video and ‘Buy tickets’ link. Then you can start inviting people. As soon as a person clicks ‘Going’ it comes up on their own facebook feed. So their friends see it.
People who are going can invite their friends. Conversation can be had within the event. Updates about the game can be put in the event (who’s playing, what entertainment is on during the game, any special news) and the event can be shared and shared again across timelines.
You can also boost and promote your event (really useful if it is a cup game or a one-off) which helps it reach even more people. Counting down the number of tickets left for the event is also a really powerful marketing tool. People will get FOMO (fear of missing out) and the old scarcity in marketing trick works beautifully.
Facebook Ads – As mentioned above Facebook really want you to pay to promote your content so it is seen by more people. The good news is this is relatively inexpensive. Especially given all you need to do in sport is sell a few tickets for it to have paid for itself. The bad news is that to do it really well isn’t THAT easy. If you want to get really technical you can start talking about facebook pixels on your website.
My suggestion is that you invest in sending a member of staff on a training day to really maximise facebook ads. What I will say is the FB ads DO really, really work if you do them properly and it is absolutely worth not getting left behind with this one. I recommend The Marketing Geek Martin Jolley-Jarvis for training.
Data and analytics – What works? What is your data telling you? Keep an eye on high-performing posts and try to repeat where possible. Really key thing is looking at conversions from any Facebook ads so you can see who is buying. If you keep doing the same thing you’ll always get the same result. Using the data to learn and tweak your marketing message is really key.
If this all still seems something of a minefield we can help. We can work with you to create and deliver your plan for all our marketing. We have lots of options available.
Just visit www.mahersconsulting.co.uk for more info or give us a call 07887552888