Social Media Strategy; Have a Plan

Last week I wrote about using social media tools to open lines of communication within your team, and also helping to market and advertise for your club.  I also mentioned several of the platforms that I prefer to use with my teams.  But that brought me to an interesting question that I am often asked.  How do you know what platform is best for you and your organization?

While that may be a difficult question to answer because every team is different, I can provide you with some best practices that can  help you to organize your thoughts and provide you with a plan for success.

Define Your Goals: Every project needs to have a well-defined and achievable goal.  You have to know where you’re going, or else you are wandering lost.  Understand are you embarking on this program because you want to reach new players, provide updates to current players, or attract new sponsors? All of these are good ideas, you just have to understand which you’re going after, and set measurable markers for success.

Have a Plan: Once you have defined your goals for your team, you need to create a plan of attack.  All great coaches love game planning for opponents and this should be no different.  Devise a plan that touches all of your bases. 

This includes defining your audience.  Once that is defined then you can plan how you will reach them.  Understanding your audience will play a major role deciding which platforms are best for you to use.  For instance, if you have team that is young like a  U-23 team, then LinkedIn may not be the best way to reach your audience since that platform tends to attract more mature and business oriented users.

You don’t need to be on every social media platform.  You just need to be on the ones that your audience is using.

Be Consistent: I cannot overstate the importance of this rule.  While social media may give you instant access to people and news, it does not mean you will have instant response from your audience.  Just like when you are coaching your team, you developed a game plan, now stick to it and see it through.  Do not bail at the first sign of adversity, and please do not abandon your plan because you have lost interest, or become bored with what you are doing.

If it is at all possible assign social media outreach to a single person, and make this their job.  If the funds are available, hire a Social Media Manager.  If your team does not have that type of money, think about making Social Media Manager a position on the executive committee and build their responsibilities into the by-laws.

An added benefit of putting one person in charge of your account is someone is accountable for all the messaging, and the voice of your social media presence.  You will be able to insure your team provides a consistent message that aligns with the core values of your strategic plan.

Have a personality: Think of this as the icing on the cake.  You can set your goals, write out a plan, consistently post, but if your online profile has no personality, if you are not interesting, then you are just plain cake. With the advent of social media, people are inundated with a barrage of offers, deals, and information from every type of company, and personality imaginable.  As a result, most have developed a good ear for simply tuning out yet another sales pitch, or yet another bland statement.  A successful social media account is one that is engaging.  Reader need to know there is a person on the other end of the screen, not just a bot sending out pre-determined messages.

Do not be afraid to engage with fans.  Answer questions, post jokes, or interesting facts.  We all know that you want to tout your clubs purpose but there’s no need to only tout your clubs purpose.  Talk about what is going on in your industry, or find related articles that can help facilitate a discussion.

Spontaneity is the life blood of social media.  So do not be afraid to jump out and act on a current event, or comment on something that is relevant and happening within your realm (but remember always think before you post, and never post out of sheer emotion).   Oreo Cookies made a massive splash at the Super Bowl with one timely Tweet regarding a power outage.  The remark went viral, and Oreo was the talk of every major news outlet. 

 

Wrangling the social media market can be intimidating, and downright difficult.   But with a bit of vision, some planning, and hard work, even the smallest club and generate a massive online presence, and achieve their goals.  I will continue to look at strategies and tools to help bolster your social media drives.  Next week, we will dive into some of my favorite social media tools and app, that help to streamline my post.