It’s 2020 and the social media holy trinity – Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter – have risen supreme over the landscape of digital marketing and community making. With features such as live streaming (which can handle thousands of people tuning in at once!), to powerful marketing tools that bring your ads straight to your audience and easy to use features such as Instagram questions stickers, and Facebook's messaging plug-in – social media is an essential part of any team or organization's marketing plan. Keep reading for our tips on using social media for your team.
Um, why does social media matter to my team?
Hear us out. We’re not saying that you need to be the next Ben and Jerry’s and invest thousands of dollars into creating a polished feed with fancy scheduling apps and a dedicated social media manager. What we are saying is that social media allows you to stay connected with your loyal fans 24/7. You can let them know your team game schedule, chat about that amazing touchdown or homerun, and give live updates on your away games easily. It’s a great way to foster the community and camaraderie of game days digitally-- especially now that COVID has changed a lot of the normal ways that we connect.
Ok. So how do I do that?
Good question! Chances are that you already have some sort of Facebook page that exists out there. You might be posting irregularly, or your last post might be from 2018. Or *whispers* you might not even have a social media presence outside of that one team parents' posts. Regardless, here’s the step-by-step guide to using social for your team.
Using social media for your team
Step 1: Figure out what platforms make sense for you
There’s no need to open a social media account on all social platforms if that’s not what your team is about.
Facebook - If you’re looking to keep the community engaged, share updates and basic information Facebook is honestly your way to go. There’s also the fact that everyone from grandparents, your digitally suspicious dad, to your kiddos and their parents has a Facebook account.
Instagram - This social media app tends to favor more visual based content –a dance team or cheer squad might find it to be a great place to show off new uniforms and snazzy tricks, but it’s hard to build an engaged audience on here and not everyone has an account that they use frequently. That being said, consistency is key here and posting regular will boost your visibility in followers’ feeds!
Twitter – Twitter is a very niche driven platform: there's sports twitter, country-music twitter, journalism twitter and so many other communities. It values memes, witty conversation and shareable content. If you're not into that, and looking to just share information about your team, we wouldn’t recommend opening an account on this platform.
Tips for those of you opening an account for the first time:
- Use your team's name whenever possible. If it’s already taken use an underscore somewhere in the name, or a team abbreviation that your team is commonly referred to. Avoid long, clunky handles or you’ll put yourself at risk of not being found easily
- Facebook “@” handles are a pain in the butt to get changed (it can often take up to 6 months to have this changed) so make sure you like your “@”
- Have nice team logo and banner on hand to use in customizing your account – make sure these are sized correctly to your team (Sprout Social has an AMAZING guide to social sizes here)
- Have a good a short 150 – 200 words on hand about what your team is and where they play for your “about” and “bio” sections
Step 2: Administrative Tasks a.k.a clearing out the cobwebs
This is mostly aimed at those of you with older inactive accounts. But there’s a few tips in here for newbies using social media for your team.
- Figure out what your log-in information is, as well as what emails are tied to your account. Make sure to write this down in a secure and easy to access place so that whoever runs your social page doesn't have to send a dozen texts to three different people in order to let the fans know that your baseball game is canceled due to the rain.
- Make sure that all “about” info is up to date and accurate
- Give admin privileges to only those directly responsible for posting on the page. And rescind admin privileges from anyone who doesn't need them anymore. (How to do that here)
- Open a Canva account – the free version is all you really need. This will allow you to create graphics and schedules that look cute and are instantly customized to the size of the social account that you’re posting on. Plus it allows you to create a “team palette” so that you can plug in your team colors and create branded graphics around that quick & easy.
Step 3 – Look at how the pros in your field do it
The final step is figuring out what you want to post. We recommend posting pretty regularly-- three times a week is the sweet spot for most platforms-- and varying your content. A funny meme, quizzes and polls, or sharing the link to an cool Bleachers Report article goes a long way in keeping your fans engaged. If you're stuck for ideas we recommend checking out what pro accounts in your sport are doing and customizing it to your needs. Here are some of our favorite pro accounts:
Football - The Carolina Panthers
Baseball - The Houston Astros
Basketball - The Atlanta Hawks
Hockey - The Vegas Golden Knights