Social media accounts are more than just places to upload pictures of your food, pets or lattes. They’re powerful tools that help create a sense of community among like-minded individuals and your sports team is no different.
Discover how your sports team can start an effective social media presence:
You, your teammates or a club manager can use Facebook, Instagram or another popular platform to share photo or video content, information about upcoming events or simply showcase your team spirit to the online masses. However, with so many options, it can be difficult to choose the right app for your needs.
In today’s blog post, I’m going to cover several popular social media platforms and profile the strengths and weaknesses of each. I’ll also go over some general best practices that can you’re your sports team leverage social networks to connect, interact and converse about topics that you and your teammates care about.
Let’s get started!
Define Your Social Media Goals
Before you set out choosing one or more social media account options for your sports team, you first need to define your goals. Those needs and wants will vary depending on your sport, level of competition and so on, but the process of outlining those targets is very important.
To get a better idea of your team’s goals, some good questions to ask include:
- Are you going to be using the platform(s) for promotional purposes? Or simply for sharing content or events with participants and their families in a more privatized setting?
- Are you looking to organize events and keep everyone up-to-date with weekly club updates?
- Will just one person be running your social media account(s) or will it be a combined effort from multiple sources?
Getting even rough answers to those questions will give you a stronger idea of how your sports team will be using social media on a day-to-day or week-by-week basis. To go more in-depth, you’ll also need to take demographics into consideration (age, gender, location, etc.), as that will have a bearing on which app is the best fit for your club.
Finally, restrictions and privacy concerns must be considered, especially when it comes to photo and video content. If there are permission waivers needed before publishing someone’s likeness on a social media account, make sure you have all those details in order before you start.
Instagram: King of the Visual
Let’s start our social media deep dives with perhaps the most important platform out there right now: Instagram.
As of June 2018, Instagram has nearly 1 billion monthly active users. The platform trails only Facebook (at 1.4 billion) when it comes to widespread use, dwarfing other networks like Twitter (68 million) and Pinterest (250 million).
It’s now considered the best place for sharing any sort of visual content, including photos, infographics, GIFs and video clips. On average, Instagram images get 23% more engagement (likes, comments, etc.) than similar content on Facebook.
It stands to reason that, if you’re looking for a place to share amazing snapshots or footage of your last game, competition or team bonding event, Instagram is probably the platform for you. You can also connect and share updates with other local clubs to reinforce that sense of community pride within your sport.
Instagram can be a great recruitment tool as well. The platform provides easy embed options for websites, email newsletters and more so you can amp up the excitement during your next registration period. If you’re looking for one account to maximize online engagement, it’s hard to go wrong with Instagram.
The (Continued) Value of Using Facebook
More than 10 years into its life, Facebook has become a ubiquitous force in your everyday lives. 79% of Americans use the app, with more than half of the country’s residents checking their accounts “several times a day.” The company’s standalone Messenger app is also very popular, boasting over 1.2 billion monthly active users.
Strictly as a communication tool, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better option for your sports club. Group messaging, event organization/promotion, fundraising, story sharing and much more are all made so easy with Facebook’s scope of functionality.
The bonus? It’s extremely likely that everyone on your team and their family members already use the app, so getting everyone to use it regularly isn’t a struggle. You can also create a standalone page for your team, something that brings a lot of the same advantages to the table that Instagram does. Overall, Facebook pages are a great way to keep information centralized for everyone involved with your sports team.
If there’s a downside, it may be the public perception of Facebook and how they operate. Some teams, participants or families don’t want to keep sensitive information on the platform because of privacy concerns and, if your club feels strongly about this issue, looking elsewhere is completely justified.
To Tweet or Not to Tweet?
Is Twitter an effective option for your sports team? It really depends on what your goals are when using social. The platform sees itself as a daily service, so tweeting only occasionally won’t do your club any good for promotional reasons.
In general, Twitter is a polarizing social network for a lot of people. While still useful from a branding and “breaking news” perspective, the platform hasn’t enjoyed as much continued growth as Instagram or Facebook in the past five or so years.
Part of that has to do with the bloated nature of the app’s feed cycle. According to Hootsuite, 500 million tweets are sent every day, which translates to over 5,700 per second. If you’re not willing to put in the time needed to develop an audience and recurring engagement, the chances of your Twitter updates getting buried in this deluge increase exponentially.
Another potential drawback is that this social network doesn’t provide group messaging capabilities and other structural pluses like Facebook. To instantly connect with other clubs (especially at the pro level), Twitter is a great tool but, for other more local applications, it may not be the best choice for you.
Is Social Media Better Than Email?
This will sound old-school but stay with me: does your sports team really need anything more than a simple email list?
In some cases, the answer is no – and that’s totally fine. If your (or your team’s) technological comfort zone consists of sending updates to the inboxes of participants and/or their families, creating another social media account that people need to check regularly might be redundant and confusing.
Email is also still one of the most intimate and immediate ways to reach someone online, so there’s no shame in using it for internal communication purposes. You or the person running the team’s day-to-day may also benefit from a quicker response time if email is what everyone is used to.
That said, email doesn’t give you the promotional edge that social media platforms have baked into their respective interfaces. That ability to make some information public, namely to people outside the team’s immediate social circle, and keep other details private is an added advantage of implementing social media.
Whether you’re looking to share stunning pictures or video clips with the world, send important messages to everyone involved with your sports team or connect with other recreation organizations in your community, social media is a valuable tool to have. If used correctly, you can generate some buzz about your recent games or competitions and really make a name for your squad in your community.
Looking for more social media tips that can bolster your engagement numbers even more? Check out our detailed breakdown of the 25 best social media marketing tactics you need to be using – read it now!