A football clubs use of social media is slightly different to that of a business where the sole goal is to gain followers in order to push a specific product or service. Of course gaining new “followers” or “page likes” is a nice by-product of a well run social media page and will serve to raise your clubs profile further in the community, but the followers need to be relevant. There is no advantage in Dave from Australia re-tweeting your next event.
In this article we are going to focus on the two most popular social media platforms used by the football community, namely Facebook and Twitter.
In last months article we discussed the importance of brand consistency across all online platforms and printed collateral. Social media is no different, when creating your Facebook page or Twitter profile you have the option to setup both a profile picture (which should be your club badge) and a header/cover photo. For the cover photo this could be as simple as a snap taken at a recent game or you could create some custom graphics to showcase your club ethos.
So you’ve got a great looking social media page, what now? What should you use it for? In its purest form social media is a communication tool. Your end game should always be to drive visitors to your website. Use it to share everything post-worthy on your website; your news articles, latest events, match reports; whatever it may be social media is great tool to directly communicate with both your club members and community followers. For example you may have uploaded a new gallery of images to your website, you could then post a handful of these on Facebook as a teaser making sure you include a link to the full gallery on your website and tag any people featured in the photo’s. One thing to keep in mind is quality over quantity; your followers need to see value in your posts in order to keep them engaged. Quality content will ensure your followers engage with the posts, it could be a “re-tweet”, a “share”, a “like” or a “comment”. This will ensure the post will achieve a much larger reach as it spreads across the timelines of your followers.
*Tip* - Keeping on top of regular posts can be time consuming but there are tools out there that can make the process much easier. Hootsuite for example is a free tool that will let you schedule posts in advance by specifying the exact date and time they should be published. You can even set it to send the same post across multiple social media platforms. If your club has an events calendar it’s the perfect tool to set up all your posts well in advance!
Communication through social media does not just have to serve your clubs public profile. Many team managers are now turning to private Facebook groups to communicate with parents/players. It’s an easy (and free) method of mass communication to confirm things like availability for upcoming matches. The manager simply posts the fixture to the group; everyone gets a notification and confirms their availability in the comments section of the post.
*Tip* - Another great tool for managers to mass communicate with parents/players is by setting up a group chat in the free messenger application WhatsApp. The application is available across all smartphones and many already have it.
Of course having followers on social media is only one half of the equation, so whom should you follow? For a football club the answer is most certainly NOT “as many people/organisations as possible”. Make sure you follow those relevant to your club; the leagues you are affiliated with, other clubs in your league, your county FA, your players and beyond that simply employ good judgement. The more people you follow, the more content you will have to sift through on your timeline to find those posts relevant to your club. When you do find great posts, share them with your followers, comment on them and engage with the football community around you.
Facebook OR Twitter? Twitter AND Facebook?
It all comes down to personal preference, requirements and the time you have to dedicate to your clubs social media presence. If you don’t have lots of time we would suggest choosing one to do well than both where the quality suffers. Both have a wealth of statistics for you to tap into so you can analyse the effectiveness of your posts and adjust in the future accordingly, you’ll be able to determine which post types receive the most engagement and what time of day they have the most reach.
Once you have established a quality social media presence that is driving traffic to your website it’s another “feather in the cap” of your overall marketing strategy, making you a much more attractive proposition to potential new sponsors and club members.