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7 Social Media Tips for Sponsorship Sales

social media chartMarketers, and especially sports marketers, in my opinion are vastly more educated in social media than the majority of other professions.  99% of the talk about social media, however, is on how it can be used to market to consumers. Are there social media tips and tricks sponsorship pros can use to better support their sponsorship case to potential corporate buyers?  You bet… and they’re constantly evolving.  Let’s rundown a few and feel free to add your own at the bottom.

1. Don’t assume your audience is the same. You likely provide consensus demographics for on-site and broadcast. Okay, that’s great, but are you also considering the variance between your audience on-site and your audience online? Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or a number of other sites, presumably you’ll be finding ways for your sponsors to interact with consumers on these platforms too. The audience profile may vary dramatically from on-site (for better or for worse). As technologies mature, your on-site audience will likely more closely mirror your social media audience, but until then it’s wise to keep in mind the variance across your consumer touch points.

2. Encourage sponsors to tailor activation to the medium. Each network has its own merits, but that doesn’t mean you can treat each medium the same. Would it make sense for a B2B event/sponsor to activate on MySpace or Facebook? If you want direct dialogue, your sponsor’s activation tactic might be better suited to Twitter than LinkedIn’s cluttered message boards. But you only have 140 characters and sponsor backlash can spread like wildfire on Twitter, while more insulated on a message board. Does your sponsor have an iPhone app?  Great, but how tech savvy is your audience? Make sure you consider the nuances of each individual platform, and tailor your social media activation accordingly.

3. Manage sponsor expectations. As Skittles found out the hard way, social media can be cultivated, but it cannot be controlled. Make sure your sponsors know the difference. If you’re a property and you host an activation where the sponsor gets flamed, you want to make sure that your sponsors are fully aware of the risks.

carry your ticket4. Leverage networks for sponsors leads. Are you fully grooming your social and professional networks for sponsor leads?  Networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook make it easier than ever to see who knows who. In a relationship biz, there’s nothing better than a personal introduction. Your existing contact might not be the perfect fit for a sale, but you should also be examining their networks for second degree sponsor leads. Of course, this only applies if you’re willing to give as much as you get. If that’s you, then don’t be shy!

5. Expand your marketing platform. You may not have an event or broadcast this month, but social media provides the perfect medium to keep in touch with (and allow your sponsors to tap into) your fan base during seasonal lulls. If your event is one weekend a year, make sure that your sponsors know that your social media efforts can expand their consumer interaction well beyond those 48 hours.

6. Call to action. Pretty much every sponsor loves a good call to action opportunity that translates to sales. Unlike other sponsor assets (Premiums, TV, Print, etc.), social media by its nature allows for sponsors to learn, be flexible, tailor and adapt their activations to shifting business conditions. Be nimble and let sponsors time their activation to seasonal business conditions, specific inventory conditions, new locations and more.

7. Measurement. Make sure that your sponsors know how to properly measure (and credit you for) the social media tactics that they’re incorporating into their sponsorship platform. This, of course, is highly dependent on determining what the sponsor’s specific objectives are in the first place, but don’t fall short on measurement by simply counting a sponsor’s direct interactions (i.e. followers) with your fans/consumers.  Digital Royalty’s Return on Influence (ROI) formula is a great place to start learning about social media measurement, for you and your partners.

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Image by Rob Watling

Image by Anne Helmond

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3 Responses to 7 Social Media Tips for Sponsorship Sales

  1. mbt outlet June 11, 2010 at 3:21 am #

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  2. cstidwell August 21, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

    Using Forbes data that suggested a $3-5 million reduction in corporate sponsorship for 2011-2012 sports. Are sports a safe haven for sponsors? Yes, if strong objectives, strategic plans, good communication, and monitoring are planned correctly. Sponsors need to clearly understand the need of the football sport culture of the corporate world, increased creativity, flexibility, trust, marketing savvy and how they would be presented to the world of football. Sponsors relationships are thorough planning for collaboration with team owners and partners. Make it possible to share their common interest based on the sponsors’ needs. Values that can be offered to increase exposure and give example of the trend. Finding those for a good match and long-term. Ensuring negotiation with a willing sponsor covers the needs of the sponsor and the benefits offered. First, understanding long-term objectives should contribute to long-term agreements that measure goals that should be met. The relationship is managed with an accountability structure. Measuring success and reporting back to sponsors gives clarity, concrete information, respect, trust and communication. Being prepared with questions, answers, implementation plan, and knowledge show that you are a strategic fit.

    Offering creative ways to increase complementary marketing for sponsors, signage would help develop long-term accomplishments and relationships. Increasing awareness to improve image by association with another entity to influence new audiences to participate or attend sporting events to broaden involvement.

    What are its objectives? What are the priorities according to your most recent plan? Sponsorship is a business relationship it is motivated by an expectation the sponsor exchanges financial or for a particular business advantage. How do you promote your image to the audience? Considering the economic recession how do you develop your price request? Especially since the NFL lockout and increase in ticket sale prices how do you emerge traditional and social media?

    http://www.sportsnetworker.com/2009/12/03/social-media-and-sponsorships/

    http://empirewebsite.com/football.php

    http://www.theelusivefan.com/IJSMS8_3.pdf

    Cindy Stidwell

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