The key to an effective message is its’ ability to deliver a specific message to a specific individual. The problem with many social media campaigns today though is that strategies are often geared toward hitting a large mass audience with no specific target. In comparison, this is like submitting your resume to a company without catering it toward a specific department or position. Yes, you may get a response, but what are the odds that it’s the job you are looking for?
In the case of sports, we often see the same promotions and campaigns re-engineered for individual teams with little change. While its understandable to follow along the ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’ concept, the problem is that there is a problem and we need to fix it.
Fans Will Stop Listening
A large part of why traditional media & advertising strategies have lost effectiveness is that people just stopped listening. Consumers that were open to watching 30 second commercials for a new product found that they had better things to do. It wasn’t that the product wasn’t useful or interesting, rather it was that consumers had been overloaded with same the message over and over that it lost its relevance.
Moving forward, sports teams and creative minds need to focus on creating rather than replicating. While current social media strategies may yield positive results, teams need to begin defining their digital presence before fans begin ‘ignoring‘ them. The key here won’t be how often they tweet or post a picture, but rather how they differentiate themselves from the ‘rest.’
While nearly every sports team has a Facebook or Twitter profile established, the problem is that just a small percentage of them are innovating and impacting their fan base. Although fans continue to ‘like’ and ‘follow’ teams, just how consumers slowly started to lose interest in traditional media strategies, a teams online fan base is subject to the same end result.
2 Tips on How To Make An Impact
1. Keep your message simple.
The best ideas are those that are simple and easy to do. The biggest reason for this is that simple ideas are easy for an audience to understand. Just how when you try and explain something to someone you make it easy for them to understand, social media campaigns should be centered around a simple to execute, easy to understand idea. In addition to having your target audience being able to easily connect with your digital efforts, a simple idea is ideal because it can easily be developed into bigger ideas should the need be there.
2. Identify influencers amongst your fan base.
A key part of the equation that many forget about are the mavens and evangelists within the community who help make ideas go viral. These individuals are vital to a social community because of their ability to influence others. Look at any sports teams Facebook Fan Page and you will always see the same individuals commenting and writing posts. Head over to Twitter and it’s the same people who are retweeting and sharing stories from their favorite teams. Teams that are looking to have a greater understanding and relationship with their fans need to begin identifying these influencers and finding ways to incorporate them into their digital efforts.
What kind of strategies would you like to see sports teams putting in place in the future?
I have used the strategy of engaging “power users” or “influencers” as you call them with some success. I think it is one of the best things that a team can do to begin spreading the message about their social media presnece. I have also seen it done for a new local restaurant where the business “randomly” picked followers to receive free meals. I noticed that they winners were folks who do heavy tweeting and social media messeging. I think it worked as the business already has a following before it opens its doors.
I also think focusing on team specific traditions or player characters and integrating them into the contests will keep fans involved. It also allows for change by a natural process because trends, chants, players etc. change often.
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