When we talk about social media in sports the majority of case studies and best practices come from high profile and established sports teams and we tend to focus on how these teams engage with their fan base through social media. But what if your team doesn’t already have tens of thousands of fans-how can you utilize social media to grow your fan base?
The above question is something I get asked a fair bit and to be honest there’s no set answer – the answer depends upon you, your team and your target fan base.
Whilst I can’t give a set in stone plan that will guarantee your team’s fan base will grow, I can certainly give you some tips that will help.
Starting today, I’ll be publishing a short series of weekly articles about how I feel teams and sports organizations can utilize social media to grow their fan bases.
Know your audience
Listening is a key factor in successful use of social media. Before you jump into social media you need to make sure you know your audience – if you don’t you will end up wasting a lot of time.
Listening is one of the most overlooked aspects of social media, and many organizations and businesses are reluctant to invest time or money into it. Whether you’re new to social media or you’ve been using it for a while, you should make sure you understand your audience and how you can reach potential new fans. Three key aspects of social media listening are: who, what and where.
Who: Who is currently talking about your team online? Could they be a potential influencer? Identifying your influencers – people whose recommendations and thoughts on a subject influence other people – is key to social media. If you can turn influencers into advocates of your team then you create a great channel to reach both current and new fans.
What: What topics do people talk about? What content do they share? Sentiment is also important to measure. Are these pots positive or negative? If there’s a lot of negative messages about your team floating around this may put potential fans off. Also, once any negatives have been identified they can be discussed and they can often be turned into positives.
Where: Where do people talk about you online? What social networks do they use? What forums are they on? What blogs do they read? Too many organizations jump into social media without really knowing where their audience is, they just assume that the most popular platforms (Facebook, Twitter) will work for them and this isn’t always the case.
Understanding your current fans online behavior will not only help your team when it comes to identifying opportunities to grow your fan base, but it will also help you to better understand your fans and identify other opportunities to engage and drive sales – after all social media is about business and has to make business sense.
What do you think are the key aspects of social media listening? How can sports teams use the insights gained from social media listening to help grow their fan base? You may also want to check out this other article on the top 7 online guerrilla marketing tips.