Marketing and Social Media
Tue, 12/04/2012 - 10:19 — Mary Pink
Social media is a very important tool in marketing your team, or school to its fan base. It should be a key part of your overall marketing plan. In order to be effective in your social media efforts, you need to have a strategy put into place.
Social Media Strategy
Each organization will have different goals and strategies, but our strategy really revolves around constant and consistent engagement with our followers. An engaged social media audience is more likely to buy tickets, merchandise and attend events. While it’s fine to post media or marketing content, fans want a social aspect to the content. Based on striving for engagement, we have created a social media strategy that has helped us to meet our goals of marketing to our fans while engaging them at the same time. Here are some of the strategies for our social media marketing:
1. Strive for some form of engagement each day. Currently, we do it roughly five days of the week particularly on Facebook. We have found the best way to do this is to post pictures, keep it simple and ask fans to share, like or comment on our posts.
2. Utilize your fans to help spread the word and gain followers. Ask your fans to retweet the message. This has especially been useful when capturing the excitement of gameday and asking our fans to retweet if they are excited for a specific upcoming event. Many of fans will retweet simply because you asked them to do this.
3. Cross promote your other social media channels
Cross promotion helps build your following on each of your channels. For example, each week we do an Instagram Photo of the Week and post it on Twitter and Facebook and post a Tweet of the Week post on Facebook.
4. Be willing to evaluate your strategy and make changes. We sit down every couple of months and evaluate what we think is working and what isn’t working and make changes to what we are posting. As an example, this fall, we decided to try and use ecards with Iowa State sayings. Our fans have loved them and they have received some of highest number of shares of any of our posts.
5. Create promotions using a Facebook application
Depending on the month, we launch at least one contest or several contests per month. Utilizing a Facebook application (Woobox), we have been able to collect data on our Facebook followers to use in marketing and selling tickets. The most recent was in conjunction with Thanksgiving. We asked our fans to submit what they were thankful for and posted their responses. In total, since we started running contests, we have received over 5,000 entries. In general when talking about promotions, we like to reward our followers and entice new ones with prizes. Not only can we collect data, but with prize incentives we reward those who do follow us and grow our numbers with new ones.
6. Be consistent in what days you post your promotions. Fans know when something is going to be posted and will be more likely to participate in the contest.
7. Engage your fans during events. During basketball season, we throw out commemorative mini balls with the number of the three pointer made in order (last year we used special t-shirts) at our men’s basketball games, and when we are on the road we do this but with a social media twist. We ask our fans at the start of each men’s basketball game to comment under our post with the player who made each three point play and the time it was made. Then we randomly select a fan from each three pointer that answered correctly to win a basketball. We started this last year, and it was very successful in getting our fans to connect with social media and our games when we were on the road.
8. Encourage engagement whether it’s positive or negative. Most of the time, fans will correct other negative fans and aid in dispelling their perception of the situation. We have an internal policy that we do not remove negative posts unless they contain (swear words, attacks on student-athletes, etc…). (We also remove posts that directly promote and support the team we are playing against to discourage our Facebook page becoming a message board of sorts.)
9. Try to keep content simple. Facebook posts that are 80 words or less get 27% higher engagement rate. While we don’t always follow this rule, we do try to keep our word content down. An Example is this post on Facebook, “I am ready for Cyclone Gameday. Share if you are too.” with a picture asking our fans to share. Most of our posts include a photo, video, or some other element besides just text; this also helps us keep the words to a minimum in each post.
10. Ask fans for their opinion. During football season, we asked fans to help us select our hashtag for the next home football game on both Twitter and Facebook. We want the fans to know that they too have a say on our social media channels. We’ve found that social media is often used as a two-way street with our fans and we enjoy including them when we can.
11. Last but not least, try not to OVER post because you’ll lose the interest of your followers. We prioritize and make sure to not overwhelm our fans with so many posts that they stop paying attention.
Through these strategies, we have gained new followers and more importantly, created a relationship with those followers. We make sure to prioritize our postings and the information we share so that our pages can be sources of information to fans. Your organization, team, or school can benefit from using social media. Whether you use it frequently or not, as long as the messages are interactive and add value, you can create a strong relationship with your fanbase. This in turn could lead to ticket sales, merchandise purchases, attendance and more.