What is a digital media strategy?
A digital media strategy defines how sport organization will use digital media to achieve its communications aims and the supporting platform and tools it will use to achieve this.
At a basic level it’s a simple statement of intent, outlining the goals and measurable objectives for using social media, and the target outcomes club want to achieve. It does this in the context of the overall business and comms plan so that social media isn’t in a silo but working in parallel with other channels.
It isn’t a detailed plan of action – club will also need a plan but without a clear strategy, how do prioritize the activities for a plan? Think strategy first, plan second.
6 reasons why sports clubs need a digital media strategy
1. The social web still is growing fast
The latest research on digital media usage shows that there are two key factors driving the social web:
Older user adoption
2. Purchasing decisions of buying tickets and merchandising are influenced by social media.
If the first era of social was audience building and engagement, the current era is focused on commerce and personalization. All major platforms have heavily invested in their advertising solutions to lure marketers with the promise of improved APIs and smart targeting, including the ability to upload email lists to run personalized remarketing campaigns.
For example, through the Facebook API marketers can:
Manage audience data for custom audience targeting
Create campaigns and ads
Build custom dashboards and run analytics
Manage campaign assets: pages, accounts etc.
3. Lack of strategy hands the advantage to other sports clubs
It’s uncommon to find an sport club without a social presence and increasingly teams are developing clear social strategies aligned with business goals.
A marketer with a strategy has a framework through which to plan, prioritize, execute, measure and optimize. This typically will lead to better results because the activity has direction, even if the direction needs to evolve and change as the marketer learns from real data.
If sport club invest in a social presence without a clear strategy, club won’t know whether or not campaigns are successful. For example, if club simply post content to appear active, how do club know that content is contributing to the business positively? What if it’s actually putting fans off club brand?
4. Club fans are active on social media
Mobile, social and the underlying technology have combined to provide an environment in which fans can access, use and share information on their terms. Fans rarely read blogs or emails; they use Facebook as their content stream. The disintermediation of content means that club marketing people have to understand the role social plays in fans communication.
Even though it’s only a subset of club total audience, it’s likely that some of club fans will want to get information from club via a social network. That doesn’t mean ignore traditional forms of customer service, it means updating club fans service framework to factor in social interactions.
This is why club need a strategy. Deciding how to connect with a fan is not a tactical decision, it requires strategic thinking. Social needs to align with the other communication channels so its role is defined and understood, and there are processes and tools in place to cope with demand. If club let a social marketing team simply get on with it, without the strategic vision above it, club risk inefficiency and inaccuracy.
5. There are key influencers in every social network of a sport team
Sports teams do not have to underestimate the power of fan oppinion.
For years clubs have known that fans ratings and reviews can increase conversion rates through the power of peer influence; feedback from another fan is typically seen as trustworthy. Expert endorsement also increases brand credibility.
Social media channels have influencers, from the obvious stars to self-made social stars like video bloggers. If club are not part of influencers world, club are not relevant. Club risk losing mindshare to more socially aware competitors who are willing to be bold and innovative in their marketing campaigns.
6. Reputation of sports club can be enhanced or destroyed on social networks
There are good things that club can attribute to social media, primarily in terms of providing a voice to fans and groups who previously struggled to be heard and of making information transparent and portable. However, it also amplifies the voice of discontent and vitriol is not uncommon. Jumping on angry bandwagons is also something that social seems to fuel periodically.
What will club do if the club rivalry attacks it on Facebook?
How will club respond to an avalanche of negative messages?
Due to mistakes on social media becoming so prevalent in previous years, clubs are now using faux mistakes to engage fans and start conversations about their brand online.
5 questions to ask before your design the digital media strategy for sports team
Why do club want to be on social media?
Who is club target audience?
What are club going to share?
Where are club going share?
When are club going share?
Type of Resources when sports clubs design the digital media strategy
We know that social media is valuable for sports teams. 71 of world adults use social networks and more sign up every day. But we also know that sports clubs need help with social media marketing.
How much should clubs pay for social media marketing? And to whom?
Today we discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each of these social media resources.
- In-house staff
- Social media marketing agencies
- Freelance social media consultants
- Social media management software
1. In-house Staff Gives Control, Lacks Expertise
Using contracted staff gives sports teams full control of their social media accounts. Team brand voice will ring true and the quality of the content will meet the standards. If any strategic changes are needed, club need only walk down the hall to discuss.
Even brands like Nike and Pepsi transitioned their social media marketing in-house to cut costs and improve their agility on social media. Though club team may lack some of the necessary expertise, investing in people will make them an asset. Sport club can train someone for much cheaper than outsourcing tasks, but this will take time.
- Costs less than outsourcing
- Ensures club brand voice is communicated clearly
- Fosters the exchange of ideas and circulates insights from senior-level marketing
- Helps club stay nimble in response to social media trends
- Allows total control of content quality
Club team may already be overworked. The #1 social media challenge for brands is insufficient human and financial resources.
- Possible knowledge gaps in relevant aspects of social media, limiting diversification
- Training and hiring staff requires time and energy and doesn’t guarantee results
- Lack of outside perspective can result in tunnel vision and missed opportunities
2. Agencies Offer a Variety of Skills
Hiring an agency gives club immediate access to the skills and resources of dedicated professionals. Expecting staff or a single freelancer to deliver such expertise is unrealistic. However, this collective prowess isn’t cheap.
Brands with an existing audience may opt for an agency because the cost corresponds with the expected payoff. For example, if club need to scale social media presence or expand brand’s social media strategy, an agency team could be right for.
An outside team will provide the consistency and industry experience needed to move forward with social media without slowing down.
- Saves club time by entrusting key functions to the agency
- Provides a diverse array of skills from a talented team
- Advises club with the outside perspective of experts
- Expensive, and may require minimum contract length
- Agencies lack familiarity with club brand’s core values
- Smaller agencies may lack experience with niche markets
3. Freelancers/Consultants Are Affordable, But Skills Vary
Freelancers and consultants are the middle ground between in-house staff and agencies. Both types of independent contractors let club augment social media operation with key skills for relatively cheap prices.
Consultants are best used to solve specific problems or provide guidance in the short term. For example, club could hire a consultant to design Facebook marketing strategy — but not implement content.
By comparison, freelancers offer both proficiency and the option of a long-term partnership. If club find the right talent, this can be a cost-effective way to round out social media team. Simply set the expectations, offer a bit of guidance, and the freelancer will do the rest.
- Inexpensive, depending on the hire
- Saves club money on taxes, benefits, and insurance of an employee
- Freelancers keep flexible schedules and can accommodate club needs
- Skill level and credibility can vary
- Less scalable and skill-diverse than an agency
- Finding a quality freelancer or consultant with availability can be challenging
- Hiring can be time-consuming
4. Social Media Management Software
Social media management software is used to scale, simplify, and save time on social media operations. While not a replacement for skilled personnel, these solutions do allow club to increase staff productivity and efficiency. If club social presence is large and the community management is laborious, automation can give the time needed to focus on driving engagement.
A suite of functions lets club track interactions, manage posts, and gather insights to optimize campaign performance. A range of options exists to suit club needs and budget.
- Automation lets club simplify complex and/or repetitive tasks
- Monitor keywords related to club brand
- Tracks interactions on club social profiles
- Schedule posts across multiple channels
- Collaborate with team members
- Gather insights from analytics to optimize campaign performance
- Can trial the “freemium” set of features of most platforms before purchase
- Licenses for a full team can be expensive on some platforms
- Learning the platform requires a bit of time
- Finding a suitable interface can require some trial and error
- Not a replacement for skilled personnel
Choosing Resources for Social Media Marketing
Let the size of club social media operation — and club budget — determine use of social media marketing resources.
Large brands or those on the verge of growth might want to spring for an agency. When results are a must, an agency is a safe bet. However, if club have time to browse, a few choice consultants and freelancers can fulfill the same functions for much less.
If club following is large and employees time is needed elsewhere, a social media management software will benefit.
Steps to Finding Your Social Media Target Audience
Identify Your Ideal Fan
Sports teams believe their target audience is anyone who breathes. That is not an ideal customer.
The first step in creating club social media marketing strategy is to create fan personas. Instead of focusing on large groups of people, creating fan personas helps tailor club message to an individual person. It also helps make club target audience as specific as possible in order to narrow the scope.
Club current fans are a great source of information about current customers. Send them surveys asking why they chose club and how they become club fans. And don’t forget about communicating with the departments that interact with club fans, such as customer service and ticketing, as they’re constantly in contact with club fans.
Identify Platforms Club Target Audience Uses
This means researching the online behavior of club social media target audience. Club can use many valuable studies which breaks down the demographics of the different social media networks like:
- All demographics use Facebook
- Twitter has a younger and educated audience
- Instagram is younger still, and probably still in high school or college
- LinkedIn users have a higher income and more education
By researching sports team social media target audience maketing team willl know where to find fans and how to tailor message directly to them. Club marketing team don’t have to discount the value of paid advertising either. On most of the platforms club can target specific interests, demographics, time zones, country, and more. That means club can ensure message reaches target audience.
Tailor Content for Sports Team Target Audience
Always keep an eye on club competitors and how they use social media.
- What are they doing that drives engagement?
- What are their shortcomings that club can exploit?
- What types of content are they promoting?
5 Goals of Social Media Marketing
1. Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is all about club brand becoming relevant to potential fans. This means posting content regularly that answers the questions club fans are asking. That content includes links to blog posts, infographics, statistics, and relevant articles.
But don’t forget to show the world who club brand is by posting photos of employees, the office, and company events. Club can also post humorous, relevant memes that support your brand. This will help build a connection with fans.
Analytics to Track:
- Increase Engagement
2. Enhance Public Relations
By following club mentions, marketing team can find out what fans are saying about club brand, and respond to complaints in a timely manner. In fact, according to Social Media Today, when clubs engage and respond to fans service requests over social media, those fans end up spending 20% – 40% more with the club.
Responding quickly and solving problems allows club to stay ahead of large-scale complaints and create brand loyalty.
Analytics to Track:
- Improve Relationships
3. Build Community of Advocates
Brand loyalty has always been one of the most important factors in long term growth. In the past, clubs relied on word of mouth. Now, social media provides an entirely new platform where brand loyalty can be shared with thousands of people in real time. For instance, as the amount of photos of food increases on social media, clubs are offering tickets and merchandising.
Analytics to Track:
4. Research and Development
By constantly engaging with fans, club can stay up to date on the problems they’re facing and develop solutions. Just as importantly, follow club rivals on social media to see how they engage their fans, if they’re facing any complaints, and if they’re rolling out any promotions or new products.
Analytics to Track:
- Keep Track of Competition
- Increase Engagement
- Insights into Customer Problems
5. Driving Sales and Leads
If club are not leveraging social media to acquire leads and generate sales, club are not using social media properly. This is what most clubs strive for first, but fail to realize that without time spent on the first four goals, it’s unlikely that sales will grow.
Social media provides the perfect opportunity to interact with potential fans, both on a personal level and an organizational level, to gauge their pain points, and to understand their culture. This knowledge allows for a warm call when club first engage, as opposed to a cold call.
Aspects to Track:
- Increase Web Traffic
- Click Through Rate
- Call To Actions
- Landing Pages
Steps for Your Sport Team Content Creation
Step 1: Choose the Right Social Network
The best kind of social media content strategy is the one capturing the interest of the club target audience by their network. Targeting every social network without focus will often lead to wasted budgets and confusion. Consider these factors for each network:
Facebook is one of the most obvious options for social research. Around 76% of adults online use Facebook, and since the rise of Facebook Live, the platform has seen a 700% growth in video views.
There are more than 800 million monthly users on Instagram. It’s a great way for club to engage with young, visual audiences, particularly in the millennial demographic.
Around a third of adult internet users access Pinterest, but the platform appeals more to women than men. This could be the ideal platform for female-focused brands.
Twitter has about 319 million active users per month. Plus, about 80% of Twitter usage is mobile, which could be great for local clubs who want to engage with customers on the move.
LinkedIn is the leading B2B social media platform. The network has members across 200 countries and is perfect for B2B businesses or personal brands looking for growth.
Home to 173 million daily users, the audience for Snapchat is very young, with most users under the age of 24.
To choose the perfect platform for your social media sports team content strategy, club marketing team will need to create something called a “follower fan profile.” This allows club to pinpoint the perfect fan. Look at demographics like age, gender and even educational or career background to pinpoint top followers.
Step 2: Design Your Content Creation Process
Now club know who to engage with and where need to create posts, club will want to establish a guide to keep content consistent. Although there’s no one-size-fits-all guide to content, ideally, club social posts should be designed to create emotional bonds with audience. That means establishing a unique personality and tone of voice.
Find your voice
Content has more volume when it’s fine-tuned to a tone that resonates with club business. Think about what club want personality to be like and try to make sure it aligns with the platform have chosen. For instance, a professional tone is more appealing on LinkedIn, while a playful tone might work on Snapchat.
Tell a story
Social media is about engaging with club audience, so make sure that your club have a strategy for sharing content that aligns with the values of the club. For instance, club should only share content that’s relevant to sports industry, aligns with club ethics and highlights the brand purpose.
Know your competition
Being effective in club social media content strategy is all about making sure you’re better than the competition. Figure out what some of the main players in your league are doing, then decide how you can do it better. Be careful not to just copy and paste another strategy.
Knowing your tone of voice, story and competition will help club create a more consistent social strategy.
Step 3: Research the Perfect Content & Keywords
Club are almost there! Your club have a good idea of who you’re speaking to, where your social strategy is taking place and more. Now you need to know what kind of content you’ll create. As we mentioned above, your aim should be to design content that’s relevant to your fans and its values. Don’t post content for the sake of it.
Since you know your audience and where they spend their time, why not find out more about what they want to see from your club. Questionnaires and polls are fun and effective ways to start engaging your audience.
Step 5: Create a Consistent Schedule
Once you finish researching, you want to publish to the right platforms. Remember, a good social media content strategy needs to be consistent. This helps club keep your fans engaged. Here’s how to start:
- Decide what audience club content is targeting
- Choose a topic and a platform for club content
- Decide which kind of content club are going to share (image, infographic, video, blog post, update, etc.)
- Evaluate when club target audience is online.
As for when you should share club content, here are some research on the best times to post on social media:
- Facebook: Wednesday through Sunday in the afternoon.
- Twitter: Weekdays in the afternoon or the evenings.
- Pinterest: Any day of the week in evening.
- LinkedIn: Tuesday through Thursday at 5 p.m.
- Instagram: Monday through Friday at 2 a.m. or 5 p.m.
Once you’ve researched your fans thoroughly, use a tool with features like social media publishing to schedule your posts ahead of time. This will let you never miss a chance to engage with your audience.
Step 6: Use Engagement to Create a Community
Social media is all about the communities that club can create online. As fans become more focused on building relationships with their favorite clubs, social media can help strengthen your bonds with your fans and develop loyalty.
Remember when posting on social media, you need to engage in conversations with your fans. Research suggests that it takes an average of eight brand touches before fans will consider trusting of your club. So think about how you can connect more frequently online. Responding to queries in instant messages, retweeting or engaging with content and sharing fans feedback all helps to strengthen club connections with your community.
You can even use your social media presence to respond to fans complaints and show your followers that you care about their needs. That’s a great way to make a lasting impression on your fans.
Step 7: Track Performance & Adjust
Finally, when club are actively publishing content on social media, you’re ready to track your strategy and make changes. Since the most common areas clubs are interested in tracking are engagement, reach and conversions, here are some of the things you’ll need to look out for:
- Engagement: How many fans are connecting with club online? Think about retweets, mentions and clicks on social media posts. Comments and shares can be very important too.
- Reach: How many fans are engaging with your content? You can measure this by assessing how many new connections or followers you’ve gathered over the last month or so.
- Conversions: Is club social media content strategy prompting sales? Consider using a social media dashboard to help club measure how many valuable leads are connecting with your stores thanks to your posts.