In the world of sports, social media has taken on a massive amount of importance – and resources– for teams, leagues, and fans alike. Each organization uses social media in a different way – depending on the team, market, and goals for the social program.
Small market teams may use social primarily as a sales platform, while major league teams tend to use social to engage their fan-base and drive brand loyalty, not to mention fan interaction. Whatever the organizational goals, a comprehensive social plan is key in accomplishing the tasks. However, a plan is just that – a plan. Events and circumstances change, opportunities arise, and moments can be captured to create dynamic social content.
“A plan is just that – a plan.”
In creating a social plan, teams must focus on the day to day function of the team’s social platform – how it works cohesively with the teams sales and marketing departments, what the goals are to accomplish, and what creative fits each post. There is an inclination – particularly from those who aren’t intimately familiar with the day to day operations of social media – to aim for viral moments, creating content in the hopes of a massive engagement off of a post. There is absolutely nothing wrong with creating or aiming for a viral moment – just like a hitter trying to knock the cover off the ball and hit one out of the park – provided it helps execute the social plan.
I call this concept “Social Small-Ball” – just like a team trying to win a ball game, social media needs to execute the team’s plan at all times. Sometimes, swinging for the fences is a great way to get ahead in a crowded social market, but for the most part, executing the plan keeps the team on track. Some posts aren’t the most glamorous – just like executing a bunt, they serve a function to keep the plan in motion. That by no means dictates that anything posted for a team should be a waste – quite the contrary. EVERY post on social needs to have a purpose, and there should never be a post just for the sake of posting. However, if all of a team’s energy is devoted to a viral moment, the plan becomes secondary, and the success of a team’s social can hinge on one post.
“Every post on social media needs to have a purpose.”
To put this in context, the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL created a number of viral videos this season in the form of lipsync music videos – they were absolutely fantastic, with high production value and were posted at the exact right time to gain maximum traffic. They took energy to create, and boosted the team’s brand online. However, these videos were part of an executable series, one that fit well within the team’s social voice, plan, and tone. Rather than focusing on these viral moments, the Crunch’s staff use them to help shore up their social program.
Viral moments are great, but they’re just that – moments. A home run scores between one and four runs, but also clears the bases. Small ball, just like a cohesive social plan, keeps the rally going – helping to make sure that the team is scoring runs. A well executed social program has home run moments, but also executes on a day to day basis.
Chris Knoblock is the Director of Media Relations and Broadcasting for the New Britain Bees. You can follow him on twitter @cknoblock17