Social media is a huge cloud of things like blogging, tweets, likes and status updates so it is easy to become overwhelmed and do nothing.
But you need to roll up your sleeves get in there. We’ll help you along the way with this “social media for soccer tournaments” series.*
Social media is becoming integrated into the online experience for most people, so if you have not learned to navigate these waters, you may be risking the reach of your tournament. Social media channels can help you reach coaches and teams where they live and help you keep them updated and interested in your event.
Do not assume Facebook and Twitter are for kids. The largest and fastest growing demographic for Facebook and Twitter is age 35-55. That means a player’s mom, dad or coach is more likely to “like” you on Facebook or “follow” you on Twitter. While most kids over 13 yrs old will have a Facebook account, they connect with their friends, not with brands. If they happen to take a cool photo at your tournament, they may or may not post it. But if they do post it, they will post on their profile, not your tournament page. It’s nothing personal; just how kids use Facebook. Their parents on the other hand, may be more likely to interact on your Facebook page.
Essential social media for soccer tournaments
Social media for soccer tournaments can be boiled down to a few core essential channels: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr. But keep this maxim in mind: Social media channels are OUTPOSTS designed to extend the reach of your tournament website and bring teams back to you. It is easy to start engaging in tangent conversation but remember all this data and information — once updated on these sites — does not belong to you. It is “rented space.”
Google is slow to index content on Facebook (better on the other channels) but the index points to that channel, not your website. Ultimately, you would like to rank high in a Google search so it is best if you push out content that Google indexes quickly. Updating your front page news on your TourneyCentral website is best, followed by tweets to Twitter, videos to YouTube and finally Facebook and Flickr.
As with most things, good solid prep work makes the job easier. Do these four things:
- Make a SQUARE 200px x 200px logo (avatar) for your tournament. Make sure it is consistent with your tournament logo.
- Write a short description of your tournament not to exceed 140 characters. (really, under 140 characters) and
- Set up a gmail.com account as the email account for all your social media channels.
- Establish a process for securing passwords and access to each social media account. DO NOT establish under an individual’s name. Use your tournament and make the access board-level.
How to use each channel
Facebook: Set up a Facebook FAN PAGE — not a profile — using the name of your tournament. When you post some news about your tournament on the front page of your website, also update the status on Facebook. Do not copy the entire news item content, just a few key items. Then add a link back to your site. If you have an interesting photo, or video, publish that to Facebook as well, with a caption. Be sure to add a link back to your website.
Twitter: Set up a Twitter account using 20 characters max that reflects your tournament name. Your TourneyCentral website is integrated with Twitter. When you update scores, you can send that update notice to your Twitter account. Send quick updates to Twitter during the event, such as sponsor coupons, reminders of lunch specials at concessions, lost and found, etc.
YouTube: Take short videos of some behind-the-scenes, a welcome message from the tournament director, some short game footage etc and upload them to your YouTube account. You can also embed video into your front page and about page of you TourneyCentral website.
Flickr: A great place to upload photos of your tournament. Once there, you can share them with your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Again, make sure you caption them and link back to your tournament website.
The 90 Minute Attention Span
At TourneyCentral, we like to refer to the time your teams are focused on your tournament as the “90 Minute Attention Span.” This isn’t a good or bad thing, it is just a way of saying that players, coaches and their families care about your event while they are there. Before that, they are busy with their lives. When they leave, they will again be busy with their lives. Your tournament may not ever enter their field of vision until next year.
The goal is to expand their 90 Minute Attention Span by a few seconds or even a full minute. Extend your reach into Facebook and Twitter by giving players and their families a place to “hook” into you as they stream their lives. If they are at your tournament, they should be tweeting “Having a great time at @yourevent” instead of saying “at a soccer tournament this weekend.” If you have a Twitter account, you get named. If not, you don’t.
Our Advice: Be on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr but make sure all the real action happens on your website. It can get easy to get caught up in the hype about “500 million users are on Facebook” and forget why YOU are there.
Make the social media channels a serious part of your marketing and engagement strategy. Do not delegate it off to a “kid in the club.” It is far too valuable to hand off to a kid. Learn social media as seriously as you would learn how to make a schedule.
There are also other channels that you can explore like Tumblr, Rededit, Digg etc. But Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr provide a strong core of social media for your soccer tournament. Keep in mind that each channel requires more time and effort to maintain and you should only start with more if you are committed to keeping up these accounts.
This is the first in a five-part series on Social Media for Soccer Tournaments. Next up: Setting up a Facebook Page.
*Check back for some expanded services.