Tuesday, 24 January 2012

How to use Facebook for sports clubs and sports associations.

Over the weekend i watched my nephew play rugby, it was a good game and my nephews team were the victors. For those of you who know me on a personal level, you will know that i am a big fan of rugby union and, back in the day i also played (social) rugby for the same club many years ago. For those of you who don't know me, now you know a little more about me. Anyway now i digress!

Whilst following my nephew's rugby career, i have visited many clubs in and around North Wales and the North West of England. During my travels one thing that i noticed is that many of these smaller clubs don't have any presence (or at least don't advertise the fact that they are) on social networks. There are many benefits for using social networking sites for the club, it's members, it's players, it's supporters and it's sponsors.

So i set about creating a post to highlight some of the advantages to sports clubs, and why they should have an active and engaging social network presence. In this post i will explain some of the ways you can use The Social NetworkFacebook For Sports Clubs. Facebook is THE worlds most popular social network with over 800 million (and counting) registered users.

In future posts i will touch on the advantages of having a social presence on other social networks such as TwitterGoogle+Tumblr and Flickr amongst others.

If your club is not on Facebook, it darned well should be! Below are some great reasons why you should sign up for a Facebook page.
  • Grow your fan base, encourage people to "Like" the club page. Give them a good reason to become a fan of your page, perhaps by posting information on your page that they might not normally hear about the club anywhere else.
  • The ability to communicate and engage with fans of the club at anytime no matter where they are in the world.
  • Maybe you have an up and coming event? Before you would normally tell people by word of mouth or put up a poster in the club to let people know but, perhaps not everyone would hear about it or notice the poster. Facebook lets you create and invite people to an event and also leaves a notification about the event on the invitees page. Much more effective than the traditional way and when an invite is sent out the invitee can respond with "Join", "Maybe" or "Decline" the event. Giving you a rough guide as to how many might be attending.
  • Use the Facebook Questions feature to create a poll, ask your fans who their favourite player is or who they think was the man/woman of the match.
  • You can also use Facebook as a sales funnel to sell your wares, maybe the team has a new kit this year, drop a mention to your Facebook fans that the new kit is out and available for purchase now. Although don't over do it with the sales pitches, you might come across as too pushy. 
  • On match day, post regular updates to your page and keep fans that couldn't make it to the game engaged with the match scores and final results. 
  • Promote your match or club sponsors, let your fans know how much they have sponsored the club and how the money will be put to good use by the club. It's a great way to advertise on behalf of your  sponsor and will give them another reason to continue it's sponsorship with the club.
  • Post team photos or match pictures to your page and ask fans to comment on them or tag themselves in them.
  • Don't forget people are mobile these days and take their mobile phones with them everywhere and Facebook currently has over 350 million mobile subscribers. So when fans arrive to watch the game if they have a smartphone ask fans to check in by using the location feature to let people know where they are. This can encourage their friends to come along too.
  • Your Facebook page will become a hub for the club community. A place where they can find up to date information about the club and can interact with other members of the club's community.
One of the biggest (if not the biggest) sports club in the world Manchester United FC has a presence on Facebook and it's official Facebook page currently has over 21.6 million fans, where the club are constantly engaging with their fans through photos, videos, questions, match updates and much more.

Is your club on Facebook yet? If your club hasn't started using social networking yet then it's time you hopped on board and give your fans something special.
There are many reasons why a club or association doesn't have a social networking presence. Social networking won't work for our sports club, its too time consuming, too costly. Some quite simply don't know how to go about setting up a page, although some do set up a profile page but then think it is okay to leave it and think people will just like their page anyway. Not so, you must engage with your fans otherwise they will soon unlike your page because of a lack of interesting content. Do you think Manchester United FC would have so many fans if they didn't post anything on their page? The answer is a big fat NO!

If you're thinking about setting up a Facebook page and don't know how to go about it, or require some advice on how you can engage with your fans on your page then get in touch. Just tell me a little bit about your sports club or sports association and please, make sure to leave some contact details and quote the code FB4SC.
If your quick, i am offering the first 3 lucky clubs who contact me before 31st January 2012, a FREE Facebook profile page setup and a FREE 20 minute consultation.

If your sports club or association is already on Facebook, tell me in the comments if you use any of these ways to engage with your fans or are you using other ways?