All the gear is purchased, your team names are floating around in your head and you even have some interested people wanting to sign up! Now that everything is ready, it’s time to make sure the world knows about it, otherwise all the effort will sort of be in-vain, right? Sports league marketing to the rescue!
Getting the word out about your sports league can be a daunting task. How do you plan out your sports league marketing goals? Where to begin? Do you create an email blast? Start a social media campaign? Put an ad in the paper? While only you know where best to promote your league based on your community and what the status quo is, eventually social media is going to play a part in your marketing campaign.
A social media strategy should be high on your list of things to do to market your organization. Social media is fast becoming the top driver of traffic to websites, over SEO and paid ads (this article has crunched some interesting numbers)! This means that a social media strategy is a MUST for all spots league organizers, and frankly most businesses in general.
The question then becomes, what social media platforms are right for marketing your league and how can you use those resources to their fullest potential? In this post we look at using Facebook to publicize your league. We will follow up this post later on all about how to use Twitter for marketing and using SEO and your website as a base for your marketing plans.
Creating a Page and an Event on Facebook
The first thing to do when marketing your league with Facebook, is to simply create a business page for your league. Have a great photo and cover photo! If you can have a photo of your players enjoying themselves and maybe even a few parents at the background you will make a great impression. Obviously don’t forget to add your logo and make everything connected to how your website works since that will create a mental connection between your Facebook page and your website. Branding is all about creating continuity wherever you are, so your website, business cards, social media pages, etc.
After taking care of the graphics and making everything look amazing, make sure to fill in all of the information in the “About” section. This will help people find you (phone number, address, etc) as well as your website so people can click there to get more information, register for the league and contact you with questions they might have.
If you are just starting out, or a new season is approaching, having a ‘welcome’ event or some kind of event to get people excited about the upcoming season and learn more about what your league has to offer, can be really helpful (and fun)!
Facebook is a great place to publicize this type of event. You can begin by just creating an “event” via your organization’s Facebook page. To do this, you simply go to the area where you’d update a status and click on “Offer, event…”,
Then click on, “event” and fill out the information in the prompt, including the title, date, location, etc.
Consider making each game and other events you are hosting with your league an ‘event’ on Facebook. It’s a great way to get people excited about attending and participating!
Another great tip for your registration season, is to make each registration date an event. People can join the event, so you can communicate with a more targeted group of people, and they can publicize not just your Facebook page but your EVENT to get people excited about registering and for your upcoming season. Don’t forget to include a direct link in the event to your website’s online registration page so people can easily get from the Facebook event to register.
By creating a page, and an event and by adding relevant photos, information and links to your profile, you are setting up a great foundation for continued marketing on Facebook. You can do paid ad’s through Facebook and target the community you’d like your league to reach as well.
Use Facebook’s ‘share’ feature to share your page and upcoming events to other people or relevant organization’s timelines as a way to advertise for free! You can ask local businesses to like your page and share your event or your page to their followers. You can also send your page and info on upcoming events with your league via Facebook messages to specific people you’d like to reach out to or just know about the happenings with your league.
By getting people to ‘like’ your organization’s page and to say “yes” to upcoming events, you now have a community of people who will receive updates, messages and news about the event from you. This will keep them informed and assuming you post great, interesting and shareable content, you have a built in base of people to share your status that will also help you passively market your league and share the details to more people who might not be able to reach otherwise. Plus continuing the community you’ve created in your actual league, online, is never a bad thing!!
Creating Shareable Content
What is great, interesting and shareable content you ask? Don’t just post “Game next Sunday!” or “Can’t wait to see everyone next week at the Fall Kickoff!”. Use your updates to poll people with questions about what they want out of their experience with you. Something like, “We’re serving up popcorn or hotdogs at next weekend’s game, which do you prefer (so we can go shopping)?”
Content that asks a question or otherwise solicits a response from followers will most likely get one. And allowing your community to be a part of decision making makes them more excited to come out and feel more invested in your league. When they feel this way, they will be more likely to share updates and information about your league with colleagues, family and friends. The added bonus of creating an interactive community on Facebook is that people looking to join your league or who are interested in what you have to offer can come to your Facebook page and see the great community you’ve built, which will make them more inclined to learn more about you!
Photos are a great shareable content idea. Always sharing, via photo albums, what’s going on in your league is a great way to connect with your community and show potential clients what they will be getting themselves into if they join! People love to see photos of themselves, share them with others and comment on them, which can create conversations online.
A great tool to managing posts on Facebook and other social media platforms is Hootsuite or Buffer. There is a great list by Mashable here with other platforms, but we love Hootsuite. The free version offers amazing tools and the premium is affordable if you have use of the extra services they offer. Hootsuite and other similar platforms allow you to not only view profiles you follow across all of your social media accounts (which is great for managing personal connections with people and other organizations who might be interested in your league and help spread the word for you) but it can help you when sharing your own content.
Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts by date and time so if you have a free few hours and want to set up some posts to go out daily over the next few weeks, it can be a huge time saver. You can rest assured that your varied social media profiles are posting great content daily without the headache of remembering to post every day. It’s definitely a great tool to consider when managing your social media and marketing strategy. Multiple people from your company can have access to the Hootsuite page as well, so your entire social media campaign is all in one place and accessible to everyone who needs it!
Facebook allows you to boost specific posts so you can reach more people and connect them to your league. Boosting posts can help create a buzz about your league if you feel like you could benefit from targeted search and have the money to invest in that process. The idea is always to get people to read your posts, share them, consider learning more about your and stopping by one of your games or going to your website to register for a specific activity.
Don’t forget to include a “like” icon on your league’s website or in key places in your sports registration software. You want to engage with people so make it easy for them to do so! Wherever they are on your website, or in an email from you, it should be easy and visible for them to click “like” and start receiving updates from you to keep them in the loop and to arm them with the opportunity to interact with you on Facebook and share your content with their circles!
And the most important advice: Focus a majority of time on building your league and your community when it comes to sports league marketing tricks! You can market all you want, but you’ll be a one hit wonder if you don’t deliver on all that you promise! Good luck!!