A Digital Playbook: 12 Youth Sports Social Media Tips
Any youth sports organization looking to make a mark has to play in that space. And though many of you have already figured this out, the evolving social media landscape is a challenging one to master.
Here are some ways to use this tool to your advantage.
Take Time to Think About Content and Audience
Your youth sports organization has a range of audiences—parents, players, coaches—and, most likely, limited resources to create targeted content for each. Maximizing your efforts will mean first identifying your priorities and message.
For instance, do you want to use social media primarily as a sales and marketing tool or as a way to engage your current members?
Then, consider what it takes to build the ecosystem you need to accomplish those goals. For those starting out, that entails developing a strong content base that resonates with your community, and that in turn will take time and effort.
Plan ahead with a content calendar that ensures a consistent flow rather than amateurish flurries and droughts. Gather visual assets (photo and video) to populate that content calendar. And make sure your tone and message align with your website so you are presenting your organization as a cohesive brand.
An External Strategist Can’t Do That Work For You
No one knows your organization’s voice and goals better than you do, so trust your instincts on both.
Then, when you hire an external strategist to manage your social media, you can offer guidelines that will keep the content feeling specific to your organization while letting them handle the execution.
If you can, tap an insider for this task, someone who is already plugged into your culture and its happenings.
Reach Beyond Facebook and Instagram
Most of us don’t think of YouTube as a social media platform, but it is, and a dominant one at that—81% of Americans use it.
It’s also particularly useful for youth sports leagues given that a large percentage of users are youth and it’s an ideal spot for video content.
Take advantage of YouTube by uploading:
- Branded hype videos
- Interviews with players, coaches, and parents
- Instructional spots
Use those videos and point prospective members to curated playlists that shine the best light on your organization.
You Don’t Need to Be On Every Network
You can surely spread yourself too thin; it’s a common mistake among even seasoned social media users.
Pick your spots and focus your energy based on your goals.
If you’re trying to engage your current players, maybe focus your efforts on TikTok.
If you’re trying to attract new customers, perhaps double down on Facebook where you can engage with parents.
Enlist Youth Sports Coaches In Your Efforts
No one knows the players and game better than your coaches, which means no one is better suited to help you increase your content volume while keeping it authentic.
You can ask them each to provide one feature a week—a video of a drill, say, or the presentation of a player’s award.
If such a task isn’t yet part of their skill set, set up meetings to brainstorm ideas or to help them capture their knowledge. And definitely brand everything they create.
Use Your Own Youth Sports Networks
Keep everything centralized on your organization’s channels.
This is not only because you want to build a strong organizational presence, but to limit the opportunity for coaches to communicate with minors on social media.
In fact, it’s best to lay down strict, regimented policies around such communication.
Use Hashtags to Your Advantage
Hashtags are both ingenious and underused.
Create one for your organization and display it on your home page, event flyers, even t-shirts.
Ask players and parents to use it when they post about your organization, too.
Doing this not only builds community, it allows you to tap into members’ content, reposting (with permissions of course) whatever is appropriate.
Plus, when prospective customers search your name, they’ll find all of your content and your members’ content centralized in one place.
Use Comments and Likes to Your Advantage
Social media is all about building community, and that doesn’t happen solely through your own posts.
If you rent facilities from your local high school, write something supportive and complimentary on their channels.
Or congratulate a rival after a big win. It positions your organization in a positive light, making future facilities, vendors, and customers more likely to work with you.
Consider Automated Programming
Yes, it takes some upfront investment of time to install, but a plugin such as Zapier connects all your social media channels.
Then, whenever you add information about a program or event to your website, it automatically disseminates it to your accounts, effortlessly speeding delivery and amplifying your message.
But Don’t Rely On It
Different platforms attract different audiences.
Broadly speaking, Facebook is used largely by adults, TikTok by kids, and Instagram can go either way.
Think about what each audience might be interested in, and tailor your posts accordingly.
You might also try using content that’s not directly related to your games and players. Reference cultural events such as Pride or Mental Health Month or talk about other stuff in your sport like college recruiting or professional events.
Just make sure it’s going to the audience most likely to appreciate it.
Experiment, Test, and Tweak
There’s no sure path to social media success, so expect some trial and error as you figure out what best captures your community.
Compare different headlines, images, and messages. Grab feedback from your players and parents through surveys or sideline chats.
Spend Some Money
Because social media feeds are run by algorithms, you can’t guarantee that your followers will even see what you post.
In what has become essentially a pay-to-play environment, you need to budget some funds to buy placement for your more important posts. (It’s easy to do, whatever the platform.)
And when you do run paid campaigns for things such as registration or events, make sure your landing page leads with the right content, so visitors can easily complete whatever action they came for.
To learn more about how social media fits into a larger digital marketing playbook, click here for an overview.