Definition of Terms
Account Settings: Use your account settings to manage basic account preferences. You can edit your name or email info, change your notifications preferences, turn on extra security features and more.
Admin: Admins are people who create and manage activity in groups and pages.
Block: You can block someone to unfriend them and prevent them from starting conversations with you or seeing things you post on your timeline
Event: Events is a feature that lets your organize gatherings, respond to invites, and keep up with what your friends are doing.
Fans: Fans are people who have ‘liked’ your page and therefore are your primary audience.
Friend: Friends are people you connect and share with on Facebook.
Group: Groups are close circles of people that share and keep in touch on Facebook.
Like: Clicking Like is a way to give positive feedback and connect with things you care about.
Link: You can share a link from the web on Facebook.
Messages: Your messages and messages inbox house your ongoing conversations with people on Facebook.
Notifications: Notifications are email, onsite, or mobile updates about activity on Facebook.
Profile Picture: Your profile picture is the main photo of you on your timeline. Your profile picture appears as a thumbnail next to your comments and other activity on Facebook.
Tagging: A tag links a person, Page, or place to something you post, like a status update or a photo. For example, you can tag a photo to say who’s in the photo or post a status update and say who you’re with.
What is Facebook?
Facebook is the world’s most popular social networking website. It makes it easy for you to connect and share with your members and supporters online. It provides a platform for discussion about all sorts of issues between people from all different walks of life from all over the world.
Why is it important?
Facebook is important for your sport club to use in order to ultimately grow your fan base. It gives you the ability to communicate and engage with fans of the club at anytime no matter where they are in the world.
Posting information like regular updates of scores on match day will keep supporters in touch with the club when they otherwise may have lost touch.
By keeping your members in touch with what’s happening at your club on a regular basis, you help them to feel attached to the club. This will make them more likely to contribute to your club in a beneficial way (Volunteering, Fundraising etc.).
How to Use it
To start using Facebook for your club, you must first create an account. To do this you can click here . You can create either an personal (not recommended), fan page or a group page that you can customize to represent your club and its voice on Facebook.
Personal vs Group vs Fan Page
Do not create a personal profile as your club’s representation on Facebook as they are meant for individual people, as opposed to a group or club. If your club’s facebook presence is via personal profile and the person leaves the club then you lose valuable club information.
The difference between a Fan Page and a Group
The key difference between a Fan Page and a Group is that a group is for a community of people with a common interest, while a Fan Page represents a brand or entity of which there are “fans.”
A Facebook Fan Page enables your club to create an authentic and public presence on Facebook. Fan Pages are visible to anyone with an account on facebook. Anybody can become a fan of your page by “liking” it and will then receive your updates in their news feed, as well as being able to interact with your club’s page.
Page administrators can share posts under the page’s name, which fans of the page can then comment on and provide feedback.
Creating a page for your club is probably the best option when starting out on Facebook as it is more effective than a Group in terms of reaching a wider audience and gaining outside exposure for your club.
Facebook Groups are the place for small group communication and for people to share their common interests and express their opinion. Groups allow people to come together around a common cause, issue or activity, to organize, express objectives, discuss issues, post photos and share related content.
When you create a group, you can decide whether to make it publicly available for anyone to join, require administrator approval for members to join or keep it private and by invitation only. Similar to Fan Pages, new posts by a group are included in the News Feeds of its members and members can interact and share with one another from the group.
Group pages will suit clubs with an established membership that are more focused on sharing information within an established community rather than recruiting new members.
What Tools are Available to Clubs on Facebook?
The comment box is where all the communication occurs. Club Administrators can enter status information or create an event invite, post a poll or post photos.
Fig 1. Comment Box
facebook provides a template to allow clubs to send an invite to it’s fans. This is a great way to advertise upcoming matches, club functions, presentation or any other special event coming up. It also allows recipients to RSVP helping clubs attain a confidence level with possible attendees.
Fig 2. Creating the event
For example, if your club has a social function one weekend, you can notify the majority of your players and supporters of its details (date, time, venue etc.) a few weeks, or even months, before it takes place. This will allow them to save the date for it so they are more likely to attend. There is also an RSVP feature in the event section where guests can declare whether they will be attending or not. This gives the organisers an idea of how many people will be attending so they can adequately prepare (catering, seating etc.).
Fig 3. Event page
Clubs can also post photos or videos onto facebook. Doing this helps attract more likes from appreciative parents and relatives and is a great way to promote sponsors (Make sure you have the permission of those photographed or videoed to appear on the facebook page).
Sales of merchandise
This requires significant expertise but most clubs have facebook savvy people within their ranks that can set up a retail store on the facebook fan page. There are also ‘Apps’ that are set up to achieve this http://www.wikihow.com/Set-up-Shop-Tab-on-facebook-Fan-Page
Setting up a store is a great way to attract more likes and further enhance your club’s reach and brand.
Polls , Milestones and Questions
Polls, Milestones and Questions are available from the comment box and are a great way to invite engagement and interaction from your fans.
Applications or “Apps” are pieces of code that allow users to customise their page without the need to know complex HTML coding practices. There are literally 1000′s of apps available (to access the apps store http://www.facebook.com/appcenter/?from_bookmark=1 .
The Key to Successful Facebook Pages
Here are some critical things to consider while designing, promoting and engaging with a facebook page of a club:
1. Relative Page name of club or association
Once you acquire 25 fans, you can choose the name of your facebook page. Choose the page name carefully, as once it is chosen it, there’s no way to change it. So, make sure that it is something easily recognizable by your target base of fans.
2. Unique profile Picture
In your page, you should provide and show an appealing profile picture that is unique in nature and at the same time related to your club. The picture should be at 180 pixels wide and 530 pixels in height. Club’s logo, motto, slogan, headshot, tagline, or short listing of benefits the club provides, along with your web site URL can be displayed in this image.
3. Be Unique and Keep Updating
There’s nothing more boring than a silent facebook page. Put lots of personality, information, latest news, games fixtures & result and fun to the page and obviously post them in a regular basis. You’ll see that popular pages keeps updating its status and gives new information on their services and activities. Always try to offer something different and unique so that the fans and supporters keep coming back, instead of letting them wait for updates from you. If possible, some unique applications should be made just for the page. Engage with your fans by commenting on their observations and seeking their views.
4. Tag Fans/club members in Photos
You should tag your fans/members in pictures of new events. You can also ask them to tag themselves in the photos in which they are interested as a part of a game or contest. This gave a real good publicity as the update on being tagged appeared on the fans’ walls and friends of fans can see it.
5. Rewards for fans/club members
Encourage loyal supporters to join your Page and reward them. Tabs or badges like ‘member of the month’ that can be placed on their profiles for visibility can be awarded to them. A happy supporter on facebook can get you lots of attention of other visitors. Remind users to Like and Share information about your page, certainly in a balanced well matter. Don’t force them by any means. When their friends see the updates on the News Feed, it’s highly likely for them to do the same.
6. Engagement strategy
Once you have fans, you need to determine a strategy for keeping them engaged. You can offer them the opportunity to tell other fans about their hobby, interest, their thinking about the club, current activities and interesting incident about the particular sport, history, business, e-zine, or blog on your page. Just hold a standard for posting in the page e.g. all posted content should be relevant to the sport the page dealing with. If you hold a tele-seminar, ask the participants to go your page and introduce themselves. Give your fans a reason to return.
One very convenient method to get your fan base involved is to ask questions. Multiple choice questions as well as open ended questions both works fine. In addition to asking questions, Polls and quizzes are fast and proven ways for people to interact with your page and other fans with each another.
The quiz should be very brief, only about 5-10 questions long, so that people don’t get bored and it should be catchy. It should feel like a fun and entertaining thing to participate in the quizzes and polls, rather than a survey. There are huge amount of tools and plug-in/add-on’s you can use with your facebook page to create interesting and entertaining polls and quizzes.
To lift fan engagement to a totally ‘out of this world’ level, your clubs’ facebook page should host a contest with an attractive and surprising prize – a tipping comp for example. There’s absolutely nothing that generates fan engagement quite as much as a good contest.
Organize the contest in a creative and innovative way so that updates about whoever is winning is posted on the club’s facebook page every night, or in a specific time interval to generate even further interest.
Instead of just keeping your status updates club related, try asking your readers random things about their regular personal lives and activities. “What did you want to be when you grew up?” or “Have you seen Avatar yesterday on Movie one?” can help build rapport and commonality, even when they have nothing to do with your target topic.
7. Post Multimedia materials
With the increasing speed of internet, people now prefer to listen and watch rather than reading. Moreover, scientifically, the human brain can grasp more data by listening or watching than reading. So, putting some videos about your club and some audio, may be a crazy supporter’s reaction on winning the last match, would be good to catch the attention of the fans.
8. Participate with other Pages
Find other facebook pages related to your club, using facebook Search, and start actively commenting on those pages’ posts & updates. This is a great way to build relationships between clubs and even adds credibility to your page. If you’re willing to offer free advice on communities and discussions, it will encourage people to check out your page.
9. Integrate facebook Social Plugins to Your Website
Clubs can place the facebook ‘Like’ symbol embedded on their website so when a user clicks it they are taken directly to the club’s facebook page where they can like it. See http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like/
Clubs can also integrate more complex facebook Plugins into their website like a live stream to show the latest comments on the club’s facebook page. See http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/activity/
10. Don’t Just post for a specific age group
Although facebook has many young people who belong to the age group 16 to 25 using its services, there is an increase also in the number of people from other age groups who use facebook on a regular basis. According to Pingdom, 61% of facebook users are over 35 years old. In fact, the 26 – 34 age group rivals the 18 – 25 age group in both the US and the UK as well as in the rest of the world. So, make sure to communicate with your audience in a manner by which you can draw the attention of people of all age groups.
11. Customising your page
You can customize your page by adding information about the club (history, news, teams etc.). This is important as a marketing and promotion tool as you want to let your prospective members know about your club.
Fig 4. About Page
Measures of Effectiveness
There are many ways to measure the effectiveness of certain posts on your page. Several of these are listed below:
1. Likes: If a certain post receives a high number of ‘likes’ then it has struck the right chord with your audience as people are providing positive feedback.
2. Comments: If there are a number of people commenting and sharing their opinions on your post, then it can be considered an effective post as it has created discussion.
3. Views: When you post something on your page, it will tell you how many views that particular post has had. Obviously the higher this number is, the more exposure this post has gained for your page and therefore your club.
On top of this, the overall measure of the effective of your clubs use of Facebook is the number of fans or group members your page/group has, and how quickly this number rises after each post.
Using Facebook responsibly
With everything there are positives and negatives. facebook is a non-controlled environment where club members and fans can cut loose and damage other members and the club’s reputation with irresponsible, hateful and spiteful comments. A monitoring and punishment policy is essential, and the club should make it a priority to have a social media policy – respect, appropriate conversations and codes of conduct still need to be adhered to online as they do in real life.
Further Marketing & Promotions Information
a) Understanding the DNA of a Sports Fan
b) Identifying your Stakeholders
c) The Importance of Databases
d) Communication Processes for Marketing & Promotion
e) Communication Processes in Detail
f) Digital Communication
i) The Power of Pictures
j) Video Sharing
k) Updating all your Social Media at once
Successful Marketing and Promotions for clubs