College Sports Summit Lays Out Proper Plan for Social Media
Managing and developing a social media strategy is about much more than just measuring ones own traffic growth minute after minute and day after day as Evan James, head of North American Marketing for Socialbakers made clear during a presentation at the College Sports Summit in Atlanta.
“You can’t measure in isolation,” he says of a major flaw in how many organizations measure social media success. Instead, he said, make sure you understand how your competition or like-minded organizations are doing in terms of traffic so that you can more accurately understand whether your expectations are accurate.
“Otherwise when looking at your own performance you will be setting goals for your self but without benchmarks,” he said. “Also look at what others are doing well and then take those ideas and apply them to your own strategy.”
Along with understanding how to better measure an audience is having a better strategy to have fans engage. Gary Paczesny, University of Memphis, Coordinator of Digital Media, said that native integration of video within Twitter performs much better than a link to another platform, like YouTube.
“Native views are four times as much as just a link to a YouTube video,” he said.
James concurred, adding,“You really should upload directly to Facebook. A YouTube link on Facebook gets much less engagement than something uploaded directly to Facebook.”
James also said that it is important to have custom video content for each social network, as a clip that finds success on Twitter might not find success on Facebook or YouTube.
“Think about the audience you’re trying to reach,” he said. “And with autoplay on Facebook you need to have something visually captivating within the first blip of video. You have to quickly hit them hard and keep it entertaining.”
Also take a look at the metrics for viewership within that video. Look at churn rates and whether or not there is a drop off in viewership after the first 10 seconds.
In terms of which platform is most important James said that Facebook dominates in interactions and also skews older as most users are between 30 and 50 years old.
“If you want fan engagement that is like, comment, or share then Facebook is the place for it,” he explained. “And only 5% of posts are video but it is important and extremely effective and has the highest amount of reach. And the great think is you have great content to already work with.”
YouTube, meanwhile, is great as a network for aggregating content.
“YouTube numbers are still rising and on Twitter if you are doing video then you are already ahead of the game,” said James. “And like with Facebook upload directly onto Twitter.”
Paczesny said that it is also important to make sure the video is eye catching and doesn’t come off as a press release.
“Also you want to make sure that ticketing and communications have a voice but you don’t want to over saturate the marketplace,” he added.
One tool to help in that process is simply using something like Google docs so that all involved can easily see when social media messaging will be hitting the users. For example, if a woman’s basketball game is being played a Google doc allows for the team to make sure a press release concerning the baseball team is sent out at a time that won’t interfere with social media efforts concerning the basketball game. And if an event ends at night and social media posts aren’t done until midnight that is okay as it just means users will see it first thing the next morning.
James added that in general it is best to understand what time of day social media interactions are the highest and then scheduling important announcements for that time.
“You want to capitalize on when the audience is most active to see the most success with social,” he said. “You need a concrete business goal like whether you want to increase brand awareness or drive conversions. And the more interactions and engagement on social media the more success you will have on conversion rate. But you also need to make sure you don’t scare them away.”
It is not surprise that social media platforms are constantly changing and being launched but James cautions that it is important to commit to the platforms that are most important, even if that means ignoring other platforms. Simply put, do it well or don’t do it at all.
“You have to take into account the resources you have and once you have the capacity then you can add more platforms,” he said. “Too many times I see people launch on a new network and then they don’t respond to fans that are asking questions or they just post once in a while. It hurts them in the long term.”