I made a post on Facebook that got some reaction about how I felt that their goal wasn’t going to be met by their strategy. In addition, the goal stated shouldn’t be phrased the way it is.
Specifically, they are looking to “to engage the organization’s Facebook community”.
A better idea would have been to “engage the state’s racquetball players with our social media efforts and events”.
In my opinion, any association that isn’t 100% a tournament running organization, should have one goal and that one goal should guide all of their online efforts.
Goal One: Encourage and enable more people to play racquetball more often, on more courts, within our city/state/region.
So with that in mind their website should be setup to provide the information needed for players to meet other players, find out about courts, lessons, leagues, and tournaments. I covered my recommendations for this in detail, here:
Keeping Goal One in mind, their social media strategy should be designed to increase the awareness of players about changes in courts, lessons, leagues, and tournaments. Reporting about events that have just completed and celebrating specific player’s accomplishments are vital as well.
The first part of their social media strategy would then be a Facebook Page. This will allow them to make announcement posts about all of these things. A Page also allows them to purchase advertising from Facebook so that their posts are shown to people in their area that aren’t currently fans/followers of their page. Advertising should be purchased for major events, like pro tour stops, state singles, and state doubles tournaments, at the very least. The association should also be willing to advertise for their facilities when the facilities start new leagues or offer a new instructor. This should be approached as a pass-thru cost with the facility paying for the advertising, and it being run on the association’s page. Not all associations will have this type of relationship with their facilities, or have the knowledge and experience on their team to choose the appropriate audience parameters to get a useful return on their advertising investment. This is when they should turn to other successful organizations or consultants to get help. In particular, they can reach out to Aimee Ruiz, or Leo Vazquez, or Doug Ganim, or the USA Racquetball team, or even to me at Daily Racquetball. 🙂
Because a small group (the board of directors for a state organization, for example), can’t know about all facilities and all lessons, and all leagues, and all un-sanctioned shootouts, and all of the player’s accomplishments that should be celebrated, I strongly recommend that the Facebook Page create a Discussion Group specific to racquetball in their city/state/region. This allows all players and all visiting players a single place to discuss all of racquetball with each other. This also allows a share from the Page to the Group, to allow FB a second chance to show the post to your players without having to pay for advertising.
Side Note: My page has over 1,900 followers at the time of this writing, but most posts are only seen by 3-400 hundred of them. This is a strategy by Facebook to increase ad sales. To get around this restriction in distribution, shares to different discussion groups and on my personal timeline extend the reach of the articles. Finding players that will regularly share your posts is one of the best finds, as that increases the likelihood of someone that hasn’t Liked/Followed your Page will be exposed to it on Facebook.
In my opinion, the lateral sharing of information from player to player that exists in a Discussion Group is much more effective at gaining views and building attendance at events. Top-down announcements only go so far when they aren’t supported by advertising dollars, so having that additional activity on the Discussion Group associated with your page will expose both the Group and the Page to more players.
While we are discussing ads on Facebook, we should also take a moment to review the Growth Hacking article, that talks about using Facebook Events to grow exposure to in person experiences.
To have a successful Discussion Group, you will want:
1) A team of 4 (or more) Administrators and Moderators that use Facebook regularly (i.e. at least once a day, preferably from a computer).
1a) A shared set of rules for what is allowed in the group, and what is spam, so that they are all on the same page when it comes to removing unwanted material posted to the group.
2) A good set of new member questions so that you aren’t adding spammers to your group. In the Keep Racquetball Great discussion group, we use three questions to help weed out potential spammers:
– How long have you been playing racquetball?
– Where do you play racquetball?
– Will your posts and responses stay on the topic of racquetball?
I would modify the last one to include the city/state/region, as posts about racquetball in Guatemala might not be very useful to your players locally. (or they might, your moderation team should agree on whatever your decision is)
3) Create rules for the group (use the tool built into FB), so that every member knows the rules. FB will let you add up to 10 rules. Keep them simple and clear, so that the members know what violates the rules and can report posts that violate them to the moderator team for removal.
4) Regular posts from the Page to the Group. Don’t re-share other’s posts into the Group as the Page, but do share every unique post that the Page makes into the Group.
I’ve been interrupted too many times while writing this, I’ve lost my chain of thought.
What do you think should be added or expanded upon?
What do you think I got right or that I am just wrong about?