It’s the time of year sports fans dread – close season. This makes it the perfect time for sports organisations to really make an impact on their fans and engage them during close season. If this is done well, just Imagine the hype during pre-season and the excitement for the first match on the pitch.
While players and management are out of the stadium for close season, turn to social media to create winning campaigns that will turn your fans’ heads and keep them engaged until next season.
Research and Analysis
A good sport campaign always starts with extensive research. No one knows your fans better than you, so check out what worked for you last season and which campaigns or posts really resonated with your fans. If you’re new to social media and none of your efforts really stuck, check out what competitors are doing and look at the trends and behaviours of your fans.
To know a fan’s behaviour, first you need to understand them. Who is your target audience? Once you’ve decided on the audience you wish to target the next step is to segment them into smaller groups – this way you can get granular about their behaviours and interests.
It’s what we’re hoping for all season – goals. No campaign could be successful without goals in mind. For this, they need to align with the overall business strategy and what you want to achieve during close season and next season. An ideal way to set goals is using the SMART framework. A smart goal ensures you can measure your results and see what is working for you.
Don’t just go into close season thinking I’ll throw a few social media posts together once or twice a week and hope to see results. You might get a few comments from die-hard fans, but we really want to make an impact here.
To develop themes and messaging think;
- How do we want our fans to see our content?
- What do we want to tell them?
- What will make them come back for more?
- What do they already enjoy?
- How do we want them to remember us?
Optimising existing content
Close season is the perfect time to review existing content and optimise it. Optimising content can increase reach and engagement, even if it was posted three years ago. Optimising can be done on any social platform by using different methods and tools. The best way to optimise content is to think what fans are searching for and tailor your content around the search terms they will use.
What works well?
So, you’ve done your research, segmented your audience and even optimised all your old content – now is the time to launch a new close season campaign. What is going to be successful?
Video content across all social media platforms receives the highest engagement. Fans love video content as it gives more insight, more information and can evoke an emotional response. Athlete interviews, behind the scenes, stadium tours, match highlights all work well in video format. If you can nail a video campaign, you can showcase to future sponsors just how connected you are with your fans.
One thing we do know about your fans is they love competition. Using gamification techniques provide a game-like experience without game day. Competitions, quizzes and interactive content are always a big hit among sports fans.
During close season, it is hard to reach new fans as there is nothing to entice them over. By using influencers during close season, you can easily reach a new audience and draw them in with the hope you can convert them into fans next season. When planning an influencer campaign, you need to consider what influencers will resonate with your target audience and how does their content, values and messaging, align with your organisation.
Loyalty and Reward
New fans are great but let’s not forget about those who supported us last season. By providing loyalty and reward programs you can thank your fans for being supportive, giving them incentive to come back next season. The best channel for loyalty and reward programs is email as you can directly send discounts and incentives straight into their inbox. The benefit for organisations using email marketing in close season is they are building a database ready for next seasons promotions.
Although we can’t tell you in this blog exactly what campaign to launch as it will be different for every team and organisation, we can offer you direct, personalised support if you reach out.
If you’re not ready to jump in feet first read some of our other blogs for great top-tips and expert advice.