It was inspiring to see such a large turnout at our Digital Communications Workshop in Derry on March 2nd. Stemming from that we've put together this blog on how we grew our page from 1,000 friends to 16,300 fans in just 5 years with a reach of over a million during our May and August Finals!
1. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
When we speak in real life we can see the people in front of us (mostly) so it's very clear from the outset on how to communicate. Online - it's a different story. However, the audience in front of you is the most important thing you need to establish before you start posting on social media. We're talking about Community Games here so more than likely your audience (potential and existing) will be geographically constrained to your locality and the people will be parents, volunteers, young adults, people interested in sport, teachers, other NGBs and clubs and local fan pages.
Once you can get your head around who you WANT visiting and engaging with on your page you can make a start with creating and sharing content.
In other words:
2. WRITE WHAT YOU'D READ, SHARE WHAT YOU'D SHARE
3. SAVE THE DATE
Everyone loves an occasion! Whether it's International Women's Day, Mental Health Awareness Week, Seachtain na Gaeilge, Mother's Day, Father's Day - celebrate it and spread the word!
4. BE GRAPHIC
So how do you tailor a post or photo so that you can make your post unique or stand out from the masses? Use www.canva.com - it's free, easy and most importantly it is cloud based so it stores all your work on one website so you don't have to worry where you saved the image. You can use Canva to create posters too! And tickets. All in the right format. Just go on the site, sign up, watch the tutorial and off you go. If you are looking to make images transparent another free tool is www.online-image-editor.com
Use royalty free stock images or gifs - you can find some on canva.com (the pro version has more) and also websites such as www.morguefile.com
Here's one we did earlier...
5. LESS IS MORE
You don't need to write a blow by blow account on how the match was played, this isn't the World Cup. Stick to the facts and keep it simple.
If you need to share more than what looks good on Facebook the best option is to link to a webpage or blog. Weebly, Wix, Wordpress, Blogger - there are free versions of all of these. Have a look at them, play around and very quickly you can do up a website to point people to from your Facebook page. It's good to have a website if you are doing up calendars, rules, event details, results etc.
6. SHARE THE LOVE
At times you may get asked by a Facebook fan or a parent to share a photo or a news item. Share if it's a good news story and relevant to your Facebook page.
What harm can it do? You might be the Facebook page admin, but the users are the ones visiting and best to keep everyone happy and engaged.
7. CROSS YOUR T'S AND DOT YOUR I'S
"We had so much crack at our latest Community Games pubic sports day!"
See what I mean??? Go over your post, check it for grammar and spelling. Put it in a Word document first if it's a long post and do a spell check. Have two people editing your Facebook page and ensure that there is always some kind of moderation and proofing system in place.
8. FEED THE BEAST
Post regularly. Be it once a day or 3 times a week. Put a reminder on your phone. Even if it's just a simple post reminding people that the Swimming Finals are coming up or you are sharing a healthy eating article for Steps to Health. Don't be afraid of overposting - remember you have your audience and you know your audience and as long as what you're posting is relevant to them they will come back. The people who unlike your page or unfollow your posts are probably not going to engage with your Area in real life either.
9. DON'T BE RATTY OR BRATTY
Save the passive aggression and the political debates for a visit to the in-laws ;-) Your facebook page should be free of taboo subjects and controversy. It should be impartial and non-denominational. Avoid being negative about a match or a referee or decisions made.
10. SHINY HAPPY PEOPLE
Yes, you can use emojis! Use them as often as you like - there are so many to choose from - from swimming to smiley faces, from umbrellas (important in Ireland) to trophies.
Use hashtags (not just for Twitter!). A good tip is that if you are looking to post something and you are struggling for inspiration do a quick search on facebook, with for example #womeninsport in the search bar and you'll come across some content that is worth sharing
11. BE SHERLOCK HOLMES
Do your research and take clues from other pages. You can elect public pages to follow to compare with your own. Spy on them! See what they are up to and see what works for them and what doesn't. Take full advantage of your "insights" section on Facebook to see what works for you and what doesn't. At certain times your audience are all asleep so posting at 3am isn't useful. Explore and delve into your analytics. They are in graph and image format and easy to read and digest.
12. LIKE AND SHARE COMPETITIONS ARE SOOO YESTERDAY
So...here's the thing. YES we've done them. And we still run competitions today. However, asking people to like and share your post in order to win something is against Facebook rules. Run competitions where you ask questions and get people to answer in the comments but don't ask them to share your post to be in with a chance of winning.
Don't invest in prizes for competitions - most people will enter the competition for the prize and unfollow your page a few days later. They are not your REAL audience (back to point 1) and you don't need them and you've wasted money.
By all means get a local footballer or athlete to sign a ball or a jersey and give that away as a prize - like that you are keeping it real!
13. SHOW ME THE MONEY
If you have a few bob to spare use it on a Facebook campaign targeting your potential audience (if you are looking for more U8's to enter handwriting in your Area you could target the mums: ie: "34 to 55 year old women living in Ballybofey"). Generally speaking 50 euro gets you 50 new likes. But Likes aren't all that. What you want more than anything is engagement - better to have 10 people who engage with your page than 100 people who don't.
14. NO ONE IS AN EXPERT AND EVERYONE IS AN EXPERT, BUT ONLY YOU KNOW YOUR PAGE
You will find that everyone has an opinion on how to do things on social media and there are of course tried and tested posts that go viral (memes of cats wearing cute outfits are particularly popular). However, you are your own expert. You know yourself what photos to post, what to share and what to write. You also know what doesn't work through trial and error. You know that responding to messages promptly and liking your audience's comments has a positive impact on the effectiveness of your post. Have faith in your own ability and don't be afraid to do something a little bit different!
15. WHY REINVENT THE WHEEL
We pay photographers to take professional photos at each of our Festivals and some of our events like Area Awards etc. If you look after your Area or County Facebook page, send an email to us and we will send you a link to all of the photos from the last 10 years. We also have icons developed with our events on them. We have an online calendar that you can enter your details of events on and then share to Facebook - just click here.
16. LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION
Check-in, Tag and use the @ as much as you can and here's why:
16. CHILDREN FIRST
Please have a look at our Social Media Policy and our Filming and Photography Policies to make sure you are sticking to our guidelines. In a nutshell: Don't post first and second name of a child with a photo, have parents fill in the consent form before putting up photos of children, don't engage on messenger or on your page with young people under 18. If in doubt or if asked, take down a post.
* not safe for work
By Sinead Colleran, Communications Manager, Aldi Community Games
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