Tricks of the Trade to Maintaining a Happy, Engaged Social Community

I’ve spent a lot of time managing communities online. I love this aspect of my job; I get satisfaction in connecting directly with passionate fans, receiving instant feedback and seeing how people consume and engage with brands / content. In full disclosure, I even get a “case of the refresh” every now and then to see how much traction a post is getting. Come on, I know I’m not alone.

As a community manager, I get to learn about the heart of my company’s online audience everyday- what makes them tick, what they are passionate about, how they react, what they share, what they don’t like, etc.  Over time, I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade to maintaining a happy and engaged social community . Below are four of my simple rules, along with examples from others that back it up. Hopefully they’ll translate for you, but I understand every audience is different:

1. Don’t Over Think
If you have to spend more than 20 minutes crafting the right copy for your Facebook post, then you’re probably over-thinking it. Either that, or your post is way too long (if you have a lot to say, direct them to a link). Fans like it short, sweet and simple in social. Example:

Screen Shot 2013-05-02 at 11.14.01 PM

2. It’s Not Just About You
No one likes someone who talks about himself or herself all the time; the same is true in social media.  Teams, leagues, etc. need to find a way to connect and engage with fans. If you’re constantly pushing and not cultivating, you will eventually lose your captive audience. Make sure you find a way to make fans feel included and valued:

  • ask them questions
  • wish them a happy weekend
  • use fan-generated content
  • create technique videos featuring players to help your younger audience hone their skills

Whatever you do, make an effort to make sure it’s not just about you (and be sure to have some fun). It works. Example:

Screen Shot 2013-05-02 at 11.15.06 PM

3. Fans Like the Emotion of Sports
Why do we like sports? I’d like to think it’s because sports test the limits of the human spirit, inspire us, make us believe, excite us and connect us; we like the raw emotion and the passion that comes with the games. Emotional moments in sports are social media gold– people connect with them, share them, engage with them.

Teams and leagues need to be on the lookout for video clips of raw emotion and quotable quotes. Example:

Screen Shot 2013-05-02 at 11.17.26 PM

4.  Your Community Doesn’t Want You to Sell Them Tickets
All too often I see boring posts about buying tickets, attending games and pushing schedules. This doesn’t work. If you want to sell tickets  to your community, then you need to sell the experience, the excitement, the drama. I think the best marketing pieces schools put out year after year are the football intro videos; they make you want to be there. It’s about content marketing, not selling. 

It’s time for schools, teams, etc. to take the football intro video model and integrate it into all the marketing they do with their online communities. Remember, it’s about selling the experience to your community, not the ticket. Example:

Now it’s time for you to help me add to the list. What works well for your community / audience that others can learn from?

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