If nothing else, every effective social media pro I meet understands one thing — success and silos are not a winning combination. In any organization, and even more so in sports, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. And social media is the fulcrum upon which the lever can move up and down. With ticket sales, corporate sponsorships, community relations, season ticket service and sales, group sales, public relations, marketing, fan development, youth outreach, merchandise, game operations, concessions, and even team operations, it can be easy to succumb to silos and tunnel vision. The “do your job” mantra and mentality now made famous from Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots.
But Coach Belichick and his team don’t have the potentially powerful secret weapon, the performance enhancer that is social media at their disposal. We are a society of specialization. One in which athletes are starting to commit to one sport year-round, when talented musicians and dancers devote all of their free time to their craft and nothing else, and when workers strive to be the best at what their job requires. There is nothing wrong with wanting to do what you are tasked to do to the greatest degree of effectiveness possible. But not with blinders on. This is especially vital in social media.
At the end of the day, every team and organization has business goals and its web of inter-connected and autonomous departments all affect the furthering of these goals in some way. A series of fires that, in optimal circumstances, come together in a conflagration of success. And social media is the gasoline, the lighter fluid, the element that amplifies and enhances all the rest.
The person in PR is not best-served being fatuously oblivious to what marketing, sales, and sponsorship is doing. The game operations head should be right in-step with what is going in fan development and community relations. And the social media head needs to be deeply engaged and informed in all of it. Pretty much every department’s success is ultimately tied to the fans of the team. And social media, increasingly so, is the most direct and effective line to reach the fans, in any capacity and or any purpose. Social media is no longer an afterthought, but a key ingredient to any department’s recipe.
So how come so many are seemingly happy to proceed amidst a collection of cubicles, where not every ounce of resources and effort is mobilized to help push and progress every campaign and activity? Part of it is ignorance and inertia and part of is sheer laziness or, at least, lack of effort.
An organization can and should be proactive in breaking down such silos by assuring everyone knows how their campaigns and efforts affect the path to the bottom line goals. And every department head must recognize the value of social media, even if it feels new and disrupts the old routine, by inviting the social media manager to be aware of, and contribute to, each and every campaign. This requires communication and transparency. It requires collaboration and collective effort. But, in the end, it the way to wins for everyone.
When looking at the weapons in one’s arsenal, social media is the one consistent arrow in everyone’s quiver. To leave it untouched and concealed is a lost opportunity every time. And in this age of specialization when everyone is trying to do their job the best they can, how can any bullet go left unfired?
So are you sitting in a word of silos and, even worse, naively satisfied with doing so? Take some time to understand what everyone does in the organization and how it connects to your success. And, of course, don’t leave your social media lighter fluid unused. Fan the flames and fire away. Bust down the silos and start succeeding with synergy. Sports is about teamwork — on the playing field and in the offices, too.