If You Build Community, Social Media and Mobile Sports Revenue Will Come

It’s a series of sprints, not a marathon. Short, strong sentences win. And the accumulation of micro-engagement is social and mobile media’s magic to turn followers into fans, and fans into super-fans.

In the “old days,” (not all that long ago), the idea was to cast a wide net with a TV ad buy, a banner on a high-traffic website, or a billboard on the right freeway in the right part of town. But now the channels are direct. And daily. Building an engaged community of customers is developing true fans that spread your messages, co-create content (earned media), and are receptive when offers do come. I recently spoke with Lauren Teague, Social Strategist with Convince and Convert and Social Media Coach for Teague FC, who described this point perfectly in a re-telling of how she shaped social in her time with the PGA Tour.

“The original strategy (and still accurate) is…using digital and social media to make fans better fans…If someone was avid, we wanted to give them as much content as they consume, as much changes to engage…If someone watched one or two events a year…giving them enough content and fun ways to tell stories about golf that made them watch and think about watching more than one event…or streaming live video…or following a tournament more closely…

We’re often so focused on fishing for more fans that we forget to feed and foster the fans that are already there. It’s important to acknowledge and appreciate them, equip and facilitate them to advocate, learn more about them to make them more avid (and likely to spend more) fans. Not every “conversion” in this new era of mini engagements all day, every day, is affixed with a dollar sign. Every post has a goal, all content has KPI’s.

Of increasing fan frequency and avidity, Teague described how the PGA Tour grew and augmented their fan community.

“[We valued those] micro-conversions. We couldn’t track brand affinity using social…but we were able to use insights to show we were reaching an audience we don’t normally reach…As we evolved…we (valued) the engaged fan base…so we got to tell those (metrics) stories differently…It’s about how our fan are engaging…looking at engagement per posts and engagement per channel…”

Here’s the fun part — an engaged community is (at risk of labeling an audience a commodity) monetizable. That doesn’t mean brand logos or @ mentions haphazardly slapped on content, it means integrating sponsors in a relevant fashion your fans will welcome OR tying objectives to KPI’s that your business values. PR teams are an expense designed to deliver and craft messages to wide audiences. Social media and mobile media reaching fans can serve a similar purpose, even at this most basic level of metrics, and, therefore, has real business value. This just barely scratches the surface. Fans that are active, paying attention, and engaged represents an incredible opportunity. Teague seized upon it with the PGA Tour.
“We were starting to tie dollars back to social media programs…we were looking at driving traffic to the site, driving video views and consumption, and optimizing our content for clicks…And actually creating social campaigns that could be sponsored, and generate real dollars…So we were driving real revenue…Not a ton, but we were driving revenue, not when it was expected, but when it was needed to push efforts forward.”

Read that excerpt above again next time someone asks about the ROI of social and mobile media. It comes in many shapes and sizes. Ultimately, it comes down to reaching and activating fans/consumers. Good content can accomplish the same objective, even more effectively, as an old-fashioned TV ad buy. It’s time that fact is fully appreciated and maximized.

We’re still on the front nine of this shift in the paradigm. We’ve entered the era of engagement. Have your fans thought about you today at least once?

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