The greatest chunk of my digital career has been working in sport - but as I discussed with Chris Hood on his Phoenix FM Sport show on Saturday, the same best-practice principles apply for digital business re using websites, social media, high quality content.
Whatever your business sphere or area of activity in Brentwood, where I'm based, or beyond, you want to promote yourself in the best possible way, get yourself in front of the biggest possible relevant audience online, and bring them through your online shop door - to sample your goods or services.
You can listen to the full interview on the Phoenix FM website.
But some of the areas covered included how important it is for any sports club or body to have a presence online, and the same goes for businesses. It's taken as read now - its just part of being in business, part of being in the sports business; and in that world, for smaller clubs, being a visible part of their community. Again, it's the same for you if you're a small business, or sole trader.
At the start of the century, sports bodies and clubs were just getting going with websites, and realising they had to invest. Then there has been a rapid growth over the past 15 years. And that has encompassed the use of audio, video, live audio/video, social media - leading to huge potential global reach. And those big audiences bring an upside in communications terms (positive promotion of you) and potential commercial returns. But the opportunity is there for all.
In terms of social networks in sport, Twitter and Facebook - probably everyone does; but don’t forget YouTube - giving you the ability to aggregate video content and raise your profile enormously; and Instagram, for a pictorial focus, but increasingly video too. Again, the same lessons apply to your Brentwood High Street business, as much as for Billericay Town and Brentwood Town.
There are guidelines and best practice as to how often and when you tweet or post if you’re a business. Sport is different - because of the curve leading up to, during and after match days.
Engagement is so important in the digital business …. that’s what makes social media such an opportunity as opposed to websites. We are social beings, and social allows us to enter conversations, replying to questions and queries. In the sports world it gives us the ability to get closer to our teams / our heroes - satisfying a deep-seated need, and makes us feel like they’re talking to us.
Teams can inject their personality - as can businesses - into their social postings….using the right terminology and team hashtags - and cultivating a tone, as well as finding space for humour and controversy.
It's hard to quantify engagement levels and the resulting value of social activity - but benchmarking platforms are out there, and are becoming more and more sophisticated.
The downside is, using digital and social media effectively, for sports clubs and businesses, can take a lot of resources - people time, and money. But don't be afraid to outsource, get professional help, and reap the rewards as a result.