5 Tips for Using Social Media from Digital Basketball Experts

Over the past year or so I’ve been lucky enough to be able to secure interviews with some of the brightest digital media minds in the hoops world on how they use social media to grow their basketball brands.

Their experience and advice has been put together in the e-book “Basketball & Social Media” but below I’ve collated 5 of their top tips for you to be able to go and use right away!

1) Treat It as A National TV Interview

Peter Robert Casey, most well known for being the first media credentialed blogger in basketball history, says that whether you’re a coach, athlete or staff member, you need to recognise that everything you say is being broadcast to the world.

Act in the heat of the moment, and your followers are ready to screencap anything they know will be deleted when you’re in a more reflective mood!

“Treat social media the same way you’d handle a national television interview,” Casey says. “If you wouldn’t say it during a national television interview, don’t say it on social media. Period.”

If you’re at the helm of a basketball team or organisation, be prepared to provide a policy or guidelines for your team.

“Unless the policy is no social media at all, the training element is absolutely necessary,” he continued. “The words and actions of players, coaches and staff are always a representation of their team and organisation.”

2) Read and React

It isn’t always best to hop straight onto the newest social media fad believes Craig Miller, the media chief for USA Basketball.

“The important thing is not necessarily being first,” he began. “But being proactive and being able to quickly and effectively integrate whatever is next into your communication efforts.”

Be aware of new platforms appearing, (the most recent example being Vine) but don’t jump straight on it for the sake of being on there. Work out the benefit and craft a strategy.

3) How Can You Make Your Business Inherently More Social?

It’s extremely easy to get caught up in the online world and forget that you’re trying to run an offline business. The key is integrating the two so they complement and benefit each other

The NBA’s VP of Marketing, Melissa Rosenthal-Brenner, spoke about how the league changes their use of social media during marquee events such as NBA All Star Weekend.

“Everything gets “plus-ed” up, for lack of a better term,” she said. “We’re constantly examining how we could do things better and, whether it’s voting for the MVP or voting for the slam dunk winner, how do you inherently make them more social.”

Rosenthal-Brenner went on to say the NBA regularly looks at their existing business and tries to figure out ways to add more social elements to it.

Whether it’s fan voting, question and answer sessions or something else, ask how can you make the experience more social and help fans connect with not only your organisation but also one another.

4) Take the Good with the Bad

One of the things that came up regularly with our digital basketball experts was the fear a lot of organisations have of using social media because of the potential for negative feedback.

Nicolas Chapart is the world governing body’s Head of Digital, and says they have found an open approach is best.

“One can’t really control what people will say about FIBA, even if they happen to say something negative about FIBA we won’t delete the comment,” he said, unless it is vulgar or racist. “Depending on the attack, we reply and it usually works quite well. Users are positively surprised to get an answer from FIBA and that very often helps to cool down the situation.

“We are quite open on comments, there is very few that we ban. People are free to express their views as long as it is not racist or does not attack other individuals, players and/or coaches.”

Whether or not your organisation is active on a platform, the conversations will be happening anyway; you may as well have a hand in crafting those conversations.

5) Measure Your Bottom Line

Remember why you are using social media in the first place. Are you trying to increase ticket sales? Produce a response to a specific call to action?

David Astramskas, who has worked on social media campaigns with everyone in the basketball world ranging from NBA athletes to Ballislife and Team Flight Brothers, says setting goals is crucial for success.

“The only way to have any type of success with social media is to make reasonable goals. If I can’t create realistic ones on a project then I’m just setting myself up to fail.

“If I was just interested in getting a certain number of votes on a poll, clicks on a banner or views on a video that pays out because of volume, then high volume is my goal.

“If I’m trying to sell a product, “likes” don’t equal purchases and I rather have 10 likes that turn into 10 sales than 100,000 likes and 1 sale. The only way to get those sales is to capitalise off your fans no matter how big or small that number is.”

Astramskas summed it up by saying:

“Yes, it looks awesome to say look at these massive numbers but it looks more awesome to look into a private bank account and see massive numbers.”

Always make sure you’re actions are in line with your goals.

How are you promoting your basketball organisation using social media? Let me know in the comments. 

You can download all the interviews in the Basketball & Social Media e-book here.

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