Friday, May 25, 2012

Expanding Your Social Media Following - Part II

by David Portney, AVCA Media Relations & Awards Support Specialist

This is Part II of a three-part series highlighting the top-3 things you should be doing with a respective social media account (facebook, twitter and pinterest).  

As the manager of our social media sites here at the AVCA, I have seen first-hand what kind of impact social media has had on the world, but more specifically on the volleyball community.  It is no longer a wave of the future, IT IS HERE RIGHT NOW.  If you’re a volleyball coach, player or SID and your team does not have a social media presence, then now is the time my friend and I am here to help!  

I know many of you are already hitting that world hard, but there are a few suggestions that can get your accounts to keep growing!

Today's topic: Twitter.

I love it.  Why do I love it?  Because it’s simple.  

While Facebook is a lot of fun, there’s sort of a lot going on involving links, photos, thumbnails, advertisements, status updates, likes, comments and shares (deep breath) that it can be a bit overwhelming.  Twitter is just what message you can portray in 140 characters or less with maybe a photo if you feel inclined.
With that being said, here are the top-3 things to keep in mind when running a Twitter account for your team:

Humanize it
This is one of the first methods I changed when I first took over our social media sites almost two years ago.  Too many times our account made it sound like some AVCA robot drone was punching in the tweets, and that is flat-out boring and un-engaging.  I want our followers to feel that an actual human AVCA employee is reading their tweets and engaging with them as a result.  And that employee is me!  So follow us @AVCAVolleyball!

It’s difficult to really talk specifics about this because  (if you read Part I about facebook) it will vary depending on your program and what you’re trying to accomplish with your account.  So go ahead and crack a corny joke if you feel it could get a laugh or two and see what kind of interaction you get!

Speaking of which, make sure you use mentions and hash tags in your tweets when necessary.  That’s a great way to connect your tweets to other accounts and the Twitter universe outside of your own network.  Make sure you’re following relevant accounts including your own players’!

You know…actually tweet

Simply opening up a Twitter account and posting your final match score isn’t enough.  If you’re going to head into this world you have to be engaged in order to reap any of the benefits.  That means tweeting often enough to make sure your followers know you’re out there!  Don’t let them forget about you…ever. 

If you can’t find much to tweet about, think of posting more about your life as the volleyball coach or SID.  Tweet about the practices and film sessions or the lunch stops on the road.  Your followers will love the “insider” access, and as a result will be more engaged and supportive of not only your account…but your team.

However, with this comes a catch and you might not want to hear it.  This is almost a 24/7 responsibility.  If you really want to do it to the best you possibly can you have to be checking and tweeting at all times.  Obviously there are pockets in the day you can separate yourself from it, but mostly it needs to be a constant part of your life.  Once you start getting a bunch of tweets and are communicating directly with fans and followers it’ll be fun anyway!

Don’t link your Facebook and Twitter accounts
I know, I know, I know, you don’t need to say it.  It is easier; I get that, but with it comes a big drawback.  The majority of Facebook posts are over 140 characters, meaning on Twitter the message gets cut off and the follower has to click on a link to see the rest of the message.  I’m going to clue you in on something; very few people will ever click on a link to see the rest of the message.

Facebook and Twitter serve different functions.  As I said above, using mentions and hash tags are great ways to expand your Twitter network, but if your tweets are linked then you eliminate that possibility.  Plus, aesthetically it’s just not pleasing because a Facebook-linked tweet is obvious to see.

I always love hearing some feedback, so feel free to comment below or shoot me an email at  I enjoy talking about this kind of stuff, and I'm here to help with any questions, comments or concerns you might have about creating or expanding your social media network!

Next week I’ll talk the exciting new world of Pinterest…stay tuned!