The Major League Baseball (MLB) playoffs started last week and it has provided baseball fans with some great moments so far. From sudden-death games to amazing plays and pictures of stadium-goers cheering their hearts out for their teams, there is excitement everywhere one looks.
So, why can’t it be the same for your organization’s social media and its target audience? You might not get people painting their faces with your logo (although one can dream), but the MLB playoffs can teach us a thing or two about engaging your audience and creating a special feeling around the activities of your organization, whether it’s an association, a non-profit or a small business. Here are just a few of those lessons:
Put It All On The Line
There’s no moment that is more exciting in professional sports than a do-or-die elimination game, a game when the loser goes home to contemplate what might have been and the winner moves on to pursue further glory. In the MLB playoffs, this do-or-die moment happens immediately with a one-game play-in game where the winner moves into the second round of the playoffs. Every baseball fan is glued to their TV sets to see which team will triumph and live another day.
There’s lots for organizations can learn about social media from this winner-take-all format. Primarily, it teaches us all that creating a sense of immediacy builds excitement and engagement in an audience. These kind of one-day, deadline-reaching moments happen in almost all industries, whether it’s a membership dues deadline, the last day to register for a conference, the last day of a big sale or the last day a product is available. It’s your job to capture this down-to-the-wire feeling on social media and have people be invested in the outcome. Make things a race, tell them how high the stakes are and make sure they know that they will share in the glory if things are successful (which they will be if they meet the deadline!).
Always Be Flexible
There was a moment in the seventh inning of Sunday’s Blue Jay-Rangers playoff game when the Blue Jays’ best pitcher was warming up, getting ready to replace the current pitcher if he needed to. This is highly unusual and would make the best pitcher unavailable to start the next game. But, it was a do-or-die situation for the Jays and they needed to throw convention out the window in order to succeed. Flexibility is key to managing a playoff team to victory.
The same thing goes for social media management; flexibility is crucial. It’s always important to have a plan for your social media accounts and stick to it. You need to know what kind of content to post and when and how you are going to respond to people in a variety of circumstances. However, there will come a time when the unexpected happens and you need to change up your social media plans. A natural disaster may affect your audience or your local community or new legislation may pass that changes the way your audience goes about its life or its business. Whatever the scenario, you need to be ready to deviate from your planned course and address the situation at hand. If you don’t already, have a general outline of how to manage your social media accounts in the event of a natural disaster, bad news, heavy criticism, etc.
Create A Sense of Pride
It was an awe-inspiring sight to see 50,000 Blue Jays fans all waving white towels during the team’s first home playoff game in 22 years. They were joined by million of people across the country all cheering on the nation’s only MLB team. An entire nation was on their side and it created a welling of pride from coast to coast that is often reserved for the Olympics. Everyone from pre-school children to 90-year-old great grandparents were engaged and excited to follow along with the team’s triumphs or failures.
The scenario above is what every social media manager dreams of and it would do them good to take a page from the MLB playoffs when trying to make this dream a reality. When managing a social media account, it is necessary to do more than just promote your brand and sell your products; you need to promote your audience’s part in all of that. You need to make your audience feel like they contribute to the success of the organization and have a part in guiding it on its path to triumph. Ask for feedback on social media, profile members or customers, don’t be robotic or scripted with responses; take the time to learn about the engaged members of your community and encourage them to keep participating. And, as always, make sure your audience knows that it will share in any success your organization achieves!