As captain of the UC San Diego Sailing Team I have sought to improve the visibility of the team and deepen our roots to the San Diego community. One device that we have used to accomplish that goal is social media.
Our team produced a Facebook page in late October of 2012 and updated it semi-regularly getting team members and recent alumni to “like” the page, reaching about 50 likes. Since then the posts have grown more consistent and contained more engaging and relevant information for people to respond to, attempting to build on personalization and two-way communication that social media allows for. Through encouraging the team to outreach to close friends and family we have well over 100 likes and climbing. This number is now rising due to viral spread of information; When people like and comment on our content their friends see it posted in their news feed and in turn like our page to learn more.
In these short 5 months the page has launched to be UCSD’s 3rd most liked sports team, behind varsity basketball (page established 2011) and club baseball (established 2010), we expect to pass basketball by the end of March and hope to pass baseball in May.
Facebook’s “Insights” are most useful statistics in seeing what worked and what hasn’t in our posts. When we hosted a regatta in late January, anticipation, coverage of the event, and recap and conclusion spurred our reach higher than it had ever gone. We can also see the affect of including pictures and links in our content on popularity, including engagement with the content itself be it photo views or additional clicks as a result of the post.
Additionally, we launched a Twitter page earlier this week, seeing if we cannot gain from having multiple sources of online social media. A brief search around though shows college teams attempting to keep this up, only to abandon the page after a short while. That being said, we gained a viral follower simply by posting with trending topics and hash-tagging other teams and groups in the sailing world.
The advice reviewed on this blog will be incorporated into these sites, however keep in mind that we are a sports team and don’t sell a product, so offering deals or products is a harder task for us to accomplish. Instead we strive for community engagement and spread of content.