The Journey: Being A Social Media Strategist For A Local Arena Football Team Part 1

The route I took to realize social media and marketing was my dream career was a long and winding one. Up until I graduated high school, I wanted to be an artist. Someone that people talked about around the World. On the other side of that, accounting caught my eye with a knack for mathematics at the end of high school and beginning of college. The tipping point for switching to marketing was actually the premiere of the hit television show “Mad Men.” The psychology of marketing was interesting, different in every market, and even combined aspects of art. Throughout my entire college career, I took classes on graphic design, web design, marketing, and became the Director of Advertising and Promotions for Illinois State University’s American Marketing Association chapter.

Fast forward to post-college, and it was a struggle to find anything locally that sparked my interest. Eventually, I found a position at a web design and search engine optimization company. I met some great people and learned so much in the 2 years I was there, but my division was being removed from the company. I found another position afterward as the marketing coordinator for a bath remodeling company in town. Throughout my time after college, I have fought to continue my education and knowledge of all marketing avenues. Whether it was LinkedIn Learning, Hubspot Integrated Marketing Communications Certification or finding odd jobs on Odesk or InternRocket, I was constantly evolving and always learning. Although I had years of marketing experience behind me, I had zero experience in sports, my dream career, and current focus. I messaged every local sports team asking if there were volunteer or internship possibilities in their marketing department. Most of the local teams have a small market, and I knew salaried positions wouldn’t be available, so offering my experience was the only way to draw their attention. Only a few days later I received a message back from the local Arena Football team (Bloomington Edge) and was basically hired on the spot after showing the owner and manager my portfolio.

It’s currently been 4 weeks since I’ve been volunteering for the Edge and I’ve learned a lot about local markets, segmentation, game day operations and the passion that everyone in the company has for their team. As the Social Media Strategist, I have performed quite a lot in my time with the team and would love to share exactly what I did and how it was done. Hopefully, my experience will be able to generate interest in aspiring social media managers and sports enthusiasts.

First: My first responsibility was to create a social media analysis of the current social media channels the Edge were involved with, and if there were avenues they should join. At the time of this post, the Edge was on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, all of which I feel is reasonable and necessary for the segments and markets they are trying to reach. I didn’t have access to the social accounts yet so my analysis was based on content, traffic, responsiveness, and benchmarking against the competition. The conclusion of the review was the Edge is doing a great job currently with the numbers of followers but lacked consistent content and differentiation between each channel. Future goals would include regular posting, different posts for each channel, and increasing the amount of various media used.

Second: The next responsibility was to create a social media calendar for the preseason and season. Although the creation of a social media calendar seems like a simple task, it increasingly became more complicated. First I had to come up with general ideas for social media through the off-season. Some ideas that were green-lit include celebrating birthdays for players/coaches/cheerleaders, 12 days of “gifmas,” short clips of highlights from the previous year, information on arena football rules and its history, and circulating hyped posts with our own touch. The last instance included a post that changed the McDonalds math question that went viral with Edge logos and mascots instead. The complexity of the calendar really shot up during the season preparations. Live practices, highlights, game day videos, circulation of ticket sales, promotions, locker room pictures, scheduling and more. A lot went into the calendar, and it took me hours to complete. I would suggest spending as much time as possible at this step to create a timeline for production and stay on track. Always remain open to the chance of switching posts around and being impulsive.

Part 2 will be up soon with information on how social media posts have been performing, expectations, and ways I’ve helped develop hype in the off-season.

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