Dos and Don’ts of Social Media
There is no denying it – social media is the way to communicate in the 21st Century.
As you’re thinking of ways to grow your league, increase participation, and improve communications with your constituents and community, social media can be a very powerful tool. Having a presence on social media outlets is necessary to communicate with today’s parents and volunteers, but as a Little League® official, taking the appropriate steps to ensure your social media outlets are used to the best of their ability is vital.
Facebook and Twitter are still your go-to tools for social networking. If you want to focus on just one site, Facebook has the most users and the best ability for sharing detailed information. Using Twitter and Instagram can help spread your league name and give more instantaneous updates from your league. If you don’t have the resources to populate multiple accounts, the best site to focus your efforts on is Facebook. If you do have multiple accounts, look into sites like HootSuite that allow you to manage multiple social media sites from one website.
As you plan your social media efforts this Little League season, here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:
Do: Find a volunteer or team of volunteers to head up your efforts: Creating a position in a league or district for a dedicated social media manager will not only ensure that your online presence has a constant pulse, but it is also a great way to get more parents involved as volunteers for your league. Make sure these people work closely with your Board of Directors, so they can share important information to your fans and help improve your communications.
Don’t: Use photos or videos of individuals without their permission: Photos and videos are great ways to get noticed on social media, but make sure you have permission before sharing a picture of a player or fan. It’s a good idea to have your players’ parents fill out a model release form early in the year and keep it on file. Identify a set of photos that you can use on social media, and ensure that you have the OK from those people in the picture before using that post.
Do: Create ways to post on a consistent basis: During the season, it’s easy to find updates to share with your social media followers, but make sure you pay attention to your accounts throughout the year. Find fun things to talk about and share quotes or inspirational posts to keep your parents, volunteers, and players excited about Little League during the off season. On Facebook, use tools like events and calendars to keep people informed of important dates on your league’s schedule.
Don’t: Engage in debates that are better suited for a private conversation: Remember, once it’s posted on any website, that statement or image is public. Be careful when you’re posting and make sure that you’re reflecting your league in the most positive light. If your community members start posting or tweeting about a specific issue, encourage them to contact the league via email or attend the next Board meeting. Getting into a social media discussion that could become heated should be avoided.
Do: Identify new ways your social media can help support your league: Little League is about community, so are social media sites. When creating posts, think of ways social media can support your league outside of updates and basic communications. Consider connecting with schools and organizations that might support your league and offer to cross-post and promote activities that benefit your league. Thank your local sponsors by posting links to their social media pages or websites. Also, for a very minimal investment, advertising on social media can be very effective in broadening the audience of your posts.
Use of Little League trademarks, such as a local league logo, may be used on social media sites in the same manner they are used on the league website. Such use is required to follow the trademark guidelines for local leagues found here: http://www.littleleague.org/learn/partnerships/licensing/localleagues.htm.
More than anything, social media is a way to share the fun of Little League with your followers and their friends. Your presence should reflect the positive, emotional impact of the league to not only its players, parents, and volunteers, but the entire community. As your online community grows, your posts will become more impactful, and more people will see the important information you share on your pages, which will help attract the next generation of Little Leaguers and volunteers to your league.