How to Introduce Social Media to Youth Sports Programs

by David Finch |
David Finch
David Finch

I must confess that this is probably the most favorite time of the year for me. This is the time of year when high school and college basketball is engaged in tournament play, the NBA and NHL teams are fighting for their chance to make the playoffs and Major League Baseball is getting ready for another season. If you’re a sports fan, like I am, March and April has to be the most exciting time of the year.

What else excites me more is how sports franchises are engaging social media. Their head first dive into social media is encouraging as I watch my favorite teams interact with their fans. For example, a few weeks ago I had a conversation via Twitter with my favorite NBA team about swirling rumors of a potential trade. While they didn’t “spill the beans” on the trade, there was a feeling of connectedness that I wouldn’t get from having the same conversation with another fan at the local sports bar.

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 6: Marian Hossa #81 of ...
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One professional sport league that seems to really be embracing social media is the National Hockey League. Teams are using Twitter, Facebook, blogs, video and photo sharing to engage their fans. For example, here are a few teams you can find on Twitter and Facebook:

Atlanta Thrashers (Twitter)
Detroit Red Wings (Twitter)
Chicago Blackhawks (Twitter)
Chicago Blackhawks (Facebook)
Detroit Red Wings (Facebook)
Montreal Canadiens (Facebook)

While I’m excited about the acceptance of social media by many professional organizations, the area I see an absense of social media is in youth sports, both high school and younger. And as a parent who has kids active in sports, providing opportunities for conversation and interaction would be a lifesaver, especially for the parent who can’t make every game.

Here is my blueprint for incorporating social media for youth sports.

Twitter
Twitter can be the ultimate communication tool for last minute changes. Wouldn’t it be nice to receive a “tweet” that practice will run thirty minutes longer which would allow you to be more productive with your time other then waiting and wondering, “when will it ever get over.”

It also could be used to provide in game updates of the score, injury reports, and brief commentary. This would be ideal for the parent or relative that couldn’t make the game. In addition, it could be used to answer any game related questions for the absent parent or fan.

Facebook Fan Page
Facebook is a great place for video and photos to be uploaded to. Not only that it’s ideal for up-to-date content where fans can participate in. The ability to facilitate discussion boards as well as the latest information on games and team related events.

A Blog
A team blog is another conversation piece where updated content can be provided, photos displayed and videos embedded. Current schedules as well as weekly profile pieces of each player. To maintain security and privacy, these types of posts could easily be password protected.

Another opportunity for the blog is that it could be a communication portal for away games. Maps, game times and ticket prices are just a few ideas for the traveling parent and fan.

Flickr Group
A Flickr group where parents and local fans tag images to be view and commented on. This is a great tool to keep family and friends up to date on the latest team images.

YouTube
Youtube not only provides opportunities for team and individual exposure, but also a password protected way for coaches to upload game clips for players to watch, critique and comment on.

I know what your saying, David, “who’s going to have the time to do all of this?” My answer is a passionate volunteer. In our local sports booster clubs, we have a President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer. This doesn’t include other areas in which parents can get involved. This new position would be the Manager of Social Media. They would work as the hub that brings all digital content together and then makes it available to all social media sites.

What do you think? What would you add to this blueprint? Would this be beneficial for your local sports team and league?

Leave a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts.

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About the Author

David Finch