Five Questions Teams Should Ask About Social Media

I recently enjoyed reading Jeremiah Owyang's post about the five questions companies ask about social media. This inspired me to put my own spin on this and apply it to the world of sports. While Jeremiah discussed the questions from his experience about what companies actually ask him, I decided to write the questions that I think teams should be asking about social media.

What is Social Media?

Common Craft does a great job at explaining complex things in simple ways. Here's there video about social media that makes it pretty easy to understand, in my opinion. Obviously there is a lot more to it than this but the video makes it easy to grasp the basic concept of social media and why it is so powerful.

Social Media in Plain English from leelefever on Vimeo.

Why Does It Matter?

Social media and related tools allow people to easily connect around common interests, form close bonds and make their opinions heard. Sports generates a huge amount of passion in people, and social media has made it easier for people to display and share their passion for their favorite players, teams and sports. People are now consuming information about your team in new ways, instead of just reading about you in the newspaper or watching ESPN. Fans write their own news and can reach a large amount of people through simple blogging and social media tools. If you're winning, people are talking about you. If you're losing, people are talking about you. Just know that even if you choose not to get involved, the conversation is still happening. You might as well monitor it and participate, don't you think?

What Does It Mean For Fans?

Sports fans love talking. If you give them an opportunity to react to stories and videos, share them and submit their own stories, you're providing a way for them to become even more engaged with your team. Instead of having the conversation take place only on outside message boards because your team website isn't relevant, why not open the site up for conversations, or start a new site (ex: to provide an outlet for fans to connect and communicate?

Another part of this is that social media tools have given fans who don't live in your team's city a way to keep up with what's going on and connect with other like-minded fans.

What Does It Mean For Sponsors?

Building a team community website and/or participating in other social media sites gives sponsors a way to extend their connection to the team and provide relevant content or exclusives to fans online. Sponsors can get more impressions and have the opportunity to engage fans in new ways through content, communities, blogs, groups and widgets.

How Can Social Media Help Generate Revenue?

Social media tools can help teams reach more fans and deepen their connection with current fans. More engaged fans means more ticket sales, merchandise sales and increased revenues. Teams can also take advantage of social media tools to provide new ways for sponsors to activate. New activation ideas and more options for sponsors should help teams generate more revenue.

That's all I've got for now. What else should teams be thinking about in the social media space? If you've had experience working with teams on their social media initiatives, what questions have they asked you?