How to Use Twitter to Market and Promote Your Sports Team
The Internet has leveled the playing field for sports teams wanting to market themselves. Thanks to technology like WordPress, you, too, can start a sports team website and promote yourself to the outside world.
At the same time, social media channels allow you to connect with fans and followers for free. In earlier articles, we have already talked about how to market your team on Pinterest, Instagram or via your own Facebook team page.
To continue in this vein, today we want to talk about another marketing channel open to sports teams: Twitter. No other industry has embraced the microblogging platform as readily as sports teams and their fans.
For good reason, Twitter is an effective tool to promote your team online, find new fans and followers and connect with them in a direct way.
For that reason, in this article, you will learn about the benefits Twitter offers as a marketing tool, how to get started on the platform and tips for developing a Twitter marketing strategy for your sports team.
Ready to talk in 140 characters? Then let’s get started.
The Benefits for Using Twitter for Sports Team Marketing
The first question many people ask is why they should use Twitter to begin with. After all, there are so many other social networks and Twitter is far from the most popular.
While it used to be the second largest platform, Twitter has been passed by by other networks, mostly from the Facebook family.
Apart from that, it can feel a little limited being forced to communicate with a set number of characters. So, why opt for Twitter?
Access to Over 300 Million Active Users
Although it dwarfs in comparison to Facebook, the Twitter user base is anything but small.
In the second quarter of 2016, the network could count on 313 million active monthly users worldwide (almost half of which use the service on a daily basis), making it the 9th largest social network in the world, right after Instagram.
(By the way, don’t miss our complete guide to Instagram marketing for sports teams.)
In addition to that, the majority of Twitter users reside outside the US (79% percent to be exact), meaning its audience is very international and thus a marketing opportunity for whichever country you reside in.
Finally, the Twitter crowd is passionate about a great number of topics and you will find others who share your interest no matter which sport or discipline you are in. Optimal conditions to market your sports team on Twitter.
Real-Time Updates and Interactions
One of the strong points of the Twitter platform is its immediacy — everything happens in real time. Users can follow world events live and breaking news often appears on Twitter before anywhere else.
For that reason, the network gives you instant access to the most up-to-date and relevant content in your area and a way to stay on top of what is happening in your discipline.
At the same time, it’s also a prime candidate for providing live updates to your fans and keeping people in the loop about what’s going on with your team right now. You can tweet score changes, shots on the goal, photos of fan reactions and much more.
A Level Playing Field
As should be obvious by now, Twitter is as much a tool for broadcasting your own information as it is a news outlet. In fact, many users will swing by specifically for the latest scoop without chiming into the discussion or starting one of their own.
That’s not an accident but the goal of Twitter’ extensive search options. Anyone can look for the latest news on any topic they might be interested in.
To achieve this, Twitter orders all tweets by recency, not by whom they have been sent or how many followers that person has.
That means you can get your own content in front of a lot of people just by mentioning a trending topic or hashtag regardless of your own follower number.
This makes being noticed on Twitter much easier than trying to game the complicated algorithm Facebook uses to serve content to people’s news feeds.
Twitter Users Are a Talkative Bunch
Another benefit of Twitter is that the platform is geared toward user interaction. There are no barriers (such as an existing connection) to keep people from talking to one another.
The good news is that this gives your fans direct access to your team and the opportunity to start a conversation. If their favorite player is on Twitter as well, they can also talk to him or her directly.
The same is true for you and you can use it to your advantage by building a network and relationships with others in the same area and with the same interests.
More importantly, however, it’s also a great opportunity for doing market research for your sports team and figuring out what people in your industry or fans are thinking, feeling or saying about you. This can be a gold mine of information!
In short, Twitter is a great tool for talking to a highly targeted audience, building relationships, staying up to date and keeping others in the loop.
However, how can start taking advantage of this tool? That’s what we will get to now.
Getting Started With Twitter Marketing for Sports Teams
To use Twitter for your sports team marketing, we first need to set up an account and configure it, so that’s what we will look at now.
Create Your Account
As the first step, go to the Twitter homepage.
Here, find the box that says New to Twitter? Sign up. Provide a full name (of your team), valid email address and password and click Sign up for Twitter. This will get the process started.
In the next screen, you may be asked to provide a valid phone number.
You can skip ahead by clicking the small link at the bottom. However, providing a number can make sense in case you need to recover your password later on. Plus, Twitter uses the number to send a verification code for your new account but you can also validate via email.
After that, it’s time to choose a username. This is your unique Twitter handle that will determine your account’s web address and others will use to talk to you.
You can change it later if necessary, however, that’s, of course, a scenario you should try to avoid. If you have other social profiles for your team, it makes sense to try and make all handles identical.
Overall try to make your Twitter handle something relevant, easy to remember and short. Twitter messages can only have 140 characters, so long handles can make it hard for others to tweet at you.
After you continue from here, you will face a number of additional steps:
- Adding areas of interest to your account so Twitter can get to know you better
- Importing existing email contacts to Twitter
- Following your first few accounts
- Turn on or off browser notifications
For now, you can skip all of these steps. No need to get too far into them before having finished your profile. Once you are through with that, your account is finally created.
Fill Out Your Profile
The next step to set your team up for Twitter success is to fill out your profile completely. That way, you will show up in relevant searches and can make a positive impression on anyone viewing your profile.
So first, click on your account name in the upper left corner to see how it looks to others.
Pretty blank, right? Don’t worry, you can change all of that by clicking Edit profile in the upper right corner.
In particular, take care of the following:
- Set a custom background design — Like Facebook header images, Twitter users can set up custom backgrounds to reflect who they are. Make sure to choose an image that represents your team well and looks good. Check our guide on taking high-quality team photos for tips on this, and also our tips on branding for sports teams. Check this site for the right dimensions.
- Choose a representative profile pic — The same goes for your profile picture. The classic choice for sports teams here is to use the logo (learn how to create your own) but you can also come up with something else. Just make sure it is easily recognizable.
- Provide a concise and descriptive bio — Generally on Twitter, brevity is key. That also goes for the bio. You have 160 characters to introduce yourself so make it count. Describe your team and what followers can expect from following you. Include relevant hashtags if you want (more on that below).
- Provide a link to your website — The goal of your Twitter profile is to function as an entry path to your website. For that reason, providing a link back is essential.
- Configure theme color — Theme color is a pretty cool feature that allows you to configure the color of links and other elements on your profile. You can use your own basic team color here by inputting its hex code (just FYI, you can do the same on your website with our SportsPress plugin).
Location and birthday are optional. It might make sense to fill out the first part to attract local followers (and maybe sponsors), however, it’s not completely necessary.
After saving the changes you are all set and can start tweeting and growing your following. Don’t worry if you have no idea about how to do that yet, we will give you a lot of tips next.
Twitter Marketing Strategy for Sports Teams
Ok, now that we are all set, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of this article. In the following, we will give you a number of tips how to promote your sports team on Twitter, find followers and more.
Define Your Goal
The very first thing you need to do is figure out what it is you want to get out of Twitter.
Most commonly, the answer will be gaining followers and leading them back to your website. However, your focus can also be a different:
- Giving fans and followers a way to directly get in touch with your team
- Providing coverage of team events
- Connecting with potential partners like sponsors, sports organizations and venues
- Amplify content published on other platforms
Of course, your particular goal can also be a mix of the above. However, it is important to define it first as it will influence the kind of content you publish and other things.
Publish Regularly And in Do It in Your Brand Voice
Twitter’s strength — real-time updates — is also one of its curses. Because of how the platform works, the average half life of a Tweet is not very long, especially for popular topics and hashtags.
Therefore, it is necessary to make a commitment to publish regular updates. Only that way can you stay on top of the loop.
Furthermore, it is important that your Twitter account stays consistent with the rest of your brand. That means using the same voice and aesthetics as elsewhere so people recognize you easily.
Check our branding guide on details for that.
Share a Variety of Content
That only leaves the question – what to share? This answer to this will change slightly depending on what your goal is. A good guiding principle, however, is to always try and make your content useful for the people you hope to attract.
Always ask yourself what your fans, club members, potential sponsors or other members of your target group would be interested in and how your content can make their life better, easier or more pleasant.
Some ideas for Twitter content for sports teams are:
- Behind-the-scenes photos and information
- Upcoming events
- General information and news concerning your sport
- Training tips
- Questions and polls on sports trivia
- Videos of spectacular plays or other special moments
- Live updates from games and competitions
There are, of course, more possibilities and we are sure you can come up with additional ideas.
When you do, another important consideration is to vary the type of content you post. As you have already seen from the list above, Twitter can handle a number of different mediums:
- Images (up to four per Tweet)
- Gifs (those are moving images)
For the best results, focus on visual content. Studies have shown that Tweets containing images and other visuals perform better than those only made up of text.
Apart from that, just make sure to vary your content to keep things interesting for your followers.
Since hashtags are being used by a number of social networks, you have probably at least heard of them. But did you know that hashtags were invented on Twitter? It’s true.
For that reason, it should not be surprising that hashtags have a special place on the social network. People use them to actively search for topics and content they are interested in. In addition to that, they are used to mark messages as part of the broader discussion about that topic.
For that reason, it’s always a good idea to include them in your tweets like so:
— ThemeBoy (@ThemeBoy) August 5, 2016
Yet, don’t overdo it. Two to three hashtags per tweet are enough as long as they are relevant. Don’t make the mistake of using a hashtag just because it’s trending. This will make you look either amateurish, or worse, opportunistic.
How do you find the right hashtags? Well, one way is to simply search for things you are yourself interested in and look at existing tweets and the hashtags they use.
Another is to use a service like Hashtagify.me to find hashtags related to your topic. In combination with RiteTag you can even gauge how much hashtags get used and find those with little competition. That way, your tweets are more likely to be noticed.
Actively Interact With (Potential) Followers
After you have covered the basics of tweeting, it’s time to start building a following.
One way to do so is to wait for others to find your tweets and start following you.
However, a better idea is to be proactive.
By following other users, you give them a friendly nudge to follow you back. Of course, with people you have things in common with it will be much more likely that they reciprocate.
How to find those? Well, there are tools for that, too:
However, don’t just follow and forget. Instead, go through other people’s content, like and retweet it, comment and interact, take part in the discussion and mention other accounts in your tweets.
By taking an active interest in potential partners, fans and amplifiers, you will catch their attention in a positive way and start attracting them.
Learn From The Competition
Finally, we already mentioned Twitter’s value as a market research tool you should take full advantage of.
The first thing you can do is follow thought leaders and competitors to see what they are doing right. Look at their most popular tweets and analyze what followers in your niche are interested in.
One of the easiest ways to do so is to create Twitter lists. This is a feature which allows you to add Twitter users to a list so you can follow their content more closely. Find them in your Twitter settings.
If you use Tweetdeck (which you totally should, as it makes managing your Twitter account much easier), you can also create lists for hashtags, topics, mentions and more.
By studying the activity on there, over time you will gain a deep understanding about what people in your area are interested in, which way the discussion goes, what kind of content is working and more.
Over to You…
Twitter is a social network that offers unique opportunities for sports team marketing.
Its highly engaged and focused user group makes it easy to start building your own tribe. In addition to that, the focus on real-time updates and interactions are perfect for live coverage. Plus, talking to fans is easy since anyone can interact with everyone else.
Furthermore, Twitter can be used to learn more about fans and others in your niche as well as the discussion revolving around your sport and team.
Our tips above will help you get started and create an optimized Twitter profile so you can promote your sports team on the social network. If you keep your eyes and mind open, you will be tweeting like a pro in no time. We have no doubt about it.