Commissioner Corner: In-Season Social Media

By Quinn Ursprung | Posted 8/14/2020

USA Football creates resources to help leagues like yours year-round.

Commissioner Corner is a blog series tailored for organization leaders that features advice for leagues, by leagues, across a variety of topics.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has proved the power of social media in helping organizations to stay connected, it’s also forced those same organizations to reconsider and shift their campaigns and content.

Finding ways to improve and execute successful social media tactics drive engagement for leagues and can be used effectively in a multitude of positive ways.

Below are the perspectives of youth league leaders on how they execute their respective in-season social media strategy.

What is your primary use for social media? What types of content are most successful for you?

“We get content from parents’ pictures and videos. We have had contests and they have supplied us with a lot of quality [content]. We also hired a videographer for this year to get incredible video footage to use all year round.

Each offseason we identify a theme and develop a campaign. Themes [like] safety, experience, and fun have been used.”

Jeff Gorringe // Operations // The Ute Conference (UT)

“We have found using multiple types of content is the most helpful. Some of our families enjoy more visual-oriented content, while others may enjoy content-based information. By using multiple forms of content, we have a better chance of reaching more families and volunteers. We highlight our teams, player highlight videos, season updates, registration needs, event announcements, etc. We also use [social media platforms] to post updates or informational content we receive from USA Football and our sponsors. Examples of content include hydration, concussion information, and protocols or anything we feel is of use to our families.

“Our communications person monitors likes, shares, and comments on all our social media platforms to gauge the effectiveness of the content we are sharing. We also routinely take ideas and suggestions from our Board of Directors, volunteers, and parents.”

Toi Debose // Athletic Director // Fort Bend Youth Football League (TX)

“We use social media the most during registration and the fall season. We try to post strategically the rest of the year, like on holidays or when we have something to share that our families may be interested in. We try to only post when we have something to say or share, that way people will listen when we do post. Otherwise, it becomes noise in their feed. Videos are typically more successful, especially when we have our kids showcased in them. We usually have a link included in all our posts if they are about registration. Also, action photos of our participants do extremely well during the season.”

Gina Ferrer-Ho // Public Relations Director // Frisco Football League (TX)

DOWNLOAD: 10 Tips on Using Social Media for your Organization

How do you measure if your social media is successful?

“Views are what matter most to us: who is seeing and looking at our posts, engagements [on the posts] makes the algorithm happy, therefore, it’s our goal to get our posts out in front of more people and get more views.

“We have the most engagement on Facebook. That’s where our families are the most active.  Our Instagram is starting to grow, and we saw a big uptick in Instagram users at the end of last season because we posted lots of Instagram videos during the championship games.”

Gina Ferrer-Ho // Public Relations Director // Frisco Football League (TX)

How much of your time is talking vs. listening?

“Our league balances the two [talking and listening]. We understand that our families and volunteers look to us for guidance and information. However, we also recognize that their input, opinions, and suggestions are also vital to the success of our league.”

Toi Debose // Athletic Director // Fort Bend Youth Football League (TX)

“I would say 80 percent talking and 20 percent listening. We do engagement-related content like contests and fun promotions with local vendors.”

Gina Ferrer-Ho // Public Relations Director // Frisco Football League (TX)

What is your advice to a league that either doesn't have their own social media channels or doesn't leverage them?

“Use social media! It can be your league’s best friend. It not only helps you easily disseminate information; it can help draw potential families to your league.”

Toi Debose // Athletic Director // Fort Bend Youth Football League (TX)

“People are always looking for youth sports for their children to participate in, and they are looking on the internet. They may see their friend’s kids on social media playing a sport and will try to determine if it’s something their child would like to do. So, you should be on social media with them so they can find you.

“I put myself in the shoes of our audience: Moms like me whose sons and daughters want to play football and participate in cheer. What do parents want to know and need to know to make the choice to participate? Then I try to answer those questions. Use social media to inform and entertain and it will be successful.”

Gina Ferrer-Ho // Public Relations Director // Frisco Football League (TX)

If you could tell a league to implement/start one thing on social media right now, what would it be?

“Highlight, highlight, highlight. Blast information on not only your league but also highlight the individual teams within your league. Use the ad function on social media to reach not only your followers but other families and businesses in your community.”

Toi Debose // Athletic Director // Fort Bend Youth Football League (TX)

“Start with posting pictures from your games! Tag the participants in the photos and try to tell a story. The pictures don’t have to be professional. Plus, you can encourage people to send in pics for you to post! It’s a fun and easy way to get your audience engaged!”

Gina Ferrer-Ho // Public Relations Director // Frisco Football League (TX)

“Social media is key to get information out to parents. Start a Facebook page and make it about the kids, and then start posting useful information on the page. Keep the content fresh and up to date. At the Ute Conference, we started [our Facebook page] three years ago with 200 followers. Today, we have about 3100 followers.

Jeff Gorringe // Operations // The Ute Conference (UT)

What resources have you used to help you learn and be successful on social media?

“We have an awesome communication person who stays on top of new social media resources and avenues on how to promote our teams, as well as social media trends. Our teams also use Peachjar, an electronic form of communication our elementary parents use to disseminate information to parents. We include information in their newsletters to reach our families as well.” 

Toi Debose // Athletic Director // Fort Bend Youth Football League (TX)

“I read a lot (a whole lot) of social marketing articles by the Social Media Examiner, listen to podcasts, and watch a lot of social marketing videos by Gary Vaynerchuk on YouTube. I combine that information with my graphic design knowledge (I am an architect by day) to come up with a general plan of not only what to post, but when to post and why. I’ve already developed a graphic brand identity, and now try to ensure our content matches that.”

Gina Ferrer-Ho // Public Relations Director // Frisco Football League (TX)

“We hired a marketing company to survey our parents to find where we were falling short. We used that medium to determine what platforms were utilized by parents to get our message across.”

Jeff Gorringe // Operations // The Ute Conference (UT)



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