What Should Youth Sports Organizations Post on Social Media?
By Melissa Wickes
November 16, 2023
Social media is a challenging place right now. There’s information overload, a ton of strong opinions, and arguments—all nestled between memes, food pics, and, likely in your case, sports highlight reels.
Some may want to avoid it all together, worried that they may post the wrong thing or waste a ton of time to not get any engagement. But the reality is, social media is a worthy investment for youth sports organizations and there are quick things you can start implementing today to make a big difference.
Social media is such a hot topic right now that we dedicated one of our panels at NextUp 2023, the Youth Sports Management Conference powered by LeagueApps, to brand development and digital media. The result? A lively conversation about what leaders in youth sports are doing to market their organizations through social media.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the panel that you can use to kickstart your youth sports social media strategy.
Why is social media important for youth sports organizers?
Being on social media helps youth sports leaders know the trends, says Jesse Winter, President & CEO of Level Up LI (6.7K followers). By keeping an eye on what performs well on social media and what youth athletes are interacting with, you can make improvements and adjustments to the way you run your business, create branding, and run your programs.
Additionally, social media is like a resume or a dating app, Jesse says. People might pick a program because of the overall snapshot their social media provides—captures both kids and parents to make them want to be a part of a brand.
Social media also gives players the recognition that they deserve across different audiences, explains Emily Engeland, Social Media Coordinator at Premier Lacrosse League (355K followers).
Think about this: Parents love seeing, talking about, and sharing their kids’ accomplishments. It will make them even happier to see you posting about their kids’ accomplishments. It will also encourage them to follow and engage with your accounts. Happy parents are happy customers.
A big turning point for organizers with social media occurred in 2020 when facilities shut down and couldn’t make money in person. Going on social media and doing live streams is a way many youth sports leaders continued to capture the engagement of kids (and parents) in a remote world, explains Duke Baxter, Founder of Zoned Sports and Dominate the Diamond (112K followers).
Social Media for Youth Sports 101
Short, Attention Grabbing
Every post has a goal and it’s what you’re trying to tell the audience. At the end of the day, we can really only capture a customer’s attention for a maximum of 10 seconds. How are you using that 10 seconds to get your message across? Jesse recommends keeping video posts (i.e. Reels and TikToks) between 6-10 seconds so you can keep the viewers attention for the entirety of the video.
Represent Your Brand
Every post you put up could be the first time someone is seeing your brand and could be the reason someone chooses your program or doesn’t. Keep that in mind with every post. Additionally, people can tell when you’re putting time and effort into each post and when you’re posting just for the sake of it. While a regular cadence is important, ensure everything you post is well thought out.
Different Platforms for Different Content
Again, when deciding what to post where it all comes down to your goal. If you’re trying to capture your audience quickly and represent your brand in a 6-10 second video, Instagram Reels and TikTok may be right for the post.
If you want to tell a longer story, YouTube (or a podcast) is the better option, suggests Duke.
Facebook is a good place to share photos of your team, because according to the CDC that’s where the parents are.
While all of the social media panelists argued that TikTok is “the place to be right now,” Ash Quinn, Co-Founder and CEO of Team TACA—a podcast for youth soccer clubs—calls out that you should pay attention to where your audience is and focus extra time there.
When considering the type of content, remember to be human. Humanized and authentic posts resonate with people and remind them they are connecting with the people behind your company, not just a business, says Emily. It is easier for customers to connect with a person than a business.
Duke reminds us to post what we ourselves would engage with.
What makes you emotional?
What are you curious about?
What gets you excited? Consider those things within the scope of your business and post about that.
Here’s Duke talking about it:
View this post on Instagram
Out-sourcing vs. in-house
You’re a youth sports organizer, not a marketing whiz. You may not have the time or desire to dedicate hours a day to social media, and that’s okay. While there are benefits to outsourcing, before you do so you should consider doing it yourself for a bit to get a benchmark of what success looks like for your organization, suggests James Critelli, Co Founder & Managing Partner at Stackmatix—a growth partner for startups.
Also, consider who is in your community and if they can help. Is there a student athlete who is interested in social media, great at it, and looking for a job or internship? Is there someone on your team who runs a foodie account on the side? These people know your brand and are within your space so will be able to know your audience best.
If you do choose to outsource, make sure the company or person is familiar with your space, audience, and industry.
What accounts are doing it well?
Turn to these accounts for sports social media inspo.
How much time should I be spending on social media?
Carving out an hour or so for social media each week can go a long way in connecting with people, says Duke. There are also so many tools out there that can help us save time while continuing to create great content—like Canva, SproutSocial, HootSuite, and more.
How do I know when it’s working?
Analytics platforms are hugely important if you’re going to invest time and money into your social media. Google Analytics is a free, lower level tracking tool that helps you see organic social metrics, as well as marketing metrics like clicks, views, and buys.
How do you feel about social media now? Any better than when you started reading this? Hopefully! If you’d like to have a deeper conversation about improving your organization’s sports social media strategy, set up a call with our team.