I’ve been officially counting down to the start of college basketball season since the University of North Carolina Tar Heels fell to the Kansas Jayhawks on March 25 in last season’s NCAA Tournament. Yes, I am a UNC basketball fanatic and have been since I was young boy. A Tar Heels win or loss can determine my mood for the day and at times even longer.
In the Deep South, November is football season. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Not for me though. I’ve been following college basketball coverage closely and I haven’t always been pleased with what I’ve seen, especially on ESPN’s College Basketball Facebook page.
A recent string of posts have left me feeling less than enthused. It’s almost as if whoever is posting their status updates is simply doing so because they need to check the task off their daily to-do list.
Here’s the recent string of posts:
- On Nov. 9: College basketball is back today, BABY!
- On Nov. 9: College basketball is back. Everything is better now. It’s THAT simple.
- On Nov. 12: Anyone else excited for 24 straight hours of college hoops?
- On Nov. 14: Sneaker squeaks. Crowd roars. Buzzer Beaters. We’re smack dab in the middle of the Tip-Off Marathon!
Reading these posts leads me to suspect that whoever is administering this page does not know the first thing about college basketball. The posts are dispassionate, detached and boring. And although the posts have not tempered my love of college basketball, they are a good lesson for community managers running Facebook pages.
Many businesses and organizations put social media in the hands of someone who is unqualified. The community manager might know the mechanics of social media, they might know the optimal posting time or the perfect number of characters, but without a deeper understanding of communications and marketing, the community manager will never make that 2-point shot.
So what did the ESPN College Basketball Facebook page manager do wrong?
First, the posts don’t draw me in. The author appears to be unaware of his or her audience, and while the voice is lively, it misses the mark. There is also very little variety in post types, and the general tone of each post is very similar. It’s important to keep updates interesting by mixing in links, videos, questions, polls, etc.
How can ESPN improve the page? First, the community manager might try to cultivate a little more dialogue. Getting your audience to interact with one another will keep them coming back. Questions are good, but only when specific. Asking fans about their general excitement for the start of college basketball isn’t going to illicit much of response, if any. The community manager might ask about specific teams or the games fans will be watching.
With a roster of basketball insiders, ESPN has access to some of the world’s best basketball minds. Why not provide some insight into an upcoming game or take us behind the scenes? For example, the biggest game of the night on Nov. 14 was Duke vs. Kentucky. A quote from Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski or Kentucky head coach John Calipari would have provided the type of insider information that would keep me coming back a few times a day.
ESPN has done incredible work in connecting fans to the game via social media, and the cable network has truly lifted the sport of college basketball. While I love what they do most of the time, in this particular instance I expected more – and I know that they are capable.
Have you taken stock of your social media communities lately? Consider the improvements that your team can make to increase engagement, grow conversation and show your fans your passion.
Image Credit: “Slam Dunk, Venice Beach” by Flickr user InSapphoWeTrust.