Youth Soccer, Social Media and the Internet

Soccer in the US isn’t like it is in Europe. Here you must Pay-to-Play and the costs depending on the club can be over $3,000 a year just in tuition, tournament and uniform fees. What I want to talk about today however has a lot to do with soccer but in this case it’s 100% free. The Internet! and in more detail Social Media.

3.2 billion people worldwide access the Internet every day, 870,000,000 log on to Facebook from around the world every 24 hours, let’s slim it down: 76% of all Americans visit something that is located on the Internet every day, that’s around 290 million of us, half of us visit Facebook. Let’s slim that down even more Florida: 21 million people live in the Sunshine State, 77% of them access the web every day. 6 million visit Facebook on a daily basis. Slim it down even more Central Florida: 8.2 million people live in the center of the state. Now I want to make it even more restricted, so lets see the numbers in Volusia County: 520,000 peeps live in our county, 400,000 more or less visit the web each day and by cutting the Florida stats on Facebook, we can say that roughly 290,000 of the counties residence have a Facebook account, an active account!

My day job is Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing. I work for a few large players in different industries here in the US. I’ve been doing this since 1999 and it a very interesting job to say the least, it never gets boring as SEO changes all the time, so you need to stay behind it to stay on the right path.

The ZEE Goalkeeper Academy has a very strong presence on the Internet, our new website GoalieSoccer.com is climbing in the ranks on all the major search engines and on social media, both Facebook and Youtube we have a large and solid following. It didn’t all fall on my lap, you have to build it by first planning your strategy and then by collecting the tools.

The domain name is very important, if you’re going to buy something like abcdef.com then your findability on Google is going to be a lot less than if you were to purchase a domain as such: ZeeGoalkeeperGloves.com a domain that has specific keywords in it is going to help you rank your website. Then comes the website it self: Content, that’s what the major search engines are looking for. Quality articles, tagged images and a friendly to surf website, both web based and mobile. On this I’d suggest a lot of reading up even before you start your website, because if you start off with the wrong foot, it will then take you a lot of time to fix it.

Social media!!!!
This is the hot cake, this is the sharpest tool in the shed! Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube are the most friendly social media platforms for search engine ranking, but the platforms themselves are massive advertising tools.

I’ve been working on the Goalkeeper Academy Facebook page for around 16 months, it has become very popular. I have followers from all over the country, people that in most cases will never attend an academy session or one of our Goalkeeper Camps, but they seem to enjoy the videos and images that I post. Many of our videos and events are shared around the globe, commercially it really isn’t a gain, but the exposure is important.

What to post and not to post on social media:
You need to keep your page very professional, updated and clean. Be sure to use a good and friendly “lingo”, don’t just post the minimal details of an event… here’s an example:

NOT:
Goalkeeper training tomorrow 5.30 to 6.30 pm

BETTER:
A quick reminder that our goalkeeper training will take place tomorrow afternoon starting 5.30 pm to 6.30 pm. Coach Zee is very excited as always to work with all goalkeepers. Parents for more information please call 555.555.5555.

Not only is the “BETTER” version more inviting, but it has a lot more details, it’s involving and it has keywords that can be picked up. The difference between the two posts is that if you post the “BETTER” version you’re going to end up with a full house!

The biggest mistake that many youth soccer clubs make is that they use social media as an “internal communicating tool” forgetting that there are thousands of monthly visitors that land on their page seeking information regarding the club. So, if you’re going to post: “We lost a soccer ball, whoever found it please return it” that is a horrible turnoff for a parent that is looking to place their child at your club.
If your Facebook page has no videos or other visual content that showcases your youth soccer club, then again you lose potential players to the clubs that surround you. If the narrative seems to be put in place by a middle school student, then that will turn off parents as well.

Social media is a huge open window on your business (in this case your youth soccer club) the way you run your Facebook or Youtube page/channel shows how you run your club.

Getting a little bit in detail regarding the content you post:
Don’t make it too professional, parents like to see the real thing, so a video of a drone flying over the field is not a winner in this case. Below id the perfect example of what a parent is looking for:

It’s crude video of a training session where the coach is actually filming, this is unusual but very realistic, it’s appealing and you’re showing exactly what you offer, you can hear the coach, everything is close up.

…and what about the photographs to post? 50% of the photos posted on social media by a youth soccer club are stills of a group of players and coaches posing for a group photograph
Looks good, but its what every club in the country is showing. So, be more specific, show them what you offer, show them the action, the fun and the hard work…

Show them what they want to see, show them what they’ll get, show them the product!
Don’t limit all of this to just a few cool action images, add some narrative that explains what you offer, what is happening in the photograph, what their missing out on not being a part of your soccer club!
Add a couple of links here and there that take to an article on your website once you have their attention, take them by the hand and show them around!