Embracing Facebook

For several years I managed not to make the move to what I have considered (and if I’m honest still do) the dark side of the Internet. Facebook. Concerns around security have plagued Facebook over the years and whilst the release of “The Social Network” movie did eventually lead to a greater rise in popularity of the network and its founder Mark Zuckerberg, I still have several years of mistrust to get past. So why is it a few weeks back I took the plunge and signed up? Well it’s all to do with a chap called Svend.

Back in early March I attended an evening event being held at Dunnington Sports Club. It was a presentation about making sports clubs more vibrant and viable in the current financial climate. The presenter was Svend Elkjaer (director of the Sports Marketing Network). Since I’m heavily involved as a volunteer in the running of a local sports club I (and a colleague) decided that this was worth an evening to see if there was anything we could pick up.

I was expecting something of the usual ilk about putting up posters, having a web site, apply for specific funding, etc. I was pleasantly surprised. The pitch was very much not to go for funding, but to look for ways within the club to make income sustainable. This was something that I’ve considered to be true and have often had debate with colleagues at other clubs about approaches in funding applications (which I might note I’ve been very successful at pursuing in the past). More than this though was Svend’s view on flyers, posters and web sites.

Dead trees are becoming a dead means of communication. Putting things up in libraries, newsletters and all sorts of places are becoming less and less worth the investment of the time and cost it takes to implement. This is certainly supported by a leafleting campaign we carried out some years back that saw the deployment of over 300 flyers and no one who took action on them.

Whilst we’ve seen real results from our club’s web site, Svend suggested that something else with a bigger impact for the latest generation. Social media. Some reference was given to Twitter, but as you might have guessed by now, the real focus was Facebook.

After a couple of hours of ideas and off the cuff case studies I became convinced that we needed to do more with Facebook (and YouTube) within the club, and so I resigned myself to joining Facebook and learning more about how to make it work.

Unfortunately I discovered that Facebook isn’t as easy as I first thought it would be. I struggled for several days trying to get an understanding of when to use a ‘fan’ page rather than a group and just a bit of how to get around. The Facebook documentation on their own is okay once you find the right bit, but because it has changed so much (and continues to every few months from what I gather), it’s really hard to find good up to date information and methods on how to use it. I discovered for example that FBML (Facebook’s markup language) was being deprecated within a few days and I’m still to try and set aside enough time to really delve into how you reconstruct a Facebook entry to something unique.

So my Facebook is staying private to my friends and family (at least until Facebook decides otherwise), but you can visit my club’s Facebook page and YouTube channel (and please do). The next step is really to put together a social media strategy to fit with the aims of the club and that seems to be something that there’s very little meaningful information about on the Internet. That being said there seem to be an unlimited number of ‘experienced consultants’ who are only to willing to help work one out … for a price of course.

Author: Stephen Millard
Tags: | social media |

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