Social media: set out a plan and stick to it, like your training
Social media is central to any brand and with more of them turning to sport as a marketing vehicle, athletes are in a prime position to benefit from having good social channels. Woolsey talks about the key things athletes need to know about creating a social platform, and why interaction is vital.
caytoo: What do you do?
Natasha Woolsey: I am a digital strategist who helps clients connect with their customers in new ways, build relationships and extend their brand reach. I’ve worked with businesses including Photobox, Etsy, Fount London, The Indytute, The Benyon Estate, De Beauvoir Block, and Primo Toys.
caytoo: What are you currently working on?
Natasha: My current client is The Body Studio – a group of approximately 20 different coaches, many of which used to be Olympic athletes. They are a team of individuals working towards building a community of like-minded people focused on achieving long-term health results. One of them has helped train Roger Federer. So they are looking to see how social media can drive this interest and their growth.
The studio needs to be a friendly, welcoming environment where people feel that they can come in and train with these incredibly experienced experts who are at the top of their game. It’s a big change going from being an Olympic athlete to becoming a personality, influencer or a trainer. So the question is, how do they connect with the general public, inspire and drive their social media following?
“It’s massive to give a ‘behind the scenes’ view to
you as an individual on social media”
caytoo: What does your job entail?
Natasha: It’s understanding what the brief is, connecting and meeting with people. It’s about using different scheduling platforms, using analytics, writing copy. It’s very much getting a broad spectrum of information and sharing it in order to give a positive, inspiring perception of the brand that I’m working with.
caytoo: How have you helped brands or individuals with their social profiles?
Natasha: It’s about giving day-to-day support to drive and grow their channels by putting together a strategy. This can also involve focusing on specific launches they have at different times of the year. It involves working with them to grow their engagement, reach and brand awareness.
caytoo: How many people have a social media manager? Is it commonplace?
Natasha: If you’re an athlete, are you going to be using a scheduling platform? Highly unlikely, but you could be using Instagram every day. From my experience, I’ve found more regular business from slightly larger brands, whereas an individual is just not going to have the budget for it.
One affordable way to work with a social media manager is Digital Mums, because they are training whilst working with you. Obviously, some people are dubious about working with somebody in training but they are absolutely fantastic. They’ve got really good PR, a really good track record and their training is really fantastic.
“Decide what your tone of voice is going to be, who your
target audience is, what you’re going to be talking about”
caytoo: What should an athlete initially think about before creating a social media profile?
Natasha: Deciding what your tone of voice is going to be, who your target audience is and, therefore, what you’re going to be talking about, as well as deciding which channels are going to be most appropriate for you.
Audio is also a consideration. I’d like start doing that a lot more. It’s all part of the same thing. You have to decide who you are, what you’re going to be promoting or selling.
Twitter is more appropriate if you’re driving a specific event or you’re just about to launch a book or fundraiser. It’s better suited to a more in-depth conversation as opposed to a visual cue. I’ve found, for example, that Twitter is very suitable for educational brands.
Instagram is really brilliant for somebody who hasn’t got as much written content but is really great at posting regular videos of themselves. Everybody loves the video. Facebook loves a video. So, if you put a video up you’re getting a higher relevance rating and more visits.
“Facebook loves a video. Twitter is definitely better if you have written
content. Instagram is the most important one at the moment”
Facebook is generally all-round, as well as being a really affordable advertising platform. People get a perception of who you are, what you are, what your brand is via Facebook and, as I said, it’s very affordable.
For companies who are still doing printed flyers, you have no way of analysing how effective that is. If you put together a Facebook ad, you’re targeting a very specific audience, you can monitor it and evaluate how effective that was. A flyer is going straight in the bin.
caytoo: How would you work with audio?
Natasha: A lot more people are doing podcasts and I’m intrigued by it. Big brands like Amazon are bringing out specific bits of kit and suddenly audio is a lot more relevant. People want to experience their content by different means, they want to personalise it, especially if it’s about being an inspirational trainer. Nike Run did playlists, working with Simian Mobile Disco, and they were amazing. They made it the perfect time to go for a jog, I think it was a 27-minute track. It is clever things like that where somebody is going to want to go out and train and be inspired.
caytoo: How should athletes decide which platforms to use?
Natasha: My experience is with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Facebook and Instagram are more relevant for personal trainers. I don’t have experience with Snapchat. The brands that I work on haven’t engaged with that at all. It seems to be something which is for a younger target market, not to say that it wouldn’t be relevant.
There are a lot of boxers at the studio I’m working at and everybody loves to watch a video of them working out, it’s a lot more instant gratification. Twitter is definitely better if you have written content which you want to promote and push.
Advertising on Facebook and Instagram is very easy. I found that advertising on Twitter just didn’t bear any fruit.
caytoo: Could you sum up the uses of each of these three channels:
Natasha: Affordable advertising platform.
Natasha: News content and more education/academically-focused. It’s more text led, whereas if you’re a trainer, you want to see them doing something really impressive, it’s much more visual. Twitter is more appropriate if you have a document, invite or a survey to share.
Natasha: It’s the most important one at the moment and it’s very visual. You’re able to tag stuff as well as sell a new book, training course or an event. It’s absolutely crucial.
Do you approach Instagram Stories differently to the post themselves?
Natasha: It’s about ‘in the moment’, it’s a lot more quick, easy, fun, more creative and more diverse. It’s just capturing a moment. It’s far more spontaneous.
caytoo: If they choose multiple platforms, how should they use them differently?
Natasha: It’s a choice. I’ve worked with a brand that was an educational STEM toy (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and they were very comfortable and completely supportive of the idea of having multiple pieces of content going out on Twitter every day. You use 10 different pieces of content and repeat them at different times across the week on Twitter.
The studio I work with have a big following in LA because it’s the homeland of pumping iron, so if they were to use Twitter I would make sure that I post certain content at key times where it’s going to be picked up.
“Understand who your target market is on any of your channels
so that you can post your content at the most optimum time”
It’s very important to understand who your target market is on any of your channels so that you can post your content at the most optimum time. It’s the commute to work, it’s lunchtime and then it’s 8:30 – 9:30 at night. And that way you’re getting the maximum amount of engagement. It’s all part of the strategy that is put together, most importantly who is your target market and what are you looking to achieve – brand awareness or engagement?
caytoo: What about frequency of posts?
Natasha: For me, you put five pieces of original content out on Twitter every day and then you can retweet on top of that. Some clients only want one piece. It really does depend upon the client and their target audience. For Facebook and Instagram I’d say one a day unless you got a specific launch. Brands are already starting to talk about Christmas and it’s all going to start from September. If you’ve got a big launch happening you could have two or three and then you add a little story on top. It’s all about layers. But as a general rule, I would say a minimum of one a day for Facebook and Instagram, but more for Twitter.
“Be interesting and be interested and interact
with people as often as possible”
caytoo: What should an athlete’s approach be to the content they publish?
Natasha: It has to be consistent, you don’t publish five posts in one day and nothing for a week, you set out a plan and you stick to that, like your training. They should aim for consistency, authenticity, creativity and the best quality possible.
caytoo: What should their approach be to growing their following?
Natasha: Following is one of the most important things. So, be consistent, follow people and engage with people that you’re inspired by. Be interesting and be interested and interact with people as often as possible. I schedule everything in at least a week in advance which then gives me time to interact and be proactive.
I feel very uncomfortable working with somebody if I’m not able to plan a week in advance because it just puts more pressure on. If you’re a week ahead it gives you the freedom to post stuff two weeks in advance and I can diversify the content.
“Being authentic is really important,
especially for an athlete”
Planning, structure and consistency is fundamental and that way you can respond to every bit of positive or negative interaction that you get.
I use scheduling platforms and then, if you’re being as proactive as possible, it means everything that you do you can do to the best of your ability, whether that is the analytics, responding to a query or a potential opportunity to collaborate with somebody, it just means that you are more on the front foot.
caytoo: Is there a science to social media?
Natasha: Yes. There’s a whole process to it. It is very formulaic but there is a a whole structure to it. For example, here’s an extract from my social media planning process:
Two weeks of up-front strategy development
Detailed customer profiles
caytoo: Are there any real do’s and don’ts of social media?
Natasha: Being authentic is really important, especially for an athlete. There are so many examples of people who do it really badly.
If somebody is having a rant or being really negative, you engage with them immediately and you get them offline as soon as possible so it doesn’t escalate and turn into a viral nightmare.
But mainly it’s about being consistent, authentic and really allowing people to have the opportunity to say good and bad things. It’s working really closely with your communications team to ensure that you’re responding to potential upsets and reassuring and informing them as as much as you possibly can, as well as having emergency comms responses in place.
caytoo: Are there any athletes doing social media particularly well?
Natasha: Yes – on Instagram, just because I’m finding it’s the most relevant one at the moment:
Kelly Slater, surfer: @kellyslater
Serena Williams, tennis player: @serenawilliams
Stephanie Rice, Australian Olympic gold medalist, swimmer: @itsstephrice
caytoo: What would be your top five tips for creating and growing a social media presence?
Natasha: I tend to write a social media plan around the marketing plan, that way all of their goals are considered and I’ve got achievable targets in place. There has to be a structure and then it’s about putting together a realistic and achievable strategy.
“Talk about yourself for 20% of the time and other stuff for the
remaining 80%. Nobody wants to hear about you all the time”
Next, it’s regularly and consistently posting content across your chosen channels, having lots of variety, making sure you talk about yourself, the brand or athlete, for 20% of the time and, ideally, you’re talking about other stuff for the remaining 80%. Nobody wants to hear about you all the time.
Another thing that is very important is having the budget to boost posts and advertise. That will dramatically increase the amount of brand awareness and engagement. It’s absolutely fundamental.
It’s massive to give a ‘behind the scenes’ view to you as an individual on social media. Everybody wants that. It’s saying “this is it, this is me, this is real” and people really respond to that as it is relatable, it makes you look more human and engenders people towards you.
caytoo: How important is it to interact with fans and followers?
Natasha: Massively important. That’s why everything is scheduled a week in advance because you have to have the time to then look around and engage. You’re being proactive rather than being reactive. It allows people not just to become a ‘mega brand’, but a real person who can engage and respond.
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