Welcome to the second part of this three-part series, regarding marketing and advertising your tournaments. We’ve discussed already how to identify your brand, and name your tournament, now we will be discussing how to make your you effectively communicate your brand and your event to your target audience.
Staying On Brand
If you read the previous installment you will understand how important a brand is to any product. Throughout this article there will be advice on what to post, but it’s important to remember throughout how you post. If some of your announcements are images of text, make them all the same way, if your tournament has a colour scheme (it should!!), then stick to it! If your brand is very professional, make sure your posts have a professional tone. Whatever your brand image is, make sure all your posts have correct spelling and grammar.
Phoenix blue 2 is a great example of consistent branding and imagery
Your Social Media Manager
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to marketing and social media is to underestimate how important it is, and how much work is involved in a successful marketing campaign. My strong recommendation is that you assign responsibility of social media and marketing to one person, and give them ownership of all your social media presence. This person should be responsible for: scheduling/writing posts, responding to questions about your events, and keeping an eye out for any mentions of your events/team across all social media platforms. If they are not already you ask your social media manager to get familiar with scheduling tools such as Tweetdeck, and Facebook’s own post scheduler.
While your Social Media Manager should be responsible for your online presence, it’s also important to get the rest of your team involved, liking, sharing and commenting from their own personal accounts whenever they come across them. If possible you should aim to get your extended team (e.g commentators, photographers, sponsors & partners) to get involved with this as well.
The most important thing in your social media campaign is to have a plan. A plan is not a vague idea of what you want to post. A plan is a document or spreadsheet detailing the post content, and planned dates for each post. Your plan should be organised by date starting from your event’s conception running all the way until a few weeks after the event has concluded. Each entry in your plan should contain the following information:
- Scheduled date
- Images to include in post
- Text and links to include in post
- Whether the post is published or scheduled for publishing (e.g via tweetdeck)
The promotion of your tournament will have different phases – teasers & date announcements, main registration period, at-event and post-event. Of these the most critical time is the short run up to, and the duration of your registration period. The frequency of your posts should vary depending on the size and scale of your tournament but as a guideline, for a local/regional tournament you could post 1-2 times a week. For a major/international you should schedule at least one post every day during the registration period.
Snippet of the marketing plan from Heir 4
What can I post about?
For a major
But the hard graft is going beyond these obvious, data-driven tweets to find a way to keep your social media presence high and to make sure your tournament stays in the forefront of your audience’s thoughts. It’s important to note that not everything you tweet has to be an “advert” per se, it’s important to just keep discussion and awareness high. Try and mix in the lower-impact posts with the heavier hitting ones. Below are some examples of less obvious, but still effective post ideas.
- Side events e.g crew battles
- Social activities e.g BBQ, karaoke
- Meet the team – introduce your audience to the people behind your tournament
- Flight deals from nearby cities – you could break this up by major city and tag relevant players/community figures
- Accommodation deals/options
- Top player “wrap ups” – photo collage of all registered top players so far
- “Do you remember” – highlights from your event last year
- Stalls / Shops that are joining at your tournament
- Food options near the venue
- Sponsor announcements / promotion
- Reminder to bring setups
- Commentator announcements
- Info regarding your top players – If one of your top players does well at another tournament, tweet about it – “Great performance from Albert at LTC beating Hbox! Who’s excited to see him perform at [this tournament]”
- Run a competition* – this could be as simple as a raffle or more complex such as a design competition
- Make a poll*
*More on these next week!
Executing the Plan
Once your plan is made it’s time to execute it! As mentioned above, tools like the Facebook post scheduler, and Tweetdeck are invaluable in allowing you write posts ahead of time, and specify when they should be published. While your plan should be complete well ahead of time, I recommend not scheduling more than a week’s worth of posts at a time, this gives you the flexibility to move posts around in case of notable events (e.g top player signups).
Once your posts go out the most important thing you need is engagement, engagement is any interaction with your post – likes, shares/RTs and comments/replies. These factors are what drive social media algorithms and influence how many people will see your posts. Some of this you can get easily from people in your team, but the key to a really effective social media campaign is getting people to engage with your posts of their own accord. We’ll be getting in depth on this topic next week in part 3: Cultivating Organic Advertising
A large amount of the information contained in this article was taught to me by the TO legend Kone, head of the now disbanded Team Heir and veteran of a dozen tournament series. Sincere thanks to him for sharing his knowledge with me, and allowing me to share it with you