Here’s a question: why would any individual or business organization spend so much time on social media? Facebook and Twitter are for phone-addicted young people to use in their spare time, right?
As Justin Trudeau once said, because it’s 2015. Ok, so it’s 2016, but the point remains.
We live in a completely different world than we did ten years ago. Actually, we live in two different worlds. Businesses cater to real people in a tangible, physical reality – but they also interact, sell and listen in the digital world. Listening is the first step in reaching any online demographic, and the sources and tools that we use to do so are vast and various.
As a part of the industry of tennis media, I’ve had the change to really explore the digital landscape of sport. I’d like to think I know it pretty well. Using two of my favourite tools, I’ve been able to keep a close eye on everything tennis related over the years – both as a fan and as employed by the industry.
Hootesuite and Tweetdeck are invaluable tools for any social media listener. I get a feel for community, real-time updates, and an easy to use interface that allows me to keep track of thousands of different social media accounts. Used in tandem, both tools provide all the same updates as an RSS feed dashboard (such as feedly.com), and both use a similar interface that I like to have open on two separate screens. Users like to post and retweet news articles across social media, making an RSS platform unnecessary (so long as you’re following the right people), and the ability to track trends and hashtags on both means you are always up to date on the big stories right when they happen.
Tweetdeck I use exclusively for Twitter happenings. I have multiple Twitter accounts for various organizations (including my personal one!), and each timeline is unique and requires separate attention. I keep certain users separated on different feeds, as well as certain trends depending on the time of the year in tennis (such as #USOpen hashtag when the US Open is taking place, or Tennis Canada’s #sleepisfortheweek hashtag during the Australian Open). On Hootesuite, I place all my other social media platforms, including Instagram and Facebook, and monitor those platforms as I would Twitter on Tweetdeck.
Getting the right news updates from the right sources is imperative to social media listening. In tennis, there are two sources that always keep me posted on all the breaking news within the sport. The first, of course, is Twitter, where I have a specific list of reputable journalists that are always bringing real-time coverage of tennis. This list includes Ben Rothenberg of the NY Times and the @WTA_insider account, which is the WTA’s own agent of inside tennis coverage on the women’s tour.
The other source is this underground Portuguese tennis website called “Bola Amarela.” Random, I know (– and I don’t even speak Portuguese). I personally view this website and its accompanying Facebook page to be an exceptional model of how to use social media in the sport industry. They have all the videos of all the crazy things that happen in the tennis industry, from the very top levels to the lower amateur levels of the sport. I check in on Bola Amarela daily to get a glimpse at what’s happening in the tennis world.
Sure, there’s a lot of social media to scan if you want to be consistently immersed in your industry – but hey, it’s 2016 and that’s just how the world works.