Live Video Deepened Our Family Connections This Summer

With 30,000 views and an 11% increase in followers, Facebook Live has proven to be a winner for Select

This past May, I was not happy with myself. I had set a goal of 150 players participating in our summer tryouts in Idaho and Montana. But we came up very short of that. Here is an article I wrote on the Facebook campaign we used. 
 
I believe in what Select Basketball can do for players in the northwest. The value is there. And players and families that have been through it agree. In fact, they are some of our biggest advocates in getting other players to tryout.
 
Here is the problem. This amazing experience happens hundreds of miles from where a player lives. As we travel to Seattle, Anaheim and Las Vegas the experience is contained to those that were there. If you weren’t there, you have no idea.
 
So the theory was simple. If we could create a way to allow those not with us to see what was going on then we can get more participation the following year. Connecting family not with us allows them to speak about the program AND provide tangible visuals to those they speak with.
 
From this theory came two projects: our Facebook Live project and the #Select20in20 project. This post is all about the Facebook Live project. If you are curious about the #Select20in20 project and how we grew our Instagram following by over 17%, click here.

The Spring Test

The Facebook Live project grew from an experiment we tried in the spring. Before the spring we had several parents ask us about game video. They were trying to find a way to watch their son from home. Parents wanted to know if anyone would be recording their son’s games. They even offered to pay us.
 
Video was not something that we had ever done. The best we could do was suggest that some parents will be doing them. Maybe they could connect with them for the video.
 
But the questions kept coming. Is anyone covering the tournament? How can I get video? Will it help with recruiting if I video? Clearly there was something here.
 
Without any prior notification, we broadcasted a practice and some games through our Select Facebook page.
 
It was more of a test than anything. We had never done it before. We did not know about connections, data speed, video type, battery power, tripods, audio, etc. We just hit the red Live button to see what would happen.
 
On our first broadcast, a practice and tour of a facility near Seattle, we got over 800 views. Not bad for not knowing anything! Then a couple of the spring games got about 1,000 views. We definitely thought this could work.
 
By the end of the spring I knew this was something we had to do for the summer.

The Facebook Live Plan

Now that we knew we were going to step things up for the summer, we had to decide how to do it. The logistics would be a challenge. There were 12 teams, 12 coaches, 96 players, 5 hotel check ins and 27 vehicle rentals. We had no extra man power. There was no room for wasted time.
 
We were also limited by resources. We had me, my iPhone, my tiny data plan and a rental car.
 
And caffeine. Lots of caffeine.
 
Seattle and Las Vegas are very spread out. Games take place all over the cities. And while Anaheim has all the games in one location, we knew that covering everybody would be tough. So our goal was to broadcast each of the 12 teams at least once. And when we got those games scheduled, we fit in other games where we could.
 
Further, we were not going to worry too much about polishing up the broadcasts. Graphics, highlights, replays were not something we would add. We would only cover the basics and learn as we went.

Building A Project Following

Despite over 2 billion active users on Facebook, not everyone in our target was on Facebook. Even though that is where the games would be shown we needed a way to get the information in front of people in different ways.
 
We started three daily campaigns: Facebook Messenger, Instagram Stories and Email

Facebook Messenger

Through an app called ManyChat (which is free) we allowed people to subscribe to a daily messenger update. Each morning the subscribersgot our daily broadcast schedule sent to their messenger app. They received an alert and how to share the information with others.
 
ManyChat provided an automated opt in process. And I was able to add some code on our website to allow opt ins from there. In all we had 76 subscribers. We sent 19 messages in July and averaged over a 95% open rate!

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are perfect for timely information that has an expiration date. A daily schedule was perfect for this. Each morning we posted our schedule. Stories are only available to those that follow our account. So if you wanted to see our schedule you had to follow us.
 
Each daily story had over 200 viewers.

Email

We were already doing a weekly email to parents. But we wanted to build a list specifically for people that wanted our daily schedule. This list extended beyond parents. Now parents could share information about their son’s games with friends and family. This dedicated email list informed fans about what was going on that day. Short and to the point.
 
This list grew to 45 subscribers with an open rate of over 70%.

Project Results

In all we did live broadcasts of 46 games in July. They generated over 30,000 views and averaged over 660 views per game. The top six games (based on number of views) produced between 1,000 and 3,100 views.
 
Breaking it down a little further, the top six games averaged over 2,000 minutes watched each. And the average view was about 1:30 minutes each. Think about how captive that audience is. You have their attention for a minute and a half. A few games not in the top six kept people’s attention for 2-3 minutes on average. From a branding standpoint that is a huge opportunity!
 
From July 10 to July 31 the Select Facebook page followers grew from 2,070 to 2,303 (11.2% increase).

What We Didn’t Expect

We knew that utilizing Facebook Live to broadcast games was going to have a positive effect. But a few things that happened were unexpected.
 
First, by the mid-point of the tournaments we started to get requests for specific games. Unfortunately, we weren’t set up to do that but it gives us some ideas for next year. It also showed how important this connection back home was to families.
 
Second, we were thrilled by the support that parents of players on other teams were giving the currently broadcasted games. Even though their sons were not competing in the Live game, they tuned in and commented.
 
Third, we got a lot of feedback from college coaches that they were watching as well. This puts a new spin on recruiting and may open up some possibilities for the future.
 
Fourth, the viewership from extended family and friends was amazing. The intent was to provide a place to watch for parents. The amount of grandparents, aunts, uncles and family friends that were watching was unexpected.

What We Learned And What’s Next

We have clearly seen some great results from this project. With over 50 games from the spring and summer we have learned a lot. Live video is a great way to get more eyeballs on your product, build your following and connect deeper with families.
 
Moving forward, there is no doubt this is something we will need to consider doing again. Some of the things we will need to look at improving include scheduling, increased resources, better equipment and a way to fund the project.

Where To See More

If you would like to see all the video from this summer, click this link to visit our video list on Facebook.

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