Summer Project Increases Instagram Followers by 17%

#Select20in20 gives players a chance to share their experience and families a chance to follow along

This summer was a big deal for our Select Basketball program. It was the 20th anniversary and we had more teams participating than ever. We wanted to make it special for the players and families. And we wanted take advantage of the momentum to help us moving forward.
 
The idea was to create a unified approach to documenting the 20th summer and the 20+ days that the players are active in July. With 12 teams, it was going to be impossible for me to cover everything that was happening. But, by empowering the players to share what they were doing, we were able to showcase some of our best moments. This is where the #Select20in20 project was born.

Project Goals

The project had four main goals:
 
1. Give more insight to family and friends that could not be on the trip
 
2. Provide an easy way to teams to do something together and build team chemistry
 
3. Create more awareness in the program from people that were not already involved
 
4. Generate content to be used during the summer and able to be used in the future

Further Insight

One of the things that we have noticed is that players and parents are not always on the same page. Some players do a good job. But a lot of parents are not sure about what their son or team is doing.
 
This project allowed parents to see some of the things that were happening both on and off the court. We added to each social media post #Select[team color here] so it was easy to follow specific teams. For example, #SelectRed would show posts from the Select Red 16U team. Now, even if a parent’s son wasn’t posting on social media, they could still follow along.

Building Team Chemistry

Select teams are successful because they form team chemistry as the summer progresses. This project jump started that process, providing a team experience on the first day.

Creating Outside Awareness

Social media is a powerful way to get your message out to the world. By amplifying our social presence all summer, we are showcasing our program to new people. And because most of the content and posts are coming from the players it is authentic.

Current and Future Content

The posts, images and videos served as excellent content during the summer. And they will live on in the future. When next summer rolls around, we will be able go back and revive some of the best moments. This provides great examples of what to expect if you make a team. Coming from the players it helps to build trust around our program.

Why Do This?

Putting a project like this together and then executing it is a lot of work. The players and families from the past have all seemed happy and most of them come back. Why go to the effort?
 
Select has always been a program that was ready and willing to try new things. This project was no different.
 
It provided a great way to celebrate our 20th anniversary. It gave us a chance to use our advantages of size, footprint, mini-camp and internal communication. We were able to show how we are different from other programs. And it helped up solidify our movement from Idaho / Montana Select to our new name, Select Basketball.

The Execution Wasn’t Easy

The #Select20in20 project is not something that every club, program or team can pull off. It required a lot of prep work and needed an solid infrastructure to even have a small chance for success.
 
The concept started in late May 2017 on our road trip to the Great Falls, Montana tryout. Four coaches sitting in car for eight hours talking about what we could do differently in year 20. Colby Blaine came up with 20 in 20 (20 years and 20 days in July) and from there we expanded on it.
 
By mid-June I had a pretty good outline of what I wanted to do. The project outline included the type of content we wanted and our tag, #Select20in20. It also included when and where most of the content would be generated.
 
As the first part of July rolled around we had written the project. We also created player worksheets and ordered equipment.
 
Mini-camp started on Monday, July 10. That first day was crucial to getting buy in from the coaches and educating the players. During the camp we built in media sessions with the teams. These sessions explained what we were doing and we took team photos and head shots.
Getting buy in from your leadership is critical to a project’s success
Through out the summer we rewarded the best posts with free Select shirts as a reward. We often did this in front of all so the other players could see. It helped provide extra motivation to join in. We also kept the coaches updated on how things were going.

The Results

The biggest impact appears to be from Instagram. From July 10-31 there were 179 posts tagged with #Select20in20. Of those 179 posts, 135 of them were from players, coaches or parents. They generated over 15,660 likes and 77 comments while our account grew from 603 followers to 709 (17.6%).
 
The project put less emphasis on Twitter as a posting ground. There were 43 posts (10 from Select) and we added 42 new followers, up 2%. This was more interaction than I expected. My assumption was the results would come form Instagram as that is a younger demographic. But our players surprised me. Several of them have a much bigger following on Twitter than I thought.
 
Facebook also had a big impact this summer. However, it is hard to isolate the #Select20in20 project because we did so much with Facebook Live. That was a different project that I will post about in the future.

Top Takeaways from the #Select20in20 Project

The impact was fantastic. It was a large project but we accomplished our goals. We received a tremendous amount of feedback from people outside of Select that felt like they were more connected. And we have several resources we can re-purpose moving forward.
 
Some of the things we learned:
 
1. Getting buy in from coaches is critical. The project is not a success if we don’t get the chance to work with the players. The coaches all want the most time with their players to practice and work with them on the floor. So to be able to get them to sacrifice a little bit of that time to work on media stuff was huge.
 
2. Having a plan on educating and executing makes all the difference. You cannot wing a project of this size. Preparation makes all the difference.
 
3. The biggest impact on Instagram came from players. The top ten posts were all from players, coaches and Select didn’t even come close. Team photos and galleries did the best.
 
4. Twitter was bigger than I thought. Players are using this medium and having success. It is also the best way to distribute links to articles. This was critical when USA Today wrote their article on us. It was unexpected but we were ready to jump on it. Going deeper, the article started with a video posted on Instagram by a Tournament Director. It was then picked up by USA Today. Virality at its finest.
 
5. With regards to generating traffic to our website, Twitter may be the easiest to take advantage of. Total social referrals were down 8%. Most of our traffic this year came from Facebook, which was up 74% compared to last year. But that is due to the Facebook Live project. Twitter, which was down 80% this year as a referral source, generated a large amount of traffic last year. Though web traffic was not a goal for this project, this is important to note for next year as remarketing to web visitors become more important.

Would We Do It Again?

It is still to be determined what the overall effect of the project will be. Will it help retention and expansion? And we haven’t used any of the promotional material yet. But we can see that there were some short term gains made.
 
The project and follow up analysis have identified new opportunities. This project may be entirely justified by those findings alone.

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