How to use Facebook

Whether you’re new to Facebook – or are looking for expert tips to get even better – this section is for you.

Facebook for local sports clubs

Facebook is the world’s largest social network. It has more than 30 million registered users in the UK – that’s around half the population! Lots of the clubs, supporters, players, members, volunteers and other volunteering organisations you work with will be on Facebook, so it’s a brilliant resource.

Facebook allows organisations to create a Facebook ‘Page’, such as our very own one for Join In at www.facebook.com/joininuk↑. A Facebook Page works like a micro-website, but one that’s plugged directly into the fabric of Facebook. This makes it easier to reach people on the network, and to share links and posts. To set up a Facebook Page go to www.facebook.com/pages/create↑. Remember to then ‘like’ Join In’s page↑.

Join In’s Facebook Page essentials:

  • People ‘like’ your Page to become fans of your club.
  • You can post messages and events on your Page.
  • Your Facebook fans see these updates in their feeds – and they can ‘like’ or share them with other people.
  • You can respond to any posts and comments by fans on your Page.
  • You can invite people from your email contact list to become Facebook fans – use the menu in the top right under ‘Build Audience’ to get some ‘likes’ for a Facebook Page.
  • Facebook can be used privately, but it is really a public network – that means anything posted could be seen by the wider community, so only post things that you would be happy for anyone to see.
 Eoin Redahan
Eoin Redahan
Social Media Manager, Join In

Top 10 Facebook Tips

Here's Eoin again with his top tips for Facebook success...

  • Win, Win, Win! Competitions are a proven way to increase engagement and followers. It’s all about incentivising people to follow you. There are plenty of ways to do it, but remember that Facebook has stringent rules on how and where you can promote competitions. The easiest way is to link from Facebook to full competition details on your website or blog. Remember: make sure that following your Facebook Page is a competition entry requirement.
  • Widen the conversation. Most of your posts and updates will understandably be about your club – but don't be afraid to comment on other relevant conversations, for example, any news or issues that are affecting your sport.
  • Ask and answer. Do your updates always end with a question or call-to-action? Success on Facebook is all about creating two-way communication – and small interactions can pay big dividends over time. So if someone takes the time to leave a comment on your post, remember to reply back… every time. It's always good to ask people's opinions, ‘Like’ nice comments, and often to end your reply with another question.
  • Share the work. Running social media demands resources – so why not have more than one club member running the account? This can help increase how often you post, and different personalities can also make the account more interesting and varied. Consider using initials at the foot of each post to clarify who is saying what.
  • Be specific. Some online interactions are more ‘viral’ than others. For example, asking users to ‘Like’, comment, vote and share your updates is a great way to spread the word. These kinds of actions ensure that your posts immediately become visible to the friends of your followers.
  • Edit before publishing. Any link pasted into Facebook will automatically generate a headline, thumbnail and snippet text. Remember that you can (and often should) edit every section to ensure that your post looks and sounds as compelling as possible. You should also choose to ‘hide’ the link, as this increases the chances of people interacting with your post.
It's a family affair at the club with generations all pitching in.  
  • Use images. Around 60% of all social media traffic includes photos – so remember to post up your pics, and ask followers to share theirs with you.
  • Don’t auto-link to Twitter. It may seem like a time-saving idea, but tweets don’t translate very well on Facebook and that can look a little off-putting. It’s always worth taking the time to write a different headline when publishing on Facebook.
  • Timing. Peak traffic times on Facebook are around 10am and 3.30pm, but remember: if there’s a major sporting event related to your club, don’t just it watch on TV – have your Facebook account open too, and take part in the online chat. It’s a great way to meet like-minded people, increase your influence and grow your online audience.
  • Decorate. Have you added an attractive Timeline background and thumbnail images? Remember that your thumbnail image should ideally look good even when it's reduced to a small size. It should catch the eye and be immediately obvious that it's your club.

Talking social with BT Local Leader Tori Brady

BT employee Tori Brady, pictured centre, loves supporting local sports clubs. As a Join In Local Leader, she brings a lot of her work skills to help clubs on a range of different business aspects. Here's what she has to say about local sports clubs and social media…

External Resources

Why do you think it's important for clubs to be involved in social media?
It keeps the club fresh and relevant. There are so many clubs to choose from and social media can help you connect far and wide – which is especially important if, like us, you have many teams to fill. It’s especially great for the Juniors as they can download the apps to their phones and learn about matches, training, rearranged events etc – with one post to Facebook, Twitter or the website! Everyone gets the same message.

What sort of social media advice or training do you give to the clubs you volunteer for?
I always advise the Juniors to set up a closed group on Facebook and protect their members. I also advise that they appoint a ‘webmaster’ to their media sites who is DBS-checked and has a valid safeguarding qualification. This way any photos or information is controlled and the club is covered. I'd also normally train 1 or 2 people and place them onto free or funded courses in the area for additional support and training.

What do you think makes a good Facebook post or tweet for a club? 
It should be relevant and simple. Usually we only have nanoseconds of time to read all the info we have to pass on, so a message has got to be snappy and give the information in simple easy language. Also if there are any questions, there's usually an option to contact someone. That said, we don’t encourage coaches to give out their personal phone numbers – instead people can contact them securely via the website.

How do you think local sports clubs can improve their social media? 
Get someone who is not involved in your club to see what they can find out about your club. Build it from there. What do you want your audience to know? Why do you want to use social media? Is it for your existing club members or to attract new ones – or both? Start simple and build it up. Choose one social media first and see how that works, then progress to another. Soon you'll find that you are all linked across many different kinds of social media.

It’s a great shop window for your club. But remember that it can be manipulated too – so set security controls and monitor your accounts. Happy surfing!

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Want to hear more from Tori? Read her tips on managing your accounts

How can Join In increase your reach?

Want to use social media to speak to new audiences? The magic phrase is ‘increase your reach’.

Join In has over 8,000 Twitter followers ↑ and over 50,000 Facebook fans ↑ (on two pages), and we love to share and link our keen volunteers to active club pages. (Another great reason to keep your club page up-to-date.)

To boost your reach even more, it’s a great idea to post about your Join In club page on your social media channels. You can ask your members to share it, retweet it and spread the word across their networks. If you’re looking for new members or supporters, this is an amazingly powerful way to reach people in your community.

So what are you waiting for? Spread the word about your Join In club page – and we’ll make sure that we retweet it too.

Need a social media superstar at your club?

If you’re struggling to find someone in your club who is keen to set up and run your social media, why not use Join In?

Log in to your club page and tell potential volunteers that you need people with strong social media skills. Update your club page today.