The stadium is empty. Fans have long been gone, and the players are finally settling in for a much needed break. What now?
Well truthfully, you probably need a little break as well. And it’s to be expected that your posting frequency will be down compared to game day or in-season in general. Unfortunately, as you know, there’s no such thing as an off-season on social.
Fans may not be showing up in person, but they are still showing up on social. And they expect you to do the same.
According to a survey by Deloitte, 65% of fans say they want some form of content or information at least monthly during the off-season.
The key word in that statistic is “at least” meaning bare minimum. But we’re not interested in bare minimum, because we want to keep the excitement alive, not just exist.
There’s two parts to that equation. Here’s the first.
Bust Out Your Exclusive Content
Game-day content won’t be possible, which means you need to change your approach in the off-season.
Focus on delivering exclusive content-the type of content they won’t find anywhere else.
Why is exclusive content so engaging?
Because of its scarcity. Knowing they won’t find this type of content anywhere else makes it much more valuable.
That value is what you need in order to capture their attention in the offseason and drive engagement. Your fans will have nowhere else to turn other than your social channels to see it.
You can break down your exclusive content into two buckets. Let’s peel the curtain back on the first one.
Behind the Scenes Content
No content takes advantage of exclusivity better than behind-the-scenes content.
These are moments only your team has access to. Use it to your advantage by showing fans the special moments they won’t find anywhere else.
You likely created or filmed a lot of this during the season, so use what didn’t make the cut OR create something brand new.
Here’s a list of several behind-the-scenes content ideas you can try in order to drive social media engagement in the offseason:
- Locker room/stadium tours – Make your fans feel like they are back in person by giving them a tour of the less seen spaces of your organization. Nothing creates excitement like being back at the stadium. Create a carousel of photos or turn it into a Reel or TikTok.
(Content idea – Film your mascot walking around the empty stadium acting lonely and sad. Ask your fans to comment on how excited they are to return next season.)
- Mascot mania – One of the most recognizable pieces of your team is your mascot. Featuring them in your off-season content is a great way to drive engagement and keep that excitement alive.
(Content idea – Send your mascot out in public to the busiest parts of your city. Document their day and turn it into a post or video. Ask fans if they spotted them or captured any photos. This should also give you some great UGC!)
- Share the off-season life of players… – It’s no secret, players themselves are a huge source of excitement and engagement. Just because it’s the offseason, doesn’t mean players can’t be front and center. Have them document what a typical week in the offseason looks like.
(Content idea – Turn this into a series and feature a different player every week or on whatever cadence you feel best.)
Pair with Slate’s captions feature to ensure the videos can be watched with sound off and are watched all the way through.
- Community outreach – Just like social, there is no off-season when it comes to community outreach. Capture these moments and post them. What better way to drive engagement on social than by engaging with your fan base, face-to-face.
(Content idea – Run a specific outreach program driven solely by your followers/fans. Create a post asking your followers where your organization should lend its time/money. Select the top 3-5 answers and document your efforts. Share those experiences across social.)
This quick list will hopefully stir up some ideas for you and your team, but behind-the-scenes content isn’t the only way to capture the power of exclusivity. Another great way to tap into exclusivity is to strap the fans in and take them on a trip down memory lane.
Highlights and Throwback Content
These pieces of content are likely a part of your social media strategy already, but they work even better in the off-season. And there’s a reason.
Fans are craving sports action even more. Remember the rise of marble racing back in 2020? No really, it was a thing. Look it up.
Don’t let that hunger go to waste. Highlights and throwbacks work, not only because it’s sports content, but because it’s some of your best and most exclusive content.
Don’t limit yourself to recent seasons either. Highlights and throwback content from decades ago are just as engaging.
Here are some highlight and throwback content ideas to drive social media engagement in the offseason:
- Individual player highlights – Capture their best performances from a particular season or showcase the best plays from their entire career. It could be a current player or former player.
(Content idea – Showcase one highlight per season and ask fans which one they loved watching the most. Great for in-feed carousel posts, or video for Reels and TikTok.)
- “On this day” – Give your fans some history of your organization by sharing important moments from a particular day.
(Content idea – Don’t limit yourself to game footage, think broader like stadium construction, uniform unveilings, etc. Anything that’s not already common knowledge works great here.)
- Top 10 moments – Relive the best moments from last season or from franchise history.
(Content idea – Enhance fan engagement by using Instagram’s link sticker to send them to a place where they can vote on a predetermined list of moments. The curiosity of what the rest of the fanbase voted for will increase engagement when you post the final list.)
Pair with Slate’s asset duration feature to make a Sportscenter Top 10 type video
- Ask fans for a specific moment – This strategy has taken off and for good reason, it’s fan engagement in its purest form. Ask your fans using Instagram’s ask a question sticker, for specific moments they want to relive.
(Content idea – Ask fans which moments from last season they’d like to re-watch. Share a video or image of that moment alongside the fans’ response.)
Hopefully you have a notebook full of ideas that you can take back to the rest of the team. But not too full! Because we’re not done yet. No way jose.
Exclusive content is great for driving more social media engagement in the offseason, but remember it’s only one half of the equation. The other half?
Engage with Your Audience
Creating engaging content isn’t the same as actually engaging WITH your audience. There’s a big difference. And it’s this:
Engaging content isn’t always something your audience can engage with.
Only posting engaging content is like talking through a megaphone. They’ll love what you’re sharing, but they don’t have a lot of options to interact back.
Actually engaging with your audience is more like talking through a walkie-talkie. Your fans now have the ability to interact and respond back.
That interaction is what leads to stronger connections. And stronger connections lead to more engagement.What makes this even more important is the fact that your fans and consumers are looking for that connection already.
So, your fans are eager to connect with you, and you’re eager to connect/engage with them back. The question is, what does the perfect type of content for this look like?
There’s a million (okay, slight exaggeration) ways you could go about creating the content, but regardless of your final creative, it must have these elements:
- Conversational – Remember walkie-talkie, not megaphone
- Isn’t only about you – Save this content for when you’re in-season
- Your audience can “participate” – Create content that encourages them to engage back
- It’s fun – Create the content with the sole purpose to entertain
- Incorporates popular interests and culture – Think of this as nitrous for your content
Now that you have the basic framework, here’s what all of this combined looks like with actual examples:
- “Fill in the blank” posts
- “Wrong answers only” posts
- “Respond with a meme” posts
- “This or that” posts
- Tournament/bracket style posts
- Name generator (think those “first letter of your first name” posts
- Create your dream team post (Give them a budget with different tiers of popular figures each with their own cost)
As you scan over these, you can tell just how different this kind of content is compared to your exclusive content.
But, you can’t rely on just exclusive content, because then it becomes, well, not exclusive. And you can’t just share content fans can engage with, because then you’d lose your brand identity.
No. To truly drive social media engagement in the offseason, you need a healthy mix of both.
Interested in a demo? You can request one here – we’d love to show you around!