Hey, Chicago, What Do You Say? You Better Follow These Rules Ok? 🎶

Hello my fellow Chicago sports fans! If you are like me, we are passionate about whether our teams win or lose. Even more so when we do lose. Sometimes this passion can get ugly or we as fans misunderstand the directions an organization may take.

As social becomes ever important to our society, there are things you can do and not do. This can be a make it or break it situation for an organization. Can you take the heat or know how to handle a situation within your channels?

Well Chicago sports organizations (Bears, Bulls, Cubs, Blackhawks, White Sox, Fire, and Red Stars), I’ll do you all a favor. I will create an ethical guide to help you manage your social media. Maybe this can ease some of the negative feedback some of you might be getting. Follow these simple tips and all of you will have an even more supportive fan base.

1) Vote No — Politics

If you really want to annoy your fan base on social media, talk about politics. That is a joke though. Please don’t. Like actually. Do not post politics, ever. “55% of U.S. social media users say they are ‘worn out’ by political posts”. As organizations who represent the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, and WMLS, your audiences are focused on how the team is performing. How players are getting developed or even if any players may earn season-ending awards. Why dull them about politics. If you are having a bad season, your audience following may already be low. Add politics to the mix, you are a goner. You will lose any fans you may have thought you had left. Keep it out of your feeds and continue creating content that your fanbases engage with.

2) Do Not Delete

As a Chicago Sports fan myself, I know first hand that people can leave some mean comments. Some are 100% warranted for deleting but that does not mean you should delete every single negative comment you find. Why? People may think you are hiding something.

Hey Chicago Bears, this example is for you. What if you deleted every comment that said “Play Justin Fields”. Fans would immediately think that 1) you as an organization do not want to play him and 2) Andy Dalton will continue to be the starter (Yes I know, Justin Fields finally took over in Week 5). Instead of deleting, acknowledge these comments. Appreciate the passion your fans are showing to see the team succeed. Acknowledge their comments or maybe provide some detail and why one person is getting a start over another. Sometimes negative comments can be a good thing as individuals are engaging with one another. And in the sports realm, having collaboration and social interaction between fans can be used as social listening for organizations. You can see what people want and create content tailored to their needs.

3) Consent Communication

Do not contact your followers without consent. You may see that your followers have their email or phone numbers listed on their profiles but that does not give you the ability to use it. Even spamming your followers with new team products every second is a bad idea.

Instead, you as an organization can create a survey in which allows followers to comment on a preferred contact when it comes to certain promotions or events. This is giving your followers the power of free will instead of them feeling they are a “sale”.

4) Don’t Mislead

According to the Federal Trade Commission, “when consumers see or hear an advertisement, whether it’s on the Internet, radio or television, or anywhere else, federal law says that ad must be truthful, not misleading…”.

And within the sports industry, it is important to communicate exactly what you may mean or want to portray. I personally have gone to Chicago Bears, Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, and Blackhawks games where these organizations will promote a former player who will be available at the game to sign autographs. You need to make it clear that these autograph signings happen before the start of the game. If you generalize the event, you can have fans buy tickets for the game to meet the player BUT what they don’t realize is they had to come before the game started. In your eyes, you may have sold out your stadium but you will have unhappy customers.

People who came to get an autograph of a certain player to only be told the player is not doing autographs because the game started will leave a sour taste in a fans mouth. The good thing about social media is that platforms allow you to create multiple posts. You’d prefer to get it right the first time but it also gives you the ability to make that second post. To help clarify the information for your followers. You can even do Instagram stories showcasing when, where, and at what time fans can go meet players before a game gets underway.

5) Protect The Data

Of all the guidelines I have mentioned, make sure to mark this as the #1 priority. Do not be Facebook where back in April of 2021, 533 millions users’ information was leaked. This included their phone numbers and other personal data.

Even if it wasn’t your fault, “64% of US users would hold a company responsible for loss of personal data”. Put your followers and consumers first. Reassure that you as an organization, their personal data is not sold and protected.

One way to reassure your fanbase could be providing them information on how to spot a fake emails or links to tickets. Show them the different emails/usernames you use so they know exactly what to look for. For an idea like this, you can create an Instagram guide taking a fan through the step by step process.

As sports organizations that represent the city of Chicago, following these simple guidelines can help you continue creating the best experience for your fanbases on social media.

So hey, Chicago, what do you say? You think you’ll be able to follow these rules ok?

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Nathan Friefeld

Nathan Friefeld

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