The GAA’s Journey into Digital September 10, 2012Posted by The Marketing Institute in Digital Marketing.
“Teddy looks at the ball. The ball looks at Teddy.” No article on any aspect of the GAA would be complete without a quote from the legendary Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh. As a fantastic communicator himself Micheál would probably be very impressed with the massive strides the GAA has made in recent years in communicating with its vast and diverse fan-base. Lisa Clancy, Director of Communications for the GAA, gave an excellent overview of four years of work to a full house at The Marketing Institute’s first Digital Thursday event.
As Lisa took us through a journey that started with a website upgrade and then moved to content creation, social media and education of the wider GAA community, a number of key lessons were clear:
In any organisation, there will be many people who will not be comfortable in the digital space. Keep plugging away. Show people how it works. Give real examples. Share success stories. Give as much help as you can. People will come round.
2. Internal resources
Have the right internal resources in place. This means having someone who is at home in the digital area but also means providing tool kits, training, policies and templates to other users who may not be au fait with digital marketing.
3. Which platform to use
Different platforms suit different organisations. Twitter is very successful for the GAA because of the demand for real-time match scores. Lisa pointed out that Twitter is not a replacement for the website. The Web is still very important to the GAA for managing major content.
4. Interesting content
Lisa gave some great examples of how you can create great content easily. She has regular columns from players, video pieces, polls, competitions, ‘team of the week’ for commenting on and images. Images are hugely popular and are regularly shared. Videos should be short: about 2 minutes. Above all, the GAA has its results and fixtures. Simple content but very valuable.
5. Listen to your users
Use analytics to see what people are doing on your digital channels. This will guide you as to what works and what doesn’t. It will help you develop new ideas. This will also help you know when is the best time to communicate. The GAA find lunch time and between 8pm and 9pm work best for them.
“And it looks like there’s a bit of a schemozzle in the parallelogram…”
It’s not all easy of course and Lisa highlighted some of the challenges she and her team face. How to control what people upload is vital as the GAA is a family organisation and any inappropriate content could be hugely damaging. Having the right terms and conditions is also important.
Having accurate information is crucial. The GAA website, Facebook page and Twitter account are the official voices of the GAA. The information on these must be correct.
Twitter is a press release. A fantastic piece of advice for anyone. Keep that in mind when you tweet and you won’t go far wrong. Lisa has a particular challenge in trying to keep enthusiastic county and club PROs on the straight and narrow when it comes to Twitter.
The event was an interesting insight into how an organisation as traditional as the GAA journeys into new areas. Download Lisa’s presentation GAA Digital Marketing Presentation from the night.
At the Next Digital Thursday event on 4 October 2012 at 6.30pm, Nick Biggam from AIB Merchant Services will explain AIB’s online strategy and how they are engaging with social media.