June 28th marked the one month point of my start with the Disc Golf Pro Tour. I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my first month experiences, the state of the
DGPT social accounts, and a few lessons I have learned here in the first month. Hopefully by now many of you know who I am. If you don’t, my name is Seth Fendley and exactly one month ago Steve Dodge and the Pro Tour brought me on to help with the social media. You can read a little bit more about me in the announcement article we posted a month ago.
When I started a month ago I brought with me over seven years of social media experience. I also brought with me over ten year of disc golf experience. I thought those two things were going to give me the boost I needed to help put the DGPT social media on top. I can say, those two qualifiers were extremely helpful, but neither prepared me for what I was going to experience in this first month.
Looking back…Four days after I started we had my first DGPT event as a staff member, The Utah Open. Leading up to the event I did everything I could to prepare for the marathon tournament days. I tried to plan ahead with some posts leading up to the event, Steve was able to get me in touch with the uDisc guys who had previously been helping with social media (those guys were a HUGE help!) but ultimately nothing could prepare me for running our social accounts during the event. At this point in my social media career my live event experience was limited to one TEDx event last September, where I was in the room updating Twitter and Facebook in real time.
However, disc golf is different. Since disc golf is a competition, things can change at any moment, and I’m not just talking about scores as they come in. While the weather was perfect throughout the weekend we had three “unexpected” things which happened during the event that I – as social media coordinator – could have never planned for:
After talking things over with the uDisc guys, it was clear we needed to be producing social media content every three holes. This would be publishing something about every thirty minutes. While this was wishful thinking, this proved to not be possible working remotely. The delay in getting photos from the event, to responding to the social posts already out there, to trying to craft new social posts led to posts going out every forty-five minutes to an hour. Between crafting, publishing, and responding to social content I was hardly able to watch any of the live coverage. While I had live coverage playing in the background I would gander that between all three days of coverage I watched a total of thirty minutes worth of coverage. The rest of the time was spent on social channels. It felt like overnight I had gone from the casual disc golf junkie to a full time disc golf social media coordinator (which I practically did).
I have helped with B-tiers & C-tiers since 2014 so I’m not surprised by the amount of work that goes into a tournament. What I was surprised about though is the amount of people who are interested in professional disc golf. Specifically in digesting information related to professional disc golf through media channels. This really gave me a whole new respect for what the others who work in disc golf media are doing and have done.
When I went to research what I could do to help the DGPT social channels I was shocked at how large of a following some of the other disc golf companies and entities had on their social channels, but what has been more shocking to me this month is the growth we have seen.
The state of the DGPT social accountsWhen Steve brought me on the DGPT had four social accounts with very large followings: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube. We toyed with the idea of adding Snapchat to the mix but after discussing things we decided growing a new social channel was not the best use of my volunteer time. What we decided to do was have a consistent daily presence on Facebook & Instagram, cross posting when we can to Twitter. Following this simple structure we have realized the following results in one month’s time (from May 28th to July 9th).
May Facebook: 21,654 to 23,995 as of July 9th
May Twitter: 1,345 to 1,546 as of July 9th
May Instagram: 9,494 to 10,815 as of July 9th
May YouTube: 7,061 to 7,518 as of July 9th
In the past month consistent posting has led to an over 1,000 follower increase on both Facebook and Instagram. The increase on Facebook was so great that Steve decided to run a Facebook like campaign to try to get us over 24,000 last week (we came close). I want to clarify that outside of the Facebook like campaign and a Facebook ad campaign for our limited edition tour discs that no other money was spent to grow these audiences. This was simply from us being more consistent with our posting on the channels (and the growth of the sport in general). We hope to continue to see this type of consistent growth each month moving forward.
What have I learned?I think it is important to reflect on things we have learned in the process. There are a few key takeaways from my first month that I want to share with you guys. Some of these are fun takeaways, some are the behind the scenes takeaways you can apply when you are using social media, most are pretty straightforward but I feel emphasize where we are with the growth of the sport.
1. People love disc golf mediaThis seems like a no-brainer but people are chomping at the bit for more disc golf content. Just in producing daily content we are seeing our social following grow. People now have next day expectations from the post-produced video crews. *Side note – if you have ever tried to edit video with the quality and speed of Central Coast and Jomez then you know how difficult this is – these guys really deserve more props than what they receive for what they are doing. The photos we share receive more response than I could ever imagine on social channels. Disc golf is a sport which capitalizes on stunning views and photography and it is clear you guys enjoy what we are putting out there. People love disc golf media so much we are making sure to share media from tournaments not associated with the Disc Golf Pro Tour. We do this not only because people love disc golf media but also as a way to grow the sport and show support to our sponsors and touring pros. The love of disc golf media runs so deep that we are asked questions regarding media for events not associate with the Pro Tour. We appreciate the interest but sometimes we do not have all of the answers (though we do our best to help when we can). This leads to a second takeaway along that same vein…
2. People have an opinionWe enjoy a good discussion here at the DGPT. We welcome constructive criticism. We have built the tour on how we have envisioned a Pro Tour to be. This takeaway is another no-brainer however, I was shocked at the amount of arm chair commentators which exist online. At the DGPT we put a lot of time and effort into making sure the tour is profitable for players, action-filled for spectators, and sustainable for the future. This means we are constantly making adjustments in order to ensure we are putting the best product out there. While I may not be the one making the adjustments, as social media coordinator I end up dealing with many of the comments. I personally enjoy a hearty discussion – currently I am a college debate coach, so I don’t shy away from a good debate – however, many times we end up with opinions and not well-thought out responses. These are the ones which can be difficult to respond to, there’s an old saying “actions speak louder than words” and in many instances I feel like this applies to social media opinions. People can talk about things all they want, but until they experience what they are talking about it is hard to really know the best answer. My solution, volunteer to help us! We are always needing volunteers and we would love to work with you. Ultimately the best way for us to grow the sport is together, so if the Pro Tour is coming through your area take the time to volunteer, we could really use your help.
While this was a more general takeaway, I do have one story that sums up this takeaway that has been a direct experience of mine. Stroke, throws, or shots. It seems there are some strong opinions over how we should refer to scores in our social posts. For the first few posts I made I would alternate between stroke and shot – these are the two terms I’ve heard the most when referring to disc golf scores. Some followers on social media do not like the word stroke because to them it’s a golf term. So I moved to shot and throw. Some people think one is more informal than the other (but apparently there are camps which think each are informal and vice versa). One person unliked the Facebook page over it during the Utah Open (no joke!). In short having an opinion can be fun, but lets try to not let it hinder the growth of the sport.
3. ConsistencyThis is something I alluded to earlier in this article, a lot of our growth is due to consistency. Why is consistency important? If we are consistent in our posting people know they can always come to our social accounts for disc golf information. With the growth of the sport we have plenty of information to be able to post consistently. As a matter of fact, we have produced so many images I could post a photo a day for five years and I would have a new social post every day. Posting consistently is what brings people back for more but also keeps them engaged in what is happening. The more engaged we become with the sport, the faster we will be able to see the sport grow.
4. Having a planI spoke with Steve for nearly two and a half hours the week before I started running social media. I wanted to make sure I was keeping not only the fans happy, but the sponsors and players happy too. I did my best to plan ahead as much as possible but the reality is, the sport is always changing. Whether it’s scores, competitors, or course layouts we have new updates coming out leading up to events and sometimes during events. Having a plan on how to handle these changes allows us to keep you guys informed as best as possible at all times. It is amazing how fast the rumor mill works in disc golf and we want to make sure we are providing you with the most accurate disc golf information. This is accomplished through having a plan. We now have a plan for how we post during tournaments and how we post in between. We are working on a more consistent article publishing plan and are even developing a more comprehensive traditional PR/media plan for events. Rome wasn’t built in a day and the growth of the sport takes more than us just posting on social media when we feel like it. Having a plan is what will get us to where we need to go, not just with the Pro Tour but with social media in general.
This is a few of my thoughts from the first few weeks on the job here as Social Media Coordinator of the Disc Golf Pro Tour. While running social media is something I am comfortable with there was a lot to learn. There is still a lot to learn. However, we have seen growth and we are hoping to continue that growth for months and years to come. Thanks for following along!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.