I'm no stranger to the soccer field. My dad, whose college nickname was Elep (Pele backwards), spent many weekends teaching me the sport and cheering me on at games. While it has been many years since I've played, I’m still able to take the lessons learned on the grass and apply them to my role as a social strategist.
In honor of The World Cup kickoff and Father's Day, I've created this list of the top nine social lessons learned from soccer.
1. Master the Fundamentals
Just like players need to understand how to dribble, pass, and shoot, community managers must develop a core set of skills. These talents include content creation, project management, and relationship building. Once you master these competences, you can move on to advanced techniques like gamification, business analytics, and platform optimization.
2. Listen to Your Coach
A strategic, passionate coach is a key to winning. Community managers must also have an executive sponsor who is vested in the success of the team. This leader authorizes funding and resources, approves key policies, and champions the success of the program among the e-staff. Most importantly, the executive sponsor has the strength to empower cultural change.
3. Have a Game Plan
In sports, every game plan is unique. Similarly, each roadmap to online community success varies. That’s because businesses use communities to accomplish a wide range of goals, such as customer support, strategic alignment, partner relationships, etc. Despite the variety, community managers must have a well-documented plan with measurable objectives, strategic use cases and technical features prioritized on potential impact to the business and ability to execute.
4. Be 100% Committed
Good soccer players are dedicated 24/7. They practice, watch what they eat, and live and breathe the game. The same applies to social professionals. It’s an “always on” job. There are no customer service timeouts or Twitter rainouts. When conversations spike or news breaks, the community manager has to be available.
5. Play with Passion
As with anything in life, you are more successful if you’re passionate. Luckily with both soccer and social that zeal comes naturally.
6. Keep a Level Head
Just like soccer opponents try to slide tackle you, online communities are full of strikes on the brand. It’s crucial for community managers to help alleviate tense situations and not fuel them.
7. Find Strength in Your Team
Many of the world’s leading soccer scorers have contributed their success to the pinpoint passing skills of their teammates. Likewise, good community managers rely on strong communication and collaboration with individuals across the organization. Everyone from legal to marketing has a position to play.
8. Appreciate Your Fans
Every soccer team has a set of rabid fans, but so do strong online communities. That’s because these online networks are more than just modern communication vehicles. They are made up of people who have a shared passion and shared “why.” Renowned community managers put their fans first; empowering, amplifying and rewarding them.
9. Celebrate Your Gooooaaaalllls!
In both soccer and social, numbers matter. Nothing is more rewarding then winning!
From kids playing in the streets of St. Louis to professionals duking it out in Brazil, soccer touches so many lives. In the same light, so does social. I’ve watched as the role of community manager has evolved from something delegated to the intern into a respected profession sought out by the world’s most powerful brands. No matter where you fall on the spectrum of either, know that you are part of something big.
If you like this post, feel free to download the related SlideShare presentation, "Top 9 Social Lessons Learned from Soccer."