#UMWSocial hosted UMW alumnus Mark McClure (@mrkmcclor), a senior digital executive for Major League Soccer, for a behind-the-scenes look at the organization’s impressive social media presence. Mark graduate from UMW in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in English and has spent the past eight years in the role, first with D.C. United and currently with league headquarters in New York. Prior to joining MLS he led the redesigns for several major newspaper websites and Fortune 500 companies. He also was an Assistant Dean of Admissions at MWC from 1999 to 2002.
We captured some of his social media strategy and advice during his talk:
How does Major League Soccer approach social media?
We put two key tenets at the front of our social media presence. First, that all content is a social interaction. And second, that all social media posts are content. So we shouldn’t just be throwing content at our fans, we should try to engage them and solicit a response. And content needs to be done well with accurate information and strong media.
What’s the strategy behind your content?
Our content strategy focuses on four key principles: smart, kind, generous and fun. Being smart is about planning ahead of time, thinking carefully about content and responses, getting onto new platforms when we’re ready and not just because they’re new. Kind is key for our industry because tough competition can turn ugly. We try to keep it positive. We aim to be generous by retweeting our fans, giving them special access that they wouldn’t otherwise have and creating that two-way conversation. And finally, we try to be fun. Our fans are a passionate community and they like to have fun so we try to give them that too. It’s not funny though – fun is different than funny.
What role do pictures and video play in your content strategy?
Rich media and images are everything. We try to always have a picture or a video with our posts. No one reads anymore, everyone scans, so you need a dynamic image or video to catch someone’s eye and make them stop and pay attention to your post.
What tools do you use to help you do your job?
We use Hootsuite. It’s a great tool for listening and responding to our fans. I search for keywords, not just hashtags, so I can monitor conversations and see what is being said about us. If it’s appropriate, I’ll respond and help out fans when I can.
How do you stay on top of social media trends?
Experiment. Each time a new platform comes out, we grab our handle or name and also create a few secret accounts so we have a space to practice. We experiment with the account, take some time to think about it, talk about the platform as a team, and if it seems like a good match for our brand and our fans, we jump in.
How does a liberal arts degree play into your current role?
Everyone on our team has a liberal arts degree actually. It’s crucial in a collaborative team environment that everyone understands the overall goal and direction as it applies to all the different departments, even though you might specialize in one. A liberal arts background helps you come to the job with a well-rounded background.
Do you like soccer?
l can watch soccer/football all day – and I do! And helping share the sport with fans is my favorite part.