The Grid: Social Media at MLS Cup

MLS Cup was this past Sunday, November 20, 2011. This post will describe how we used The Grid to help organize our MLS Cup social media plan. My goal in sharing this is to paint a picture and share a tool that I find effective, rather than delve into details about the campaign, so this is very top-level. If you’d like more insight about something specific, please feel free to ask.

Basically The Grid is a big chart. Over the years, it has transformed from chicken scratch on a whiteboard to a series of extravagant excel files. I’ve been actively using The Grid since working as the Director of Online Marketing at the Chicago Red Stars in 2008, where it began as a way for Elly Deutch and me to keep track of our social media schedules and posts.

Since then, I’ve used The Grid to brainstorm, organize and schedule social media content and promotions in my work as the Chair of the NSCAA Women’s Committee, the New Media Manager at WPS and now as the Social Media Strategist at MLS. I’ve set up multiple versions of The Grid for one-day events (WPS All-Star Game, MLS Cup), specific campaigns (Shop WPS, MLS playoffs) and season-long content plans (the MLS fans section).

Here’s the set-up. Across the top row are the time periods. Could be hourly, could be daily, could be weekly… whatever suits your needs. For MLS Cup, we defined pre-game, in-game and post-game. Down the left column is each social media platform. For this exercise, I’ll limit The Grid to Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.

I would encourage people to think about games and/or events in these buckets. Not only do fans interact differently with brands during each of these times and on each of these platforms, but the content you’re producing is probably much different as well. Get fans excited about the upcoming event, engage with them while it’s happening and give them a place to come back and relive the action forever.

Site Pre-Game In-Game Post-Game
MLS Cup Prediction Challenge
Real-time video highlights from Scavenger Hunt
Twitter Twitter Photo Scavenger Hunt at Soccer Celebration
#MLSCup Twitter Trivia Challenge
Behind-the-scenes photos. RT player and staff tweets.
Check-In Special at Soccer Celebration
Exclusive MLS Cup Foursquare Badge Post event photos on Foursquare

One thing to note is that we always post an article on the site that a social promotion is coming to tease the fans, and after it’s ended to announce the winners. Here are two examples:

Hopefully there’s something useful in here, thanks for reading my post. I’d love to hear how you organize your social content programming. Please feel free to ask questions or share more ideas in the comments below.

One thought on “The Grid: Social Media at MLS Cup

  1. Many thanks for sharing this Amanda. Always great to see how different people organise their social media activities and there’s always something new to learn as a result. Really like the grid concept used here. Would plan events in a similar fashion with regard to pre/in-game/post game but not in as clear a structure as described here. Certainly something I may try around our next social media event. Thanks again, K.

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