Why Small Businesses Must Have A Social Media Plan




       Small business employees are constantly being pulled in different directions.  Because of multi-tasking, creating a strategic social and digital media plan can be difficult. Underdog Sports understands the importance of a well thought out plan, and wanted to highlight an organization that has experience with this and does it successfully. 

     NFL Training Camps started at the end of July. Garrett Downing took  a few minutes out of his busy day to provide insight on the Ravens social and digital strategy. Garrett is the Social Media Manager and Digital Host for the Baltimore Ravens. 

A few main highlights from our conversation include the following . . . 

  • Prepare great content around events and important periods of time for your company.
  • Quality content is more important than quantity.
  • Follow the Ravens on their social media channels to learn and help your own companies strategy.


Nick Cipkus: Do you prepare content now for the upcoming season? If so, How much time is spent in prepping over the summer?

Garrett Downing: This is definitely a balance. We’re always looking at ways to prepare for the upcoming season, and you need to use the offseason months to establish campaigns or stash away material you’re going to use for the upcoming season. A current example is our trip to London in September. We’ve spent a good amount of time recently preparing content around our trip to London, which will be our first-ever game there. It’s a huge opportunity to connect with our International fans and grow that audience. We want to make sure we deliver great social material during that week.

     The NFL never really has a “slow” period. The league has done a fantastic job of dominating the sports news cycle for basically 11 months out of the year. You don’t have too much time in the off-season to just completely look ahead to the upcoming season.



(Image Taken from baltimoreravens.com)

Nick Cipkus: What are three major keys to any digital media strategy?

Garrett Downing: In developing any strategy on social, I think it’s important to know what you’re trying to achieve. That could be engagement. That could be creating revenue. That could be driving traffic back to your website. It could be anything. The key is that you know what you’re trying to achieve.

2. I’m a firm believer in the importance of good content. When you have quality content to share, people want to engage with it, and that goes a long way in getting your message out to the masses. I think any digital/social strategy first needs to focus on how to develop and create good content.

3. Know the voice of your organization. Every team, company and individual are different. It’s important to have your own voice, and that voice needs to be in line with how your organization wants to be represented. In the sports world, some teams want to be snarky and engage in “Twitter battles” with other teams. That’s a fine strategy to have, but that needs to be in line with how your organization wants to be represented. Knowing the voice of your organization is key to any social strategy.

Nick Cipkus: How has social media changed from when you started with the Ravens?

Garrett Downing: It has changed tremendously. A significant difference is the scope of social media. I started with the Ravens in 2011, and at the time we only had Facebook and Twitter. We didn’t even initially have @Ravens as our Twitter until midway through the 2011 season. During my time with the Ravens, we’ve added Instagram and Snapchat, and the overall presence on all of these platforms has grown dramatically. We are producing far more content on social than we did even two or three years ago. The trend is to keep doing more, more, and more.

    Social has also transitioned into a place where sponsors want to be. Our social channels are some of the most significant digital assets we have, and we’re constantly in communication with sponsors about how to integrate them into our social content. Our social channels have become even more important internally to get out messaging to our fans. We can immediately reach millions of people through social, and that’s a key way to communicate our internal initiatives.


   Thank you Garret for providing  a look into the Ravens social media strategy.  I hope everyone is able to learn from his responses and apply them to your own business.  Please share your feedback and thoughts below. 

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