Backline Soccer: A Year in Social Media

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Backline Soccer is officially one-year-old today and as I sit back and try to reflect on the last year (ten months for me) from a social media perspective, I think of where we have come from and where I believe this site has the ability to go.

I was initially approached by our Editor-in-Chief, RJ Allen, to perhaps start writing for the site but even just ten months ago, I did not feel my overall knowledge was nearly as good as it needed to be to write regularly about women’s soccer. I had followed the major events and pretty much any USWNT I could for years but had not followed much else outside of that. Now, I am happy to say that is not the case.

From there we diverted off about how I felt about running social media for the site and ten months later here I am in charge of social media and seeing all of the trial and error pay off in dividends for Backline Soccer.

Initially, I was the sole person running our social media accounts. But as we started to expand, put out more great content, and brought on more people it became harder to manage all of the intricate tasks of running social media without help. Additionally, at the time, and up until May of this year, I was a full-time graduate student getting my Master’s in Music Industry Administration, commuting twice a week 130 miles round trip to school, and spending a bulk of my time drowning in group projects or attending networking events.

So we set out to expand our social media team and I now manage a great four women team. Alyssa Zajac, Becca Kimble, and Caitlin de Souza help me collectively run this social media machine and have been an asset to Backline Soccer. Without all of them, I could not make this run as successful as it does.

Alyssa handles our Facebook page while covering Twitter in the mornings as well. She has been a huge help in covering and handling any task I ask of her and doing so efficiently.

Becca handles our Scouting Report media side, handling all things from scheduling tweets about the show, live-tweeting TSR every single week, and more. This was a side that we were lacking in initially and she has been irreplaceable in helping get our separate TSR Twitter off of the ground and running.

Caitlin runs our Instagram and is our graphic extraordinaire. Any graphic or table or image or quote I needed to look amazing, she has been up for the task. She’s added a flair and visual likability to all of our great content.

Each and every person on the social media team is so important. As most of our work happens behind the scenes and sometimes it can feel like a thankless job but I appreciate their help so much.

Let’s jump back to my hiring. In the beginning, Backline Soccer was a small group trying to get the site off of the ground and make our name in the world of women’s soccer. With social media being a new aspect we were looking to use to get more people involved in the site, the beginning months were a lot of trial and error, frustrations, finding what was working and what wasn’t, and a lot of discussion on the best way to do it all. While it was not always an easy or simple road, the end result has been rewarding. To see our Twitter start from about 320 followers when I took over as Social Media Director, to over 1300 has been a great joy for me because it shows the hard work my colleagues and I have been putting in has been working.

The road to get to that 1300, though, as I mentioned, was not an easy one. On the positive side, my knowledge of women’s soccer, in general, has expanded more than it ever would have if I had not been working for Backline Soccer and around these amazing individuals. But there were many days for the first few months or so, on the other side of the token, that I wasn’t sure I had made the right decision and that I should be continuing on.

As social media is the current and future way to market and promote your business, the pressure to make sure almost every single thing coming out on social media is almost perfect can become a bit overwhelming. And that pressure and some frustration at points became a little too much for me. But I have learned more ways to compromise, let things go, and handle things over the last year that have helped me in other aspects of my life as well.

In dealing with social media, there has to be a fun element and joy to the job of promoting my colleague’s great work the right way, while making sure our social media stays on the brand that we have set out for it to be. I have worked very hard to make sure I understood all I could about how my colleagues operated and how their pieces came across because, at the end of the day, social media is what is promoting their work and putting it out for the world to see. Then there is the daily flow to pay attention to and make sure it is continually working.

For me, handling social media took up more time initially than I had thought it would at the beginning but I enjoy what I do and I enjoy getting to see all of the great engagement from the work our site continues to put out each and every day. Handling the day-to-day I see a different side of how everything works and how our followers respond. And I have learned a lot in the last ten months that I do not think I could have learned anywhere else.

I’ve also learned that TweetDeck is woman’s best friend if you run social media, not to take myself so seriously sometimes, and how to work continually on making myself the best colleague, social media director, and human being that I can be. The perspective I get from my fellow Backline Soccer colleagues, even if we do not always agree on the same things, is something I value a lot and has helped frame some aspects of my life in my late 20s that as a teen or even a 21-year old I do not think I could have learned.

As we reach one year I can’t help but look to the future and hope for the continued success of the site and of all of my amazing colleagues. I hope that one day, the people who work so tirelessly to cover women’s soccer will be compensated for their work. And I hope one day that the women’s game gets the full respect it deserves. I believe it is coming in the future, as we have made strides to make it happen, but we still have a long way to go. We have truly built something great here at Backline Soccer and it has been a privilege over the last ten months to manage the social media for this company.

If you want to follow my ramblings about women’s soccer, the WNBA, music, and everything in between, you can find me on Twitter at @AdrianaHoop.

For now, I end here:

“Stay true to yourself, yet always be open to learn. Work hard, and never give up on your dreams, even when nobody else believes they can come true but you. These are not clichés but real tools you need no matter what you do in life to stay focused on your path.” –Phillip Sweet

And the song that was the inspiration for my first tattoo, from a country artist who isn’t afraid to push the boundaries, with a message that can speak to anyone if you just believe in yourself and the power you have to decide your own future. “Follow your arrow wherever it points.”