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Club Spotlight: Midwest Devo

By: Parker Ohlmann  August 29, 2023

Social media best practices as a club communication tool with Midwest Devo.

Q&A with Midwest Devo

We sat down with Andrew Hoffman, a board member with Midwest Devo, to discuss how social media has allowed their club to grow and connect with their community.

How does Midwest Devo approach social media as a communication tool?

We use all kinds of communication tools (in addition to social media platforms) to share information, give updates, and express our excitement for the sport with parents, partners, collaborators, and those within the community. Sharing our story is important at Midwest Devo because it’s a way for us to “humanize” who we are, what we do, and our club’s ethos for why we do. We are a diverse community of people with a unifying belief that bikes in the lives of our kids bring joy and are a platform for positive human development as they learn to challenge and push themselves while learning how to be a part of a team. People “buy in” to people, not just what the brand or club can do for them. We all do extensive online research to evaluate the products we buy and the people we’re committing to spending time with, especially when it’s our kids. Parents want to know whether the culture of clubs their kids get involved with meets their needs and kids that have access to social media also want to know what and who they’re getting involved with.

So, when it comes to the use of social media, we see it as a way for us to tell the story of our club and celebrate the big and small wins of the kids involved. We ensure we weave in what is important to MWD, what the kids are learning, and celebrate their successes whether it’s a race win or successfully remounting their bike after barriers for the first time. It’s also a necessity as it’s one of the primary ways we can be sure to provide important updates to those individuals connected to our team that are looking for time-sensitive updates.

Regular social media use allows us to play the long game when it comes to marketing our club and the events that we’re organizing or collaborating with. We believe in building a community of people, which takes time. Things that take time take an ongoing commitment to telling the story, sharing the photos, and always creating as open of an environment as relevant to your team’s parameters and how involved you’re wanting to be in your greater cycling community. Devo really wants to be a positive leader in the greater Central Indiana cycling community and we do our part to support others as capacity allows. Our SM channels are an easy way to be supportive.

What has Midwest Devo learned about telling their collective story via social media? What has changed in how you've approached this space?

A couple of things we prioritize:

- Empowering those motivated and experienced within the team's leadership to be contributors. Currently, we have a few board members that have marketing and small business operations backgrounds and actively manage communications beyond their personal accounts, which makes sharing MWDevo communications a bit easier. We don’t think you need to be a professional to excel at this, just interested in sharing what’s going on within the club through the lens of what might be of interest to the person on the other end.

- Take a lot of photos and know that good photos go a long way. Mobile phone images are great and are still our primary tool for gathering content. The main point is to remember to take photos as often as you can. However, we dust off those DSLR cameras regularly to ensure we’re capturing as high-quality images as possible. Again, we have talented parents with equipment who when asked, are happy to participate by taking photos and sharing those. Beyond the value of effective communication, they go a long way for parents to have high-quality images of their kids to document these phases of their kids' lives. Sponsors also really appreciate when we can share galleries of photos with them to use in their own marketing.

- Post regularly and stay positive - We spend a lot of time building an audience and telling stories, which requires regular posting. Getting into the rhythm to try posting at least 4-5 times a week beyond the regular information sharing helps us remember to go a bit deeper. We also ensure we have a team ready to document events by posting more frequently using “stories” in FB and Instagram. The world of social media always needs more positive voices and we work hard to ensure we’re choosing to celebrate what’s good. We also work hard to focus on wins of all kinds, not just performance at the highest level because we have such a big club with kids that all have a different level of experience and goals with cycling.

Areas where we’re not quite there yet:

- Creating specific content - We’re great at documenting what’s going on and telling the story of our team, but we’d love to create more structured content. Parent/kid interviews, coaching tips, Reels of kids sharing what they’re learning and how they’re having fun. The opportunities are endless.

What advice do you have for other clubs?

For teams wanting to boost their use of social media, the only advice I can give is to take more photos and then ask yourself what you’re going to do with them. Then figure out how to do that. Not every photo or video needs shared, but the practice is what sticks. Know that you need to do more of it but it’s just not your thing, ask for help. You’ve likely got a squad of parents who might be an expert you didn’t know you needed.

For those advanced social media-using clubs, then I would encourage you to figure out how you can adopt a more generous spirit when it comes to social. One thing we find is that when we focus on celebrating others, tagging partners, or promoting local events, the energy comes back to us and our audience grows, and ultimately, more families show interest in joining our club.

A final thing that we’re always aware of and would encourage others is that as positive as social media can be, it can be harmful as well. Often unintentionally. We do our best to ensure we’re filtering what we’re sharing, how we’re sharing it, and how we engage in the conversation on others' photos, pages, and accounts. We have a responsibility to protect and provide a positive environment for our kids to develop and accountable communication is part of creating that process.

Checkout Midwest Devo's social platforms @midwestdevocycling

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