In a person's career, is there such a thing as luck? Is it possible to make your own luck? Today, I spoke with Amanda Vandervort who made a career combining her two greatest passions: soccer and marketing. Amanda is the Director of Social Media at Major League Soccer. Read on to see how she landed her dream job and how she uses social media to engage with MLS fans.
How She Landed Her Dream Job
"I'm one of the few people fortunate enough to be in something that I really love," says Amanda on working on promoting soccer through social media.
Her career began as a head coach at New York University. Afterwards, she decided to explore her passion for technology and media. With a degree in Educational Technology, showing teachers how to integrate technology into classrooms, she made the move to San Francisco to make the move into marketing. She worked for a website that created a social community that helped soccer coaches make lesson plans for practices. This was where her passion for soccer, technology, experience and coaching integrated together into one space.
In 2007, she launched a blog and a Twitter account chronicling her thoughts on women's soccer. It caught the attention of the General Manager of the MLS team the Chicago Fire, who invited her to Chicago to help extend the team's digital presence.
Since then, she's moved back to San Francisco but continued her career at MLS and has been there for six seasons.
Transitioning from Coaching Soccer to Coordinating Social Media
"I think we make our own luck. It's about recognizing the opportunity when you're in a position to take advantage of it."
Investing time in her blog and learning how to promote herself through social media got her to where she is. She had an interest in social but no working experience in it, so Amanda set out to prove her capabilities.
She wanted to make a difference in women's soccer in a different way. From writing practice plans on the field with a pen and paper to being in front of a computer, she aspired to put women's sports, a minimally covered field, into the spotlight through social media.
"What I love about social and the spirit of social is pushing the boundaries of trying anything that might be humanly possible through social and digital technology."
MLS' Evolution in Social Media
Amanda came in during the launch of MLS Digital in 2010. She sat down with its Vice President, Chris Schlosser, who was the GM at the time, and defined MLS' approach to digital.
She commends MLS' philosophy on social media. After living in San Francisco for a time, Amanda relocated to New York City. "We feel so strongly about the impact that social media can be to the core of our business, that we want social media to be located in New York," she explains about MLS views about social's impact.
This acknowledgement about social media is a top-down approach. The MLS commissioner himself is very active on social media, and believes it's an investment and tool that can grow the MLS brand.
MLS on Social
The MLS fan base is young and active on social. MLS recently launched its Snapchat and received an overwhelming response.
Although their most popular channel has evolved overtime, MLS' "core philosophy of being engaging, honest, and authentic" remains the same. It stays true with a great team that speaks the brand voice. On the creative side, a manager who is the "voice and tone" of all the content on its social channels and is responsible for community management on game day. Along with a business manager who assists with sponsorship sales.
The core question is to carry out "how to create both the most effective programing that's engaging for the fans and also serves the brand."
Measuring engagement, referral traffic from its website, and video views are key determining metrics.
Influencers play a large part in MLS' success on social media. Most recently, they partnered with a Snapchat celebrity for the World Cup who helped launch the MLS account. It gave the team a lot of insight about the platform and also brought potential fans for engagement. "As we look into new innovations and technologies, we're always looking for those people who've taken a lead on that platform. We try to invite that into our space."
Enjoy, and check back here for more episodes of the All the Social Ladies podcast on Social Media Today.