There are many reasons why Inline Speedskating is not growing in many countries. Money, advertising, TV, grass roots, coaching, socio-cultural, infrastructure, and many more.... But we are going to focus on just one of the more obvious (and easier to fix) reasons...
Now we all agree that Social Media and the internet in general is a shallow xxxxxx world, where outrage and shock is the norm and manners and politeness are forgotten. (unfortunately). That said, it is also a place where many, nay, Millions/Billions of people frequent on a daily basis, sometimes more than once a day. So despite it's downfalls, it's a great place to promote your sport. And it's free, or relatively cheap. So yes, Social Media is at at best a "free way to advertise and promote your sport, club, event" and at worst, a "necessary evil".
With that in mind, you would assume that every single World Governing Body (WGB) and every single National Governing Body (NGB) os every sport in the world is frantically try to use Social Media to it's MAXIMUM effect; learning the tricks of marketing, promoting, creating exciting content, learning the algorithms that control audience, or at least putting some cool pictures and videos out there. I mean, then Social Media boom started in the late '90's ("blogging" started in 1997 and in the same year AOL Instant Message made its debut, allowing people to chat online), and FB exploded over the world in 2005... 11 YEARS AGO!
Whether we like it or not, whether it's healthy or not, the reality is, if we want to be in the conscience of young people's minds regularly, we have to put the sport on their mobile phones, iPad's, tablets, and personal computers, regularly. Every single day.
Before we look at how Inline Speedskating is doing we first need to understand one simple thing.... the number of "likes" you get, or the number of "followers" you have means nothing, right? It's just a click in cyberspace, and on the deeper meaning of life it's absolutely shallow and meaningless. I mean, who gives a crap about "likes" or 'followers'? Only teenage girls looking for attention on their next "bathroom-selfie". We'll.... errrmmmm, no.... ...
When a person clicks "like", it means they accept your posts in they news feed, so then they potentially see your post, your video, your event, your race, your training session, your club. So your number of "likes" or "followers" is the size of your audience. This is the reach of your advertising. If you're in their news feed, you are a daily reminder of skating, of how cool it is , of how fun it is. Skating becomes part of their daily thoughts. THIS is important. It can also lead them to your webpage, the SPORTS webpage, for more information. So a large Social Media presence is vital link.
So how is Inline Speedskating doing? And how are FIRS and the NGB's doing? And how are the sports' manufacturers doing? Here's some black and white stats, for you to decide for yourself.
N.B: If I've missed any FB/Insta./Twitter pages, or got the wrong one or the wrong numbers, then just leave a comment at the bottom of the page with a link, and I'll update my stats. Thanks.
Well, some are doing pretty good, and some are failing dismally. Why? Pretty simple answer is the generation gap. Generally speaking, the threshold of "who 'gets' computers/Internet/Social-Media" is somewhere between 1975 and 1965. These born before are "ok with it, but don't embrace it fully". Thos born after it often find it second nature. And most of the people on FIRS and NGB's are born before '75. (Please remember, I said "Generally speaking". There are exceptions, of course... My Dad is pretty computer savvy, and he's 91!) 😜
The simple answer is to prioritise Social Media presence in your organisation, and place one person, someone probably below the age of 40, or someone who knows about or is willing to go on some courses, in charge of this area. It's not as simple as just "using FB a lot", or "Tweeting often". There are definite strategies, best practices, and effective methods, as well as ineffective methods, and mistakes to avoid. The fundamentals are easy, but if you read in to it, it gets more complicated, and more interesting. You will need someone who is willing to go on a weekend course in Social Media Marketing, or invest a little time in learning the "do's and don't's". But like with anything, nothing comes absolutely free.
Nut you'll be amazed at how simple it is to get the word out there to young people, and get their attention. And how affective it can be. But you have to get your apps set up properly to interact effectively.
Why isn't every NGB and FIRS prioritising this? Let's grow our sport.
"Let's go faster"