/ Social Listening

How the USTA is Leveraging Social Media to Reach the Next Generation of Tennis Players

Learn 3 of the social media marketing strategies that the USTA uses to yield incredible (700% year-over-year!) growth in content engagement.

From grass-roots community tennis to the US Open, the USTA strives to grow tennis at every level.

One of the driving forces in accomplishing this mission is the USTA social media team. Led by Director of Social Media & Strategy, Qianna Smith-Bruneteau, the USTA has built a social strategy that has landed their campaigns in the billion+ impression category and that leads to a consistent 700% year-over-year growth in content engagement.

More importantly, every person their content reaches is inspired by tennis-related content that is positive, motivational and inclusive.

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Read on to learn 3 key social media marketing strategies that Qianna’s team implements to reach their goals and guide these numbers.

1. Reach Generation Z & Millennials Through Youth Ambassadors

One of the ways that the USTA social team is engaging a younger audience on social media is by leveraging the power of influencers.

The team has built partnerships with 100 youth ambassadors who share their stories through social media, inspiring others in their age group to become involved in this sport and community, and driving home their mission.

"We have this incredible mission to inspire the next generation of tennis greats through our Net Generation brand. Leveraging social media, we have developed relationships with Generation Z and millennial audiences. We’ve assembled a movement of 100 ambassadors, the Net Set, age 5 to 19, who share their personal tennis journeys and stories on social media, and it’s through their lens that I see the magic and the mission of the organization unfold."

Not to mention, their winning strategy has also won them several awards, the most recent being the 10th Annual Shorty Award for best celebrity & influencer campaign on Snapchat.

Bonus Tip:

Notice the USTA’s use of emoji CTA’s- calling for comment engagement by showing which emoji to use to show your support for USTA athletes/ partners💡.

2. Monitor the #Conversation to Increase Engagement

Qianna’s team also maximizes overall engagement by leveraging hashtag analytics, or in other words, tracking #USOpen during the run of the event and year-round to understand how their content is being engaged.

"I never imagined during the US Open that our hashtag would enter into the billion+ impression category. Having the ability to download the content tagged with our hashtag really allowed us to identify super users and reward them with surprise and delight moments throughout the tournament."

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By monitoring how people are engaging with your hashtag, you can identify most engaged users and the types of content they are engaging with. You can then adjust your content strategy in real time, replicating high-engagement content and delighting your audience.

"Keyhole allows us to analyze the conversations around turnkey marketing moments, and to understand the organic/earned media associated with our brand."

3. Use Competitive Benchmarking to Inform your Strategy

Competitive Benchmarking means comparing your own performance to your top competitors' as a way to hold your metrics to a standard.

"Keyhole.co is an invaluable tool for competitive benchmarking and seeing where we stack up in the space."

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With benchmarking, Qianna and her team were able to determine that they had the most engaged hashtag, #USOpen in the Grand Slam space in 2017 (US Open, AU Open, French Open, Wimbledon), which demonstrates the value of her team's efforts within the organization.

"On the US Open channels, we had a 700% year-over-year increase in interactions and video views across the big 5. And our USTA social media channels did the most interactions and video views, an increase of over 1,200% year-over-year when compared to the other 3 governing bodies associated with a Grand Slam."

Key Takeaways

Some key takeaways:

  • Create engaging content by partnering with influencers or brand ambassadors.
  • Monitor hashtags to understand engagement and double down on top content.
  • Use competitive benchmarking to measure your results.

That's the USTA's winning formula 🎾🏆.

“Keyhole is an incredible tool for any social media marketer. I used it when I was head of social media at Saks Fifth Avenue, and it was one of the first tools I selected at the USTA.”