RYA has developed a Guide to using Social Media

With 123 million Facebook users worldwide and an estimated 100 million videos updated on YouTube every day, social media is undoubtedly a fantastic method for sailing clubs and centres to communicate with club members, instructors and potential customers.

If you're new to social media it can seem a very big and daunting world, so the RYA has teamed up with Sport England to answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

1. How can sailing clubs and class associations benefit from using social media?

Social media is a great way to reach out and communicate to all types of people. More and more people are choosing social media as their day-to-day means of communicating with their friends, discussing their hobbies, sharing photographs and commenting about current affairs. Sailing clubs and class associations can benefit from social media by driving awareness of sailing, interacting with their customers and increasing participation by sharing interesting content with consumers.

2. Are Facebook and Twitter just for young people?

No, far from it. More than a third of Facebook users in the UK are over the age of 35 and this is also their fastest growing demographic. Only 13% of their users fall into the under 18 bracket, so the majority of their users globally are adults. Twitter is mainly used by older adults, with only around 10% of users aged 12-17.

3. How much time will it take up?

Not much at all. You need to be clear from the outset about what you want to use social media for and what your content strategy is so that you can manage this activity accordingly and factor it into your day-to-day workload. You can use social media effectively without it becoming too labour intensive.

4. How do I get started?

Anyone can set up a profile/account on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube by simply logging onto their websites and following the simple steps that are outlined. There are various tip son the sites about functionality, communication tools and plenty of information on the internet.

5. How do I know if it is working?

This starts with being clear from the outset about what your objectives are. Getting people to visit your page is important initially and this can be increased through advertising but it shouldn't just be about getting loads of fans. You need to communicate to the right audience in an appropriate tone with relevant information, so that you are engaging them. It is important to communicate relevant content and at the right time. You will know if you are being successful when people post comments back as it shows they're interested in what you're promoting. It is difficult to measure how effective social media is at converting people to participate in sport, but it's definitely an important channel to use to support and enhance other marketing and promotional activity that you are carrying out.

6. How can I protect my privacy?

There is a full range of privacy settings that you can use on Facebook and other social media platforms. For example, you can choose whether you allow people to post on your page or simply comment on your posts. This reduces the risks of what may appear on your page from members of the public. There is also a filter on Facebook that automatically takes out bad language if it is posted. It is important to create a strong social media community around your club but the risks need to be recognised and managed in the appropriate way. Overall, it is down to the user to use their best judgement.

Want more information?

Download a copy of our social media guide.