Social Media: Supercharge Your Sites Part 1

If you manage a website or blog, then it can be challenging to consistently create engaging content through writing articles; however, social media posting has become pretty natural.  Luckily, we can leverage all the work put into your social media channels by embedding that content on your Demosphere website.  This two-part guide will show you all you need to know to integrate your Facebook page and Twitter account with your website. Let’s get started!

Social Media Tip 1: Facebook Pages

You can share all kinds of social media content between Facebook and your website including: timelines, messages, and events. Embedding your Facebook page on your site is an easy way increase your online presence. This section will cover how to connect different pieces of your Facebook page with your site.

1) Navigate to the Facebook Developer Page Plugin page.

social media page plugins

2) Scroll down until you see an input for, “Facebook Page URL,” and enter the url for the page from where you want to use content. In this guide we will be using Demosphere’s Facebook page as an example.

3) Choose the tabs you want to include in the input labeled, “Tabs”. Available options are: timeline, messages, and events. You may include as many tabs as you wish by separating each tab with a comma (example input “timeline, events”). In our example, we’ll use all 3.

social media page plugins

4) Configure the appearance of your page plugin. The nice people at Facebook have made this process very simple by exposing common configurations as checkboxes and text inputs. You can experiment with the look and feel of your plugin by previewing the content underneath the configuration settings. It is best to leave width and height empty, as well as leaving the checkbox for “Adapt to plugin container width” checked to ensure your plugin looks great on all device screens. For the guide’s example we are going to use the settings below:

social media page plugins

5) Get the code. You can get all of the code to put on your site by clicking the “Get Code” button beneath the plugin preview. You will need to copy both snippets of code from the tab “Javascript SDK” and put them on your page in the order they appear. Our example’s code snippets are below:

social media embed code

6) Add the code to your page. Add the snippets to your Demosphere website as “Rawcode” (shown below). If your site is not hosted by Demosphere, then you can add your code snippets to the source code of the page in the order shown above.

social media embed code

7) Check your public page:

social media public

Social Media Tip 2: Showcasing Specific Posts

Sometimes you will want to highlight a specific post from Facebook. You can accomplish this using Facebook’s Embedded Posts Plugin. We’ll walk through how to accomplish that below.

1) Start by logging into Facebook and navigating to the post that you would like everyone to see. In this example, we will use one of the posts from Demosphere’s Facebook page. Click the arrow at the top right of the post and choose the “Embed” option, then “Advanced Settings”.

social media post embed

2) Configure the post plugin. Facebook Embedded Post Plugin page should look familiar to the Facebook Page Plugin page. Set the pixel width option to “auto” as shown below.

social media embed post

3) Get the code. Click the button “Get Code”. If you’re following along from the last section and are not using the Demosphere platform, then you don’t need to copy the first snippet.

social media embed code

4) Add the code to your page. Like the previous section, you can add the code to a Demosphere page using “Rawcode”. If you are not using the Demosphere platform, then you can add the code snippets to your page’s source code.

5) Check your public page

social media public

What Next?

If you’ve been following along, then you have successfully integrated different elements from your organization’s Facebook page. Take some time to experiment with what you have learned in Part 1 of this guide and explore the various plugins that Facebook has to offer. Most of them can be implemented by simply embedding the code they provide into your site.

Having trouble? Did you setup an awesome social media steam? Leave a comment below and be on the lookout for Social Media: Supercharge Your Sites Part 2, where we will go over how to integrate Twitter with your site.

 

Demosphere Unveils a New Look for demosphere.com

Demosphere Youth Sports LogoFalls Church, VA – April 4, 2017 – Demosphere is thrilled to unveil their new website: demosphere.com. The site was launched on Friday, March 31st with some tweaks and maintenance over the weekend prior to the official launch announcement.

“This has been a long time coming.” said Demosphere’s Executive Vice President, Kris Baker. “We wanted our website to speak to our core values and our previous site was just not hitting the mark. Our mission as an organization is based on four core pillars of strength: Experience, Authenticity, Integrity and Community. We want people to think of these values when they think of Demosphere, and this new site is a huge step in the right direction for us.”

“I’m excited that we’ve brought our website back in house.” continues Kris. “For many years, blog.demosphere.com was hosted externally using the WordPress platform and it was always something that didn’t quite sit right with me.”

Senior Vice President of Product Development, Miles Baker, played a crucial role in the design and development of the new site. “We wanted the new website to reflect not only our core values through content, but also use it to highlight Demosphere’s professional design capabilities. Striking the right balance of clear content delivery with a clean and sophisticated design is what we pride ourselves on. This move helps us showcase one of the many ways we can help our clients do the same.”

Additionally, bringing the website in-house allows Demosphere to take full advantage of their own premier CMS platform features.

“We need to be able to quickly and efficiently update the content of our site to continue sharing the most up-to-date and relevant information with the youth sports community. This was always a challenge for our non-technical staff to manage on our previous WordPress platform,” added Kris.

With user-friendly features such as drag and drop content management, mobile responsive views, SEO-optimization, creation of articles on the fly, a robust calendar tagging system, and much more; all levels of users can poise themselves as web masters for their organization using the Demosphere platform.

Heidi Snead, Director of Project Management, helped spearhead the website re-launch project. “This is great news for our customers because as our own organizational needs grow and evolve, so will the features and usability of the system that’s relied upon by more than a thousand organizations every day.”

If you’re ready to upgrade your website to a design that is personalized, focused on content delivery, and professional, check out Demosphere’s integrated solutions today.

About Demosphere:

Demosphere International, Inc. is an Information Technology company based in Northern Virginia that has catered to the technology needs of youth sports organizations for over 26 years. Demosphere strives to provide authentic industry-leading technology solutions for organized sports, accommodating the needs of all levels of organizations and all levels of users, with an ethical approach to how they impact the greater community. For more information on Demosphere, visit the company’s website at demosphere.com.

Demosphere Forms New Partnership with Rise Soccer Club

Rise Soccer Club

Falls Church, VA – March 29, 2017 – Demosphere has recently partnered with Rise Soccer Club, a new super club in Houston, TX that has formed this year as a result of a merger between the Houston Express and Eclipse Soccer Club. Demosphere will be providing an integrated solution for managing administrative technology solutions including online player registration, data management and reporting, communication, league scheduling and more.

“We’re thrilled about our new partnership with Rise Soccer Club. We look for partners that will take advantage of our expertise in the world of youth sports technology and use it to help grow their organization to develop youth sports programs across the country” said Demosphere’s Executive Vice President, Kris Baker. “Rise Soccer Club has the mission to do just that and we couldn’t be more excited to see their program develop over these first few critical years.”

Colin Chesters, Executive Director of Rise Soccer Club, shared, “Houston Express and Eclipse Soccer Club have come together to become Rise SC. As part of this merge, we took a long, hard look at how we could improve our overall programming and offer the best of everything to our families at Rise SC, not just on the field but off the field as well. One of the obvious decisions was changing our registration and club management system to Demosphere. The Demosphere system meets all of our needs from ease of tryout and team registration, email communication and payment tracking to scheduling. This new platform will give our families an easier method of maintaining their family profiles and payment methods. We are excited about this new partnership between Demosphere and Rise SC.”

Although the Rise Soccer Club merger took effect on January 1, 2017, the two clubs will continue to operate under their current names – Houston Express and Eclipse – through Spring 2017, at which time Demosphere’s solutions will begin to roll out to Club members and administrators.

About Demosphere:

Demosphere International, Inc. is an Information Technology company based in Northern Virginia that has catered to the technology needs of youth sports organizations for over 26 years. Demosphere strives to provide authentic industry-leading technology solutions for organized sports, accommodating the needs of all levels of organizations and all levels of users, with an ethical approach to how they impact the greater community. For more information on Demosphere, visit the company’s website at blog.demosphere.com.

About Rise Soccer Club:

Houston Express Soccer Club (HESC), founded in 1978, and Eclipse Soccer Club, founded in 1986, have merged to transform Houston soccer as Rise Soccer Club. Rise SC is dedicated to being a force in competitive soccer and is prepared in all phases to achieve the highest level of success. Rise Soccer Club boasts one of the most highly licensed coaching staffs in the nation, has created and implemented a player development curriculum that is second to none in its effectiveness, and owns some of the finest youth soccer facilities in the country, centrally located in one of the largest youth soccer markets in the world.

Rise SC redefines the youth soccer experience in Houston. We’re a full service soccer club. Whether kids are playing soccer just for fun or to prepare for high-level play in college, we train players to their fullest potential and provide a safe, supportive playing environment. Integrity, respect, honesty and sportsmanship govern all that we do.

Demosphere Presents the 2016 VYSA Volunteer of the Year Award to Richard Smith

VYSA, award, NCSL, Richard Smith
Camille Cheatwood (Demosphere), Richard Smith (NCSL), Jay Baker (Demosphere)

This past Saturday, Demosphere attended the 2016 Virginia Youth Soccer Association Awards Gala to honor the VYSA Award winners, as well as the Virginia-DC Soccer Hall of Fame Inductees. It was a well-hosted gala attended by some of the top administrators, coaches, referees and volunteers in the state of Virginia.

This year, Demosphere was proud to sponsor and present the award for the 2016 VYSA Volunteer of the Year to Richard Smith, President of the National Capital Soccer League (NCSL). Richard also serves as a travel commissioner on the VYSA Board, and as a Region I Commissioner.

Demosphere has been partnered with NCSL for over 15 years and we were extremely proud to present the award to their President. Richard has helped propel the league forward with new ideas, strong leadership, and a focus on positive player development.

Congratulations to Richard, the other very deserving award recipients and all the VA-DC Soccer Hall of Fame inductees!

Best Practices for Selecting Vendor Partners for Youth Sports Organizations

vendor agreements youth sports contracts

Several years ago CIO.com published an article titled “How to Choose the Right Software Vendor”, which offers some valuable insight to help organizations decide on some of the most important relationships that impact their daily workflow.

The article breaks the decision-making process down into several important areas, which we further shed light on below, especially as it relates to the growing youth sports industry:

  • Figure out what it is you really need – Before talking with any potential new business partners, get your team together internally to discuss any current hurdles or challenges, along with desired improvements to your workflow. As Steven A. Lowe, Principal Consultant at ThoughtWorks indicates, “If you know what you want, ideally separated into a must-have list and a nice-to-have list, it will be much easier to figure out if any given solution fits your business–and to resist ‘shiny’ things.” In simple words, make sure the solution you’re considering actually meets your needs.
  • Check the software provider’s credentials and certificates – This is especially important in today’s volatile youth sports technology market. With the amount of consolidation, acquisition and unfortunate failure; it’s crucial to understand the foundation of the companies you’re partnering with: How long have they been in business? How has their technology grown over time? What types of partnerships do they have? Are they PCI Certified? How sound is their infrastructure? What is their data model and how will they protect your member data?
  • What do other customers have to say? This may likely be one of the most critical questions. Ask for references and find out how long they’ve been a customer, how their technology needs are being met, and how supportive, responsive and knowledgeable their team is. Chat with other organizations in your network to find out what the company’s reputation is.
  • Can it scale? This is an important question as it relates to future growth and emerging technology; has the company shown the ability to scale over time to meet market demands and to grow with your evolving needs? Malcolm Cowley, CEO of the Performance Horizon Group, hits the nail on the head when he said, “The last thing CIOs and other technology decision-makers want to be faced with is the need to re-evaluate and invest in a new solution two or three years down the road, when the existing system can’t handle the company’s emerging needs.” Before talking about price, first make sure the solution will meet your needs, both now and according to your growth plan. If the solution doesn’t meet your needs, cost is irrelevant.
  • Check for hidden or additional fees. Make sure you understand the full financial impact of the partnership:
    • Evaluate setup fees, recurring fees, and usage fees such as per player/per team fees.
    • If you’re processing online transactions, it’s imperative to calculate the total cost of credit card transaction fees – not only the various percentages across card types, but also per transaction fees, monthly gateway/account fees, etc.
    • Review the fine details of the agreements’s termination clause. Are you locked in for multiple years? Are there any early termination fees?
    • Equally important is to understand any additional fees you may incur due to any software deficiencies you uncover. Will there be any third party costs you’d have to incur to fill any gaps? Will there be any extra hard or soft costs due to lack of integration across platforms?
  • Who gets custody of your data? Most especially in the world of youth sports where member data has turned into a perceived “gold rush” of the current decade, it’s important to remember that your organization owns your member data (or at least you should). Be sure to find out before you enter into a new vendor agreement what they will do with your valuable member data while you’re a client, as well as after you leave. These are crucial questions to ask to ensure protection and privacy of your members.
    • What is the vendor’s privacy policy?
    • Will they use your member data for financial gain?
    • Will they market to or sell off your data?
    • How easy will it be to get access to your data after you move on?
    • Will there be a fee to obtain your data once the partnership is over?
  • Take a test drive. Now that you’ve had a chance to identify with your team what your must-haves and nice-to-haves are, make sure the software you’re considering meets your needs. Go through a full demo of how the tools will address your specific needs. Ask the vendor if they will provide access to a demo site, or if there’s a free trial option that will allow you to test the system before you commit to pay.

Navigating the waters of vendor research can be cumbersome and even frustrating at times, but these steps will guide you to help ensure you’re making the best decision possible, given the specific needs of your organization.

Demosphere has been serving the youth sports community since our humble beginnings in 1990, and we commit to bringing experience, authenticity, integrity and a strong sense of community to the conversation. If you’re interested in evaluating integrated solutions to help solve some of your complex technology needs, we invite you to contact us today!


Demosphere’s mission is to provide authentic, industry-leading technology solutions for organized sports, accommodating the needs of all levels of organizations, and all levels of users, with an ethical approach in how to impact the greater community.