Orienteering Australia communicating through social media

Posted on April 16, 2010


Lately I’ve been thinking about social media in sports marketing, specifically with Orienteering Australia. Less by invite and more by my own interest as well as the interest of the Head Coach of Orienteering Australia, Rob Preston, we have worked away at bringing social media into how Orienteering Australia communicates. We have set up a number of new social media outlets, and re-configured how some existing channels work. Here’s what we have been up to.

The Website

The Orienteering Australia website uses a social fx platform which at present is difficult to integrate with social media. We have used Page2RSS to create a crude RSS feed from the website, whilst this works ok, it picks up all changes to the website, even those not related to a news story. So we end up with a messy social media output at times. Not ideal, but hopefully this is being addressed. There are obvious links to our social networks on the website.


We have set-up a facebook fan page for Orienteering Australia. This

allows those on facebook to interact and keep up to date with news. Through a related site, an event site, we found it quite useful for interaction between individuals. Many participants making comments about the event and related events. Some positive and a particular case which was quite negative. I’m all for comments at both ends, although many aren’t. Facebook is perhaps a suitable place for this type of commentary, and not on the official Orienteering Australia site, although I personally wouldn’t mind that either. Facebook is an end product, its where our feeds and comments end up. There is no feed out of Facebook to any other place. We are a small sport in Australia, but the facebook seems reasonably successful, generating 200 plus members in a couple of weeks with little marketing, just a link on the Orienteering Australia homepage.


A normal twitter account. Tweets are automated through Twitterfeed, but we can add extras on an as needs basis. For instance I wrote a manual tweet yesterday relating to a news story in country Queensland that picked up a story about Eric Andrews being awarded the SILVA award for services to event management.

Australian Orienteering Team blog

Our WOC team blog is updated by our WOC team during and in the lead-up to World Championships.  Stories and images are updated daily during WOC and it makes for a great site.


Our YouTube channel is fairly new for us, at least in terms of utilising it in this way. We created a channel for a number of reasons. We wanted a place to upload our videos too, but we also wanted a place where those interested could go and find a range of videos about

different aspects of Orienteering Australia. So we created playlists and used a combination of our resources, and other Youtube resources to amalgamate videos on certain areas. Our playlists are: Guides to Orienteering, SILVA National League, Event Previews, Australia’s Elite, MTBO, Past Major Carnivals, World’s elite and related.

Twitter Feed

Twitter feed is something I stumbled upon. In some ways its the engine of the social media network we are creating. There are many applications that have similar functionality, for some reason we have just ended up using this one, though others may be as good or better. It obviously can provide a twitter output but it can do quite a bit more than its name suggests. We use it to turn our RSS outputs into twitter feeds and facebook feeds. In this case, we amalgamate RSS feeds from the website (predominantly news stories), the Australian Orienteering blog, Orienteering Australia Youtube channel and soon an Orienteering Australia flickr photostream. We could use much more, but that’s what we have at this stage. A good function of twitter feed is that we can add an automated pre-text and post-text to each output, depending on what it is. So from Youtube for instance, each output has the pre-text “OrienteeringAUS vid” and the twitter output also has a “#orienteering” tag. We tend to use “OrienteeringAUS” and “orienteering” as common tags for our outputs.

The practical side

We have tried to minimise the work required to sustain these activities, so most of this is automated. There are three main types of content at present that create the whole network. With a fourth on the way.

  • A news story on the Orienteering Australia website is converted into an RSS feed, through Twitter Feed this provides an output through Twitter and Facebook. All that is required is the news story, which is normal business.
  • A Youtube clip on the Orienteering Austalia Youtube channel has a similar fate, an automated output to Twitter and Facebook. Ideally a news story is also written and the Youtube clips embeded in the new story (a very simple process) creating further social media output. The video upload to Youtube is a manual process, and we share the log-in to a few individuals. We could also just add a clip (from someone elses account) to a playlist, and create an output from that, but at present we don’t do that.
  • The Australian Orienteering Team blog is normal process but now we have automated the process so that updates go through Twitter and Facebook.
  • The last one which we have not utilised fully is Flickr. At the moment the thinking is that, in particular our WOC team, can upload images to flickr, and embed photostream slideshows on the blog. We are thinking that eventually we could encourage others to use an appropriate tag (e.g. “OrienteeringAUS” to populate automated images that rotate on to the Orienteering Australia website too. But I think we are a way from that being reality. It would be a nice feature as the Orienteering Australia website would continually have a refreshed appearance, as well as the news stories making the whole site and organisation appearing more dynamic.

Essentially we are just trying to make it easier for everyone to follow issues relating to Orienteering Australia, using whatever their . Individuals can now choose to keep up to date through looking directly at the website, subscribing to an RSS feed, following us on twitter, becoming a fan on facebook, subscribing to our Youtube channel or some other variation on the theme. Hopefully keeping everyone happy, up to date, and without creating extra workload.

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