Paul Shaw, Royal Liverpool Golf Club’s social media guru, discusses digital plans for the 2014 Open Championship
In the lead-up to our 12th Open Championship, we’re keen to tell people our backstory. Perhaps the greatest and most popular moment was Bobby Jones’ win in 1930 en route to the Grand Slam.
But we won’t just be focusing on history, we’ll also be familiarising people with the course. One of the things we’ve done is create a hashtag with Hoylake and the respective hole names (e.g. #HoylakeAlps). Doing that puts the tweet into our website on the relevant hole-by-hole page. People can put their own photographs up so others can view them on the web, too. It’s not just our content that we want to see up there – we’d like to see what other people have been doing and their views. That’s really important to us.
We’ve also created the hashtag #OpenCountdown on Facebook and Twitter, which adds to a blog page on our website, allowing us to tell people what’s happening in the build-up. It gives you the chance to keep an eye on progress, see the first players starting to arrive, etc. As we approach the Open, we’ll also be doing a 2006 hashtag, so you can post pictures of the 2006 event. I think that will be really exciting and whet the appetite for what’s to come.
Behind the scenes
It makes a big difference when the Open tweets something from the golf club, and it’s been very helpful with that. But it’s never been about building numbers, we just want to ensure that in the lead-up to the championship people know about the Twitter page and allow us to be part of their conversations, so we can see what they’re saying and interact.
During the tournament, I won’t be photographing in the same way as I normally would, I’ll probably be doing more things from behind the scenes. We’ll be active the whole time and trying to pick up the best of what’s happening on the course and behind the scenes. We want to hear what people have got to say, and we’ll be doing our best to be involved. To some extent, I’m trying not to plan too much as you need to react to what happens on the day, but we’ll be where we’re needed and where we can be involved to generate the best engagement and reaction.
In addition, we want to see people stick with us afterwards. We want them to come and visit us, play the course and tell us what they think of it. Bernard Darwin once said, “The links of Hoylake belongs primarily, of course, to the Royal Liverpool Golf Club,
but it also belongs to the world of golf.” That’s the way we see it. We’d like to welcome people and keep them interested during the Open and beyond.
Twitter watch: Three to keep an eye on…
@The_Open The official Open Championship Twitter account will be brimming
with news, photos and live updates throughout the event.
@GolfMonthly The Golf Monthly editorial team will be heading to Hoylake en masse. Follow us for behind-the-scenes info and pictures, analysis, competitions and more.
@MrDanWalker The BBC Golf presenter – who has amassed a substantial following on the social network – is an amusing tweeter. Well worth a follow.