The Ultimate Guide to User-Generated Content for Baseball and Softball Coaches and Entrepreneurs | With Real Examples

February 29, 2024

46 min read

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User Generated Content Baseball Softball Coaches B P064

As a Baseball or Softball Coach, you have a passion for sharing your hard-earned experience and knowledge with ballplayers looking to grow as both athletes and as people. 

In growing your own company or personal brand, this sincere passion must be translated from the ballfields and batting cages into the digital realm. 

One of the absolute best ways a coach can accomplish this translation is through user-generated content. 

The textbook definition of user-generated content, most commonly abbreviated as “UGC,” is any image, video, or written text published online or on social media about you or your brand that was created by independent individuals who are not a part of your brand.

Let's dive in. 

What Is User-Generated Content?

Put even more simply, user-generated content, or UGC, is content created by actual people and not brands or companies. 

User-generated content often acts as social proof, which encourages other potential customers or clients that you or your brand are in-demand and worth investing time, energy, and money into. 

Brands of all shapes and sizes regularly share user-generated content on their social media accounts, websites, or any other marketing channel they have at their disposal, because it is so effective. 

Again, this content can be created and delivered in the form of plain text, video, pictures, GIFs, testimonials and so on – the possibilities are endless, but as long as it is generated by an individual person, it falls under the user-generated content category.

70% of people say that online reviews are their second-most trusted source and 92% trust a recommendation from another person more than branded content.

So this UGC stuff is well-worth taking very seriously. 

Most brands use user-generated content as a convenient, easy to employ, and undoubtedly effective marketing tool on social media. 

Social platforms allow users to easily create and share posts that will expose your brand and products to a wider range of people and varying audiences.

Ugc Example Posted Atfullerhitting Student Atlefty Left 7 B P064
A wonderful UGC example posted for @fullerhitting by his student @lefty_left_7.

How To Choose the Best Social Media For Your Baseball or Softball Brand

Successful and consistent interaction plays a massive role in facilitating sales and client referrals. 

Customers have proved to be about 70% more likely to go forward with buying a service or product from an individual or a company if they have first had one solid and competent interaction with them. 

🔑 Key Insight: Interestingly, social proof provided by other ballplayers or parents – people who the potential client or customer does not know personally, but that reminds them of themselves and their situation – can be powerful enough to act as that first interaction in the mind of your future clients. 

As such, enjoyable interactions and the digital sharing of such interactions go a long way into improving your brand's reputation and the consistency of your social media growth.

Gaining access to user-generated content for your brand or service isn't that complicated – especially for baseball and softball private instructors. 

If a client shares something online that features you acting in your role as coach, you have already participated in the first step of employing UGC. 

The next step is getting that content posted to your own social media profiles.

But which social platforms are worth your limited time and energy these days, and why?

UGC on Instagram

Instagram is a go-to platform for almost any consumer brand using user-generated content, as it is tailor-made to share pictures and videos as social proof and offers robust tagging abilities that make sharing UGC incredibly easy.

Ugc Example Atjustdigincorp B P064
Example from @justdigincorp

Nearly all of your potential in-person students are on and actively engaging with Instagram, which allows you to bridge the gap, as their mentor, from your instructing offline lessons to continuing to impact them with your online wisdom and messaging. 

Also, Instagram is a terrific place to both offer, and post clips of, your online remote lessons. 

Your Instagram page is a natural extension of your SeamsUp instructor profile, for example, letting potential and current online clients better know you, your beliefs, and teaching styles.

In fact, most parents who have sons or daughters within the lesson receiving age range – approximately 6-18 years of age – are also very active on Instagram. 

The typical age range for parents looking to purchase lessons for their ballplayer is 25-45 years of age. 

📊 Study Conclusion: According to the Pew Research Center, 75% of all US adults aged 18-24 use Instagram, while 57% of adults age 25-29 use the platform, and finally, 47% of adults age 30-49 use the platform. 

However, before you think you’re missing out on almost half the US adult population by putting all your social media eggs – time and energy – into the Instagram basket, it’s essential to know two things:

  • These percentages are increasing in your target age range every year
  • It’s still possible to grow a large and very engaged audience on Instagram organically – i.e. without paying for it. 

Unfortunately, on other social media platforms, as we’ll discuss in our brief detour on Facebook below, this organic potential is not always there. 

Secondly, sports parents who are on Instagram are especially engaged and invested with the platform. 

Such parents are known to post clips of their son or daughter or soak up tips and bits of advice from your feed, Stories, or Reels educational content.

Your Stories and Feed, in particular, are perfect places to post your user-generated content, and Instagram’s robust tagging and hashtag systems make it a breeze for the parents of clients to share such content with you. 

Even though we focused on private instructors above, UGC is equally important to all sorts of entrepreneurs and companies in the baseball and softball industry – and the same audience insights and percentages do apply to most in our space. 

Wanna grow your baseball or softball coaching brand?

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UGC on TikTok

Founded in 2016, TikTok has had a meteoric rise, providing a wealth of content, entertainment, and information for over 1 billion monthly active users today.

And according to a recent industry report by Sensor Tower, TikTok is both the most downloaded and highest revenue-grossing app in the world as of 2022.

This platform may have started out as something distracting your young ballplayers from practicing, but now it’s also distracting their parents – and influencing the buying decisions of both.   

As of this year, according to Statista:

24 percent of TikTok's global audience were women between the ages of 18 and 24 years, while male users of the same age made up approximately 18 percent of the platform's audience. [It] was further composed of 17 percent female users aged between 25 and 34 years, and 14 percent of male users in the same age group.
Distribution Tiktok Users United States B P064
Data by Statista

And those young Gen Z ballplayers you work with? Well, researchers have shown that more of them are using TikTok than Instagram these days.

And if you’ve been in this industry long enough, you know that today’s ballplayer’s become tomorrow’s baseball and softball parents in the blink of an eye.  

As controversial as the platform is for many Americans – and it’s plenty controversial – the reality is that your baseball or softball brand can seriously benefit from establishing a presence on TikTok. 

Though, as we stated above, it’s still possible to grow your Instagram account organically these days, no other social media platform offers the current opportunity for organic growth that you’ll find on TikTok – and it’s not even close. 

But don’t worry, coach. It’s not just goofy dances anymore. 

It’s now a place for all types of bite-sized educational content that passes your knowledge of the game to the next generation.  

And, luckily, all the same strategies and tactics in this ultimate guide to UGC will apply to your TikTok.

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UGC on Facebook

Facebook was the previous social media platform king for baseball and softball entrepreneurs looking to grow an audience and convert thumbs-up-likes into leads and, finally, into clients or customers. 

Let’s explore why this might have changed, because it’s important as a case study for how dynamic marketing in our industry and beyond can be.

And, also, because we have a secret agenda with this section, which we’ll reveal below. 

Another quote from Statista tells part of the Facebook story: 

Social media juggernaut Facebook has a 69 percent [US adult] population reach. Whereas Facebook and Snapchat usage are projected to either decline or stagnate, Instagram user engagement is estimated to increase from 26 to 29 minutes per day.
Percentage of U.S. adults who use Instagram as of February 2021, by age group

Facebook hosts way more of the US adult population as users than Instagram, but the actual user engagement on the platform is officially in decline.

📊 Study Conclusion: According to 2022 research by Insider Intelligence, Instagram's US user base will increase by 4.0% this year to 128.3 million, while Facebook's will decline by 0.8% to 178.3 million.
Us Instagram Users 2019 2026 B P064

However, the other part of the story is that back in 2018 Facebook completely changed how its algorithm works. 

An algorithm is just a fancy word for a set of rules and calculations that work together to create an overall result. 

In the case of the 2018 change, that result was an extreme shift to fostering more user interactions with friends and families and much less with brands of any sort. 

It is often stated that as a personal or company brand you can now only hope to reach a maximum of 10% of the total audience you might have built on Facebook with each new organic post. 

This, of course, severely stunts your ability to provide value to any audience you might have built on Facebook, which is why marketers have had a consistent exodus from Facebook over the past few years. 

This algorithm not only changed the visibility of your posts, but it also shaped how even the 10% of users who might see your content behave on the platform. 

Users who are within your target age demographic are more focused on interacting with their friends and family and will often look to Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and, now, TikTok for their baseball or softball educational content. 

Specific to the purposes of this guide, parents and players are also less likely to share user-generated content in a way that’s helpful to your brand on Facebook. 

It’s even more challenging if you are just starting to grow your personal coaching brand, as 10% of 200 page likes is a very small number of eyeballs on your organic posts. 

Growing on Facebook these days is often exclusively “play-to-play” – meaning you must pay for ads or boost existing posts in order to gain traction on a new page. 

It should also be mentioned that it’s a “maximum” of 10% organic reach on Facebook.

Many brands and companies have anecdotally described far less than 10% of their audiences being exposed to their organic posts on a regular basis.  

However, all is not lost on Facebook. 

Firstly, it offers arguably the most powerful and optimized ads platform in the world, called Facebook Ads Manager. 

You can use this ads platform to run either Facebook ads, Instagram ads, or both, as a way of significantly growing your company’s brand, or your in-person or online remote clients base. 

Even though “how to use Facebook ads Manager and strategies for doing so effectively” is way outside the scope of this current guide, there are near-infinite tutorials and resources on this topic online if you’re interested. 

This YouTube channel by Ben Heath is not a bad place to start for solopreneurs and local business owners. 

Of course, most coaches and solopreneurs are not going to have giant ad budgets to use and scale like large companies do, so does that mean Facebook is always a waste of time for us?

The answer is a definitive no. 

There is one other feature that Facebook offers that is a great tool for dedicated entrepreneurs to try: Facebook Groups

In fact, for the most part, this entire detour from Instagram best practices is to tell you to seriously consider utilizing Facebook Groups on top of your Instagram strategy. 

Facebook hosts a large community filled with Baseball and Softball lovers – including the parents of potential clients – collected into Facebook Groups.

So getting into the habit of joining some of them and posting regularly in these groups can give you a solid boost in Instagram page performance and help you enter the industry conversation quickly.

In these groups, you can offer your coaching expertise to questions that parents or other coaches ask, which will establish you as an expert and grow organic interest in your Facebook page and your connected Instagram account – while also truly helping our community. 

It’s best to keep the self-promotion of services and products to a minimum in these groups, especially in the beginning. 

But it’s very possible to find a steady stream of in-person and remote clientele just by being active in such groups or by creating your own groups. 

If you post an educational, personal, or generally insightful comment within a baseball or softball centric group, it will inspire fellow group members to take a look at your Facebook and Instagram pages. 

And some needle-moving percentage of those folks will consider giving you a call for in-person lessons or seeking you out on a remote lesson platform. 

🧢 Pro Tip: Be sure to take note of the specific questions from parents that you find posted in Facebook Groups. These parent questions will quickly become another steady source of great ideas to address in your Instagram and TikTok content. 

Okay, detour over – back to user generated content more generally.

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Why Use User-Generated Content for Baseball and Softball

At this point you might be asking yourself, why should user-generated content be a cornerstone of my social media strategy and tactics?

Well, there are a lot of major benefits to user-generated content that you should not miss out on. 

We’ll address a few of these below.  

Authenticity

Remember the last time you visited a profile on, say Instagram, and saw that it only had posted all about itself, from itself? 

That phrasing is awkward – so is this type of Instagram profile when it’s done by a baseball or softball coach.  

These posts would go on and on about how that specific person or company is the best at what they do, and give lots of advice on technique, usually along with inspirational quotes. 

These types of content strategies are useful for establishing your authority and expertise in the space, but significantly less useful if your goal is acquiring in-person or online lesson clientele.

The same is true for physical product customers, training facilities, and online courses, but we’ll stick with the example of a private instructor just for simplicity.  

Anyone can get online and create a few images and share their own – or, sadly, Googled – opinions on technique or mindset to enact this awkward strategy.

But how on earth do the parents of prospective clients know that you are an authentic coach who’s getting the best out of your current students? 

They don’t.

Well, once you incorporate user-generated content into the exact same profile, you’d notice a difference in both the amount and quality of your lesson leads. 

User content contributed by real people, real clients, who are truly happy with a brand or service, i.e. your lessons, are inherently authentic.

If you see an image of an extremely happy kid who, after months of training with his baseball coach, is finally finding consistent success out on the ballfield, the second you look into his eyes you will know that that is an authentic smile and that his coach has been doing an awesome job. 

This adds a whole new dimension to the service and your profile as a whole, and will gain you a lot more actual customers in the long run – as you’ll have legitimate images that tout legitimate progress for future clients to check out. 

🔑 Key Insight: Social proof from your actual clients is likely the single most important thing to include on your coaching social media profiles – if your goal is more private lesson revenue.

But, again, this assertion applies in the same way to just about any product or service on the planet. 

By all means, establish your expert status through swing or pitch breakdowns, and thoughtful insights on the game’s hot topics. 

But never make the mistake of neglecting the immense power of user-generated content to really move the needle on both client acquisition and retention – keeping your clients long-term.

Example Atcrucibleperformance B P064
Example from @crucibleperformance

Client Retention

Why retention, you might ask?

Because when a client – or customer of your physical products – sends you, or tags you in, a post that they have generated, they are actually making a firmer internal and external commitment to you and your brand. 

To quote psychologist, professor, and business marketing expert Robert Cialdini’s very famous book, Influence: Science and Practice

Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressure to behave consistently with that commitment. Those pressures will cause us to respond in ways that justify our earlier decision. 
Robert Cialdini, Influence: Science and Practice

When a client or customer posts and shares content about your services, this content will be seen by their own friends and family and by all of your social media audience.

This fact means that they will feel tremendous external pressure from these people to stand by this recommendation of your great coaching almost forever. 

And, by making the conscious, personal decision to post something positive about your coaching or other products, they will also feel further internal pressure to remain consistent. 

🔑 Key Insight: If you either inspire or actively encourage authentic user-generated content, not only will such content prompt future clients, but it will strongly influence each currently posting client to continue working with you regularly.

In his book, Cialdini wisely asserts that once you know how these marketing mechanisms actually work, this knowledge can be used either for bad or for the greater good. 

We echo his important message. 

First and foremost, do everything you can to have a positive impact on the skills and life of your ballplayers by employing all of the tenants of a great mentor. 

If you truly follow this maxim in your actions, then employing UGC will only mean that you will be able to have that positive impact longer on the posting client and be able to reach more new clients – earning you a positive net impact on more lives.

Atcoachkiki Softball Tiktok B P064
@coachkiki_softball showcasing the awesome job she does with her young students.

Trust

Reviews have fundamentally changed how we view and perceive the places we visit, the service people we interact with, and everything we do in the digital era.

For example, every single vacation trip we have all planned within the last few years was based on reviews we’ve found online – or, maybe, some word-of-mouth recommendations from trusted sources. 

Both are types of reviews. 

If you go on a trip, chances are you might be looking for a hotel.

Once you find a hotel or vacation home with a suitable price point on platforms such as Booking.com or Airbnb, you are disproportionately likely to spend a few more minutes reading the experience of the past guests within that hotel, ranging from what the food is like to how fast the internet connection is.

Images usually accompany these reviews, and if they are suitable to your expectations and overall positive in nature, you gain a level of trust in that hotel or Airbnb host and quickly book a room. 

Then, you use the reviews and listicles on sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor to help you plan where to eat and what to do throughout your entire trip once there.

The same principles apply within the baseball and softball coaching business. 

If numerous other people mention your brand or profile on the given social platform, and there is user-generated content to back up your own claims and show that you are highly competent, people will inevitably find those images and reviews. 

After reading them, they will make an educated decision to give you a call to meet in person or to book you for an online lesson. 

Of course, online listing and marketplace sites like SeamsUp also collect and showcase reviews of your services for you on autopilot.

And we devote serious technical SEO know-how and paid resources toward ensuring that you and your lesson offerings are found by parents and ballplayers searching looking for instructional help on Google and other search engines. 

See why SeamsUp's the #1 app for baseball & softball businesses

Download the free app

Decision-Making Through Stories

When it comes to making a decision towards purchasing a certain product or service, nowadays, the average consumer needs some convincing.

This is usually done through looking at a real-world example of the product or service, so they know exactly what they are getting.

Flashy stock images and good marketing chops are no longer good enough.

Instagram, specifically, as a platform, features powerful tools such as Stories and account Highlights that are perfect for leveraging UGC.

Stories allow you to share content on a regular basis instantly, which people can access and view quickly and efficiently, pushing your services in front of their eyes and grabbing their attention.

Then, the Highlights tab allows you to immortalize those Stories, so they can be viewed at any time.

Imagine having a well-built profile with 20-30 Stories put into a Highlight called something like “Clients” or “Student Successes.” 

And imagine that this Highlight shows you working with different students or showcases your in-person and online clients’ actual improvements and achievements. 

It will look professional, and it will make you stand out as a competent and disciplined coach ready to tackle any student who decides to hire you.

Example Atjdbaseballtraining B P064
A great example by @jdbaseballtraining

Save Time

If you encourage people to create user-generated content, you can save time on having to create custom content constantly. 

Adding in UGC to your content mix is a welcomed break for all perpetually overwhelmed entrepreneurs and businesses on social media.  

This is just yet another, very ancillary, reason UGC is such a great content strategy. 

Coaches, Tell Your Clients What Kind of Content You Want

Let’s take this common scenario: 

You’re posting a lot of creative and innovative content, but not receiving any user-generated content from your customers or clients.

So you might be asking yourself why? Am I doing something wrong?

Well, the truth is, if you do not specifically ask your audience to create user-generated content, through a cool or catchy competition or maybe an event, chances are that they just won’t. 

For private and group instructors this can also just be as simple as asking the mom, dad, or sibling who took a photo or video before, during, or after your hitting lesson to please tag you if they are planning on posting it. 

If you’re doing in-person lessons in the current year, you know that at some point one of these people in support of the student will film or photograph your lesson – as long as you have no established rules to the contrary. 

So this super small ask that can have a big effect on your business, especially when you multiply it by all of your current clients. 

For in-person and remote private lesson parents who you have already built a solid and trusting relationship with, you can even consider asking them to please take, post, and tag you in a quick video or photo. 

After, of course, explaining to them how immensely helpful it is to grow your client base and allow you to continue doing lessons. 

No parent we know will say no when faced with this clear and honest request – assuming you’re giving awesome lessons to their child.  

And as your social media audience grows, you can request ever more specific UGC that fits with your brand or known specialty. 

For example, if you’re a catching instructor, you can ask for videos of followers or actual students doing the blocking drill progressions you teach. 

Or, if you’re a pitching coach, you can ask followers and students to send you, or tag you in, videos of them striking a batter out for the chance to be featured on your page. 

If your page has a very unique or specific aesthetic that matches your brand, you may be hesitant to ask for and post user generated content.

If you have this concern at all, there are easy fixes to this problem on Instagram at least.

You can just post UGC only on your Stories, which disappear within 24 hours, so your main feed’s aesthetic will be maintained. 

And if you are even strict about what your Stories look like or if you really want the UGC posted to your highly designed feed, you can always add custom, on-brand touches to the content to make it fit better. 

This can be as simple as filters, text, stickers, or graphics or as complicated as using beginner-friendly applications like Impresso or Canva to fully customize the background and presentation of each piece of user-generated social proof. 

But this specific aesthetic stuff is really just for Instagram, if it's anywhere, these days.

Consumers across social media platforms have learned to trust more authentic-looking content over stuff that looks too studio-produced. 

TikTok, for example,  prizes and rewards unpolished and authentic-looking content. So posting your clients or customers’ UGC, regardless of quality, should be a given.

Atcoachdarnellmaisonet Tiktok B P064
@coachdarnellmaisonet does a great job showcasing his actual clients while teaching universal concepts about hitting.

UGC Best Practices for Coaching Brands and Entrepreneurs

Now that you’re hopefully convinced how powerful an asset user-generated content is for your brand and business, let’s set some ground rules. 

To make the most of your UGC efforts and avoid potential pitfalls, follow these best practices to the letter.  

1. Ask Permission

You should always ask for permission before posting user-generated content on your own profile or on your company profile. 

This is obvious with in-person lessons but should also be observed for when the athlete or their parents know you only through social media. 

By asking them if you can use their content, you are not only interacting with them, which makes them feel more appreciated and special, but you are also establishing a working relationship with them.

This relationship may mean that they’ll be enticed to make even more user-generated content for your specific brand or service in the future, as you are demonstrating to them that you respect their time and effort.

2. Credit the Creator

Related to asking permission is remembering to always credit the creator who grants it.

Not only does this make the content seem more authentic, but it makes the creator excited for any future projects you might engage in together.

Always ask for permission, and always ask the creator how they would like to be credited throughout different social media platforms. 

Proper crediting will inform all other viewers and followers of your brand or services that they are truly made by unique people with no direct shared incentive with you like co-workers might have, and that the content itself is legitimate.

3. Learn from the Content

User-generated content is an excellent showcase of how people honestly look at your services and brand as a whole.

So, through self-reflective analysis of this content, you can find out what holes you have in your marketing or coaching style, and continue to improve them in the future.

🔑 Key Insight: Pay close attention to the way others choose to showcase and present your services throughout their user-generated content. These choices are a shiny mirror portraying how people perceive your brand and services as a whole.

The language clients and customers use to describe you, or your brand, can be especially powerful. 

The most unique and attention-grabbing descriptions you come across are often worth re-using on your website, social media bios, or remote lessons app profiles. 

Professional copywriters in the world’s top companies use this exact tactic to decide how to describe their products across all mediums.  

The language that your clients and customers use when speaking about you is more valuable than the expensive focus groups of fortune 500 companies. 

Ugc Language Atprestonchasebaseball Atraised Baseball Athoover Fitness32nutrition Mnmamaral97 B P064
Examples of great UGC language by @prestonchasebaseball@raised_in_baseball@hoover_fitness32nutrition, and mnmamaral97.

4. Build a Content Library

Create a content library of all of this user-generated content. 

Make sure that you have a system in place for collecting and saving UGC – even those you just put up on your Stories for 24-hours. 

Why?

Because you might want to repurpose this user-generated content onto your future website, whatever the next hot social media platform to take over the world is, or on your public SeamsUp gallery for potential clients to see. 

Wrapping Up Our Guide To User-Generated Content for Baseball and Softball

To summarize, user-generated content can bring a lot to the table when it comes to growing your social media presence and increasing the level of trust, brand reputation, and engagement you receive online.

It can fundamentally make or break your profile’s growth, especially if making lesson revenue is the goal of your account. 

And it plays a huge role in the way people interact with you and your brand as a whole.

Ideally, you want as much user-generated content as you can stir up, because you are engaging, connecting, and appreciating your audience and user base in a way that makes them feel respected and special. 

This ensures that they are always excited for more and will continue to follow your brand just to see what the next big thing is. 

Wanna grow your baseball or softball coaching brand?

Get connected to new local and online lesson clients—along with all the tools you need to scale.

Download the free app

About the Author

Mike Rogers

Co-Founder & CEO

Mike Rogers has spent a lifetime entrenched in baseball and softball as a player, a private instructor, a training facility owner, and the son of two college-level coaches.

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