How to build a social media audience during the stoppage in play

Chris Vasseur (right)

Chris Vasseur spent the last two seasons as the defensive coordinator for Clovis High School (Calif.). Before working at Clovis, Vasseur was the defensive coordinator for five seasons at Junipero Serra High School (Calif.). In 2017, the Padres won the 2AA CIF State Championship in California, picking up a league title, section title and regional title in the process.

Vass has built a robust following as host of the popular Make Defense Great Again podcast. Between his two Twitter accounts — @coachvass and @MDGAPodcast — Vass has almost 12,500 followers. He also has a website and Patreon account.

FNF Coaches recently connected with Vass for a Q&A focused on what coaches can be doing during the break in play to build their social media audience.

What is the benefit to having a robust social media following during this period?

“The benefit for me is I’ve been able to connect with a lot of people. There’s a lot of people who aren’t quite sure what to do right now. Being a single entity and my own company, I’m able to move at a much quicker pace. When I put together a defensive clinic, I have relationships with other coaches. I can send a DM at night and eight of the 10 will have responded by the morning. Having that reach, I’ve been able to talk to a lot of people. Coaches want to be involved. Some don’t know how. With my new venture in life, my purpose is to help coaches. I’m trying to bring people together so we don’t go crazy during this time.”

How can a coach build his audience on social media right now?

“Building an audience depends on what you want to do. I didn’t go into it looking to build an audience. I wasn’t like, ‘I’m going to build a following.’ Until last year, my Twitter was about soccer and politics. I rarely talked about football until 18 months ago. It was an escape from football because football was my life. I saw people posting and decided I wanted to be one of them. I started the podcast and people following me because of the show. I haven’t done anything to build a following.

“I was never like, ‘I want to get to 10,000 followers. Most people who follow me see what I’m doing with the show. Nobody is folliwng me to see what I’m doing in my day-to-day life or see what I had for lunch. They follow because they see I’m doing a lot of stuff, and they want to see where they can hear me next.

“Ultimately, I created the show Twitter account because I wanted a handle for the ‘stick to football’ crowd. I’m just a coach with a podcast. So, if I want to talk politics or Manchester United, I can do that from my personal account. As it transitioned into a business I’ve had to think of it in those terms.”

Do you have any advice to coaches new to Twitter on bringing in followers?

“If you want to build a following, the guys who are most successful are guys like Dan Casey (@CoachDanCasey). He explains concepts teams can use. It’s about having inside information and sharing playbook. If my goal was to boost my social media, I’d post a bunch of clips of defenses I know inside and out, and share it to be instructional.”

Why should a coach start a podcast? What does that entail?

“I think you start a podcast if you have something you want to talk about. Coaches come to me and say, ‘I want to start a podcast.’ OK, what’s your angle? ‘I don’t know.’ You better be pretty entertaining then. Necessity is the mother of all invention. I started a podcast because I went looking for a deep scheme podcast. Let’s have a three-hour conversation about Cover 1. Even if people weren’t the biggest believers at first, it exploded.

“I think doing a podcast is harder than it looks. You have to keep people entertained and engaged. The mission of what you want to talk about should lead. If you’re Jerry Seinfield, sure, you can talk about anything. The mission first is to be unique. Try new things. If it sucks, you can always delete it, I guess. It’s like the Wild West, anyone can do one. You can fail and no one will ever know. They’ll just turn the podcast off. But don’t do a podcast just to do a podcast. When I got started, I never imagined I’d generate income from this. I was having conversations I’d have anyway, and thought, ‘I might as well record them.'”

Coach Vass website:

Coach Vass podcast page:

Coach Vass Patreon:

Twitter: @coachvass

Podcast Twitter: @mdgapodcast