By: Parth Shah, @shah_parth_
Welcome to the first Sunday edition of the Social Media Seven! Every week, we will highlight the most notable tweets, posts, or social media strategies in the world of sports and how they are proving to be successful. In addition, we will bring you tips from social media professionals to help you learn and improve upon your own ideas. Thanks for joining us!
1) Detroit Red Wings & Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)
The two National Hockey League franchises had some fun, coinciding with the release of Nintendo’s Pokémon Go. Announcing the re-signing of RW Teemu Pulkkinen, the team “mistakenly” announced him as Pokémon, to the delight of the younger fans of the team. Columbus, a witty, well-run team Twitter account, chimed in, asking about Pulkkinen’s CP rating. For those who do not know, the CP rating stands for ‘combat power’, essentially how strong the Pokémon is. Harnessing current social trends is a huge strategy for social media, as it allows teams to feel more personal to its followers. You will often see many smaller market organizations utilize this strategy to seem ‘cool’, in an effort to capture younger fans.
2) Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS)
Yet another play on Pokémon Go, the Vancouver Whitecaps announced the club’s new signings in an ingenious way: through Poké ball capture. Not only does this allow the team to provide excitement to its fans with the acquisition of talent, but also to the demographic of its fan base that is more of the casual soccer fan. Fans will be anticipating the addition of these, “Pokémon” into Vancouver’s first team and starting XI.
3) Chicago Bears & Minnesota Vikings (NFL)
The Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings had some fun on Twitter this week as well. And yes, you guessed it. Seeing a trend here? The two NFL teams capitalized on the buzz of Pokémon Go while sharing playful jabs with one another. Creating a friendly-fire dialogue excites fans for the upcoming season, as well as maintaining the rivalry between the clubs. This technique can not only strengthen loyalties with the team’s fans, but also helps to keep football conversation going during the dog days of summer, where fans are looking for anything to get them excited for preseason and opening weeks.
4) Atlanta Hawks (NBA)
It’s no secret that the Atlanta Hawks’ social media team is one of the best in the business. From constant engagement with followers, tweeting relatable GIFs, and a steady flow of emojis and pop culture references, the organization has solidified its position as one of social media’s elite sports teams. We were shown another example during this week’s preseason game against the Sacramento Kings, where they finally said what many had thought - that the Kings’ new logo, upside down, resembled something out of a PacMan game. Having fun with this (it is summer league of course), the team beautifully turned this idea into a graphic, to the adoration of many. The team has done tremendously well in establishing a culture of fun, unique, personable interaction.
5) Did You Know?
Coming from Forbes Business writer Kurt Badenhausen on July 14:
“The NFL’s 32 teams have a combined 141 million followers on social media across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The tally lags Spanish soccer powerhouses Barcelona and Real Madrid, who on their own command 148 million and 146 million followers respectively.”
6) Shah’s Social Media Tip:
Be ORIGINAL. Know your limits, but be FUN. The most successful sports teams on social media are, naturally, the ones that connect most with their followers. Without engaging content, posts become just another one to skip over on a timeline or news feed. Teams must create, “strategic disturbances” or posts that break the normal scrolling rhythm of followers. This can be done with catchy graphics, emojis, GIFs, Vines, and much more. This content, when it is fun to watch or look at or simply something that is different from others, causes followers to stop and engage with it. In turn, this creates an impression on fans, while also driving traffic to the main page or website. Playing on pop culture trends is a HUGE strategy to attract fans, especially those new to the sport. Creating these personal links with followers is what keeps them coming back time and time again.
7) Discussion of the Week:
“Everything you post on social media impacts your personal brand. How do you want to be known?” – Lisa Horn
Leave us your comments or perspectives on this week’s Social Media Seven, as well as your thoughts on the discussion question. What are your strategies? Thanks for reading!