By: Parth Shah, @shah_parth_
It's your favorite time of the week! Welcome to another edition of the Social Media Seven, where the best teams in social media come to collect their medals. Some new and familiar faces in this week's rundown, so let's get it started!
1. Cleveland Indians
To no one's surprise, the Cleveland Indians' social media team knocked it out of the park again this week, matching the team's on-field play en route to an American League Pennant and World Series appearance. Early in the week, Blue Jays OF José Bautista remarked that "circumstances" were at play that were in the Indians' favor, and insinuated that something shady was the reason that the team was winning. This suggestion clearly did not sit well with the Indians' organization and fanbase, as they set out to prove their merit. Cleveland's social media team had a field day jabbing back at Bautista's remarks, citing their talented players as circumstances, as well as asking fans what the next excuse for losing would be from north of the border. When a team actively sets out to roast you, good luck. José should've known better than to mess with the Indians. Relief ace Andrew Miller, also known as Miller Time, has been tremendous for Cleveland since being acquired from the Yankees at the trade deadline. The Indians have centered strong marketing efforts around his presence, and the use of a clock that says Miller is very clever. Finally, Cleveland's GIF game is as strong as ever, replying to many fan comments, both positive and negative, and in creating simple yet powerful designs such as the one used for being World Series bound. I've said it week in and week out, but I'll say it again: if you are looking to spice up your own social media platform, need inspiration, or just want to be entertained on a regular basis, follow the Indians on Twitter. They are some of the best in the business.
2. Philadelphia Eagles
The NFL recently put into action a new social media policy that restricts the use of certain copyrighted video content by its teams on social media, bringing about frustration across the league. With highlights being such a powerful form of content on social media, teams have had to adapt to these rules in an effort to retain some engagement in different ways. The Eagles had some fun at the league's expense this past Sunday, taking an obvious shot at the new policy by creating their own 'exclusive' highlight of an interception. While not the same as true video in any context, the animated toy model of an interception was funny and creative, something that anyone can appreciate. A jab of this nature at the NFL may only be effective once or twice, but good on the Eagles for thinking outside the box and winning fans over to their side in this battle.
3. Auburn Tigers
The GIF game for War Eagle was on strong display this weekend as they took on Arkansas. Many teams have made the shift from still image graphics to GIFs and video for big plays, including scoring. Auburn shows us that, while execution is crucial, simplicity can still be your best friend. The social media team has a package of touchdown GIFs to use, with players in different poses and the word highlighted behind. The score recap of the game is also fantastic, with the score changing in simulation of the game's chronological events. This works especially well in telling the story of the game, simply by how scoring was broken down by quarter. Yet again, simple but highly effective. I think there might be a trend...
4. Minnesota Vikings
On the other end of the spectrum, the Minnesota Vikings went all out in their creativity of content for Sam Bradford. Last weekend, the NFL on FOX crew put together a rather lazy photoshop of the QB's head onto Teddy Bridgewater's body. The Vikings' social media team decided to have some fun with this, first offering the broadcast team a photo of the QB to use for their on-air graphics (as if they didn't already have access to one). Next, they followed this up with some really fun, over-the-top photoshopped pictures of their own, including Bradford as the astronaut on the Moon. It's great to see yet another team respond on social media with some flair. Fans love when their teams take shots at others, especially when it is done in a funny way that promotes even more banter. One of the goals of social media sports is to increase engagement and conversation, and the Vikings did just that by generating tremendous attention for a mistake that, in reality, happens weekly.
5. Minnesota Wild
Staying in the state of Minnesota, the Wild also captured our attention this week with a unique marketing strategy to connect with fans. After every game, the team offers its followers an opportunity to submit their headline for the recap article. These responses are sifted through and put up for a Twitter poll vote, with the winner become the #WildHeadline for the night on the team's website. Fans are always looking for recognition from their favorite team, and this offers them a chance to become associated with the team and be featured. For the Wild, this is a very smart way to increase engagement, in terms of mentions and participation on polls. On top of this, featuring and recognizing a fan is a great way to cement brand loyalty, hopefully keeping those fans around for life and having them become even more enthusiastic about the organization, sharing their passion with others.
6. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Nebraska's social media team has also found itself a regular on the Social Media Seven in recent weeks. The Huskers' Asst. AD of Digital Media, Kelly Mosier, shared the team's strong content on Instagram's Stories platform, which is a constant work in progress. As he remarks, it is a good idea for social media teams to try and build content that goes well together and is cohesive to be shared on multiple platforms. The ability to post higher quality graphic and video also puts together a more polished package of curated content. Nebraska's iteration is a very cool step that other programs are sure to take a look at and emulate with their own spin.
7. Social Media Strategy: Fieldhouse Media
Fieldhouse Media summed up the power of social media in sports in one tweet. The ability for content to connect with fans, evoke emotion, and build loyalty is tremendous. If your social media team is not eliciting that response in fans, your content is getting lost in the shuffle. Distinguish yourself and be authentic. Give your followers a taste of emotion that keeps them coming back for more. Most of all, make your fans proud to be fans. Perfectly said, Fieldhouse.
Thanks for checking out another week of the Social Media Seven! As always, please connect with us on social media @frntofficesport and leave us your thoughts! Any other team stand out? We'd love to know!
Until next week, enjoy Michael Jordan's famous quote: "You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them."