By: Parth Shah, @shah_parth_
Welcome back for another edition of the Social Media Seven, highlighting the best of the best in the world of social media sports. We hope you brought your sneakers, because we're about to hit the ground running:
1. Sacramento Kings
The Kings' social media team had some fun this week, with the NBA season tipping off and the organization getting its first win in what they hope to be a successful season in a new arena. The Suns had been promoting the season opener on their end as well, including one unique phone wallpaper with Devin Booker holding a text from the Suns. After defeating Phoenix in its first game, the Kings spun that image around, photoshopping an 'L' in between Booker's hands. This kind of funny banter may not seem substantial, but it actually goes a long way in growing brand loyalty. Fans are more likely to relate to teams that are authentic, funny, and unpredictable at times; this is what gets you the follow! The Kings did a great job capitalizing on popular culture (taking the L). The video team also put together a very nice time lapse compilation of the arena being set up for the opener, something that is underdone in social media. We see many locker room, warm-up, and other videos, but not many in terms of staff setting up a stadium or arena. Cool to see from the Kings, especially with the opening of their new, state-of-the-art Golden 1 Center!
2. Miami Dolphins & Cleveland Browns
Thanks to Jessica Smith, who shared clips of both the Miami Dolphins' and Cleveland Browns' Instagram story iterations this week. As the platform evolves and teams find their identities on Instagram, it is fascinating to see which directions teams go in with the Stories feature. The Dolphins went straight promotional, highlighting the matchup and how to watch. This is simple, yet powerful as it is bold while not overwhelming followers with complexity and information. Often times, information overload causes a marketing message to become lost, thus rendered ineffective. Credit to the 'Fins for not getting overly complicated with what they wanted to execute. The Browns on the other hand went the storytelling route on Stories, providing fans some background on their matchup with the Jets and presenting a highlight from the past. This offers followers context to the past and future, while teaching newer fans of the team a part of the Browns' history. To build a fanbase that is knowledgeable, providing nuggets of information as such is crucial. Very cool use of the Instagram feature by Cleveland. What will be the next thing that a team rolls out for Stories?
3. Philadelphia Union
The MLS Cup Playoffs are in full swing, with the knockout round on Thursday seeing four teams end their postseason run early. One of these clubs, the Philadelphia Union, did well on social this week, putting together some beautiful promo videos aligning with their #GoldBlooded campaign. Hype videos have become the norm in social media, and putting together a distinct, quality product is getting tougher and tougher with so much content being produced. Philadelphia did really well in capturing the theme of their mission and drive, and connecting with the fanbase and city that it represents. This is the biggest key. Finding that connection that allows your fans to feel proud about the organization and brand. The Union's lineup introduction was also very sharp, and a deviation from the GIF or graphic model that many teams use. Look out for more teams to incorporate videos into announcing starting lineups on social sooner rather than later.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
The social media community was up in arms this week with news that Twitter was discontinuing its service of the popular video-looping service Vine. With this era coming to an abrupt close, many creators, influencers, and fans will feel the effects of a void in the creation sector. Sports teams will also feel the impact, as many social teams utilize Vine for highlight loops, press clips, and more. To honor the fallen platform, #RIPVine began trending on Twitter, as fans began to reminisce on their favorite Vines of all-time. The Cavaliers were one of many teams to jump in on this trend, and luckily they have some guy named LeBron James to reference. One of the more popular Vines in recent memory is of a child saying the All-Star's name in a funny accent, and the team took the opportunity to showcase it. A great option that cross-promotes a pop culture trend, a superstar athlete, and the Cavaliers brand. This kind of integration into trending topics is highly important on social, as they often bring about significant interaction and engagement. May this Vine live on for years to come.
5. Wisconsin Badgers & Nebraska Cornhuskers
In one of the better exchanges on social media this season, the Badgers and Huskers proved that the course of a matchup is longer than the duration of the game itself, and that everyone loves good banter. Both programs had some fun with the other, taking subtle shots at the other and generating anticipation between the two schools in a huge, top-15 showdown on Saturday. Interactions as such not only allow each school to promote the game in a fun way, but also allow fans to continue the chatter on and off social media. The purpose of on-social banter is to facilitate discussion between followers and rivals, and ultimately promote a quality matchup and grow viewership. It's always good to have fun.
6. NBA, Snapchat, Bitmoji
As the NBA season tipped off this week, the league continued to expand its reach to the younger generation, growing its partnership with Snapchat and teaming up with Bitmoji. The league aims to curate a strong presence on Snapchat, the fastest growing social media platform amongst millennials. The NFL already offers a Snapchat story for their action, and the NBA wants to match and surpass this strategy, offering cool perspectives into arenas and locker rooms for fans to remain engaged. It will be interesting to see how the NBA utilizes the story to market its marquee games as well as cross-promote different campaigns it supports. Bitmoji, which is partnered and integrated within Snapchat, now offers the option for fans to customize themselves with their favorite NBA team, another avenue for teams to build brand loyalty and increasing visibility.
7. NBA, Twitter Hashflags
Staying with the NBA, the league also released its hashflag partnership with Twitter, similar to the NFL's campaign at the beginning of its season. Allowing fans an opportunity to brand their personal content with their favorite team's logo and tagline is powerful. The NFL has already seen this prove to be successful, as engagement with fans has increased sharply this season. Fans are huge, well, 'fans' of the emoji that appears after hashtags, therefore tweeting more and increasing visibility of the brand. This empowers fans to become grassroot marketers for teams inadvertently, as promoting and sharing their pride of a team spreads. Hashflags are becoming an increasingly popular option - and for good reason! They look great.
Thanks for reading this week's edition of the Social Media Seven! We hope you enjoyed it and look forward to having you back next week! Until then, enjoy a quote from the great John Wooden:
"Make each day your masterpiece."