Friday, October 31, 2014

Just in From the Lab: The Fan Insight and Media Kit Dashboards

Attention all social media managers the team here at Blinkfire would like to give you something we think will take your social media analysis to the next level: introducing our new Fan Insights and Media Kit dashboards.

With our latest features, measuring the reach and effectiveness of your team’s social media has become just that much easier. Our Fan Insights report analyzes your audience by the numbers. First off, it tracks how many followers your team has and gains on all social channels. It also includes our cherished Most Valuable Followers stats, showing you who your most influential fans are and where in the world they’re engaging your content. OK, pretty standard stuff you might say. However, that’s only the beginning.

We’ve also developed post metrics, a tool that tracks your social activity and the rate at which followers are interacting with your content. All that data is presented on an easy-to-follow chart you can reference when restructuring your team’s social strategy.

But we’re not done yet. So now you’ve got a glimpse into Fan Insights, but our Media Kit does something a little different. On this dashboard, you can view your audience size and its relative growth over each channel, helping your sponsorship team gather details for a new brand deal.

We can show you on which channels you might get more bang for your buck by providing you the hard numbers behind the average engagement within your platforms. There’s a nifty little box that compares Game Day growth and engagement to the days when your team is taking a break. We can even look into the future (spooky, I know) and tell you how far your reach can go based on the possible impressions of each post, breaking things down by channel and content type (text, image, video).

And of course, all of this data is presented through visuals, making it easier to see areas for improvement and on which platform your strategy succeeds best. In addition, you’ll be able to save these reports as PDFs, email them to colleagues and schedule a monthly report to be delivered to your inbox.  Claim your team today and start your free 30 day trial.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Top Five Social Media Tips for Sports Teams

So you’re one of the top teams in your league with an historic fan base and broad support at every game, but your social following doesn't quite reflect your filled seats? Perhaps it’s time to breathe some life into your social media strategy. The gurus here at Blinkfire have some tips to guide your team to the top of our league comparisons.

Let’s put it in terms that make it digestible. For starters, social media is kind of like sports. It’s not about the quantity of posts, or say the amount of players on any given team, but the quality of each tweet or video, much like the skill of an athlete. There are so many great examples out there already in the sports media world, that we thought we’d use these teams to drive our points home. The following are our top five social media practices built off some real-life examples from teams that are doing it right.

1. Solicit User-Generated Content on Your Team’s Social Channels

Source: Blackhawks Facebook page

That’s a fancy way of saying use what your fans give you. They’re your fans and they want you to notice them. The Chicago Blackhawks have more than three million followers and likes between Twitter and Facebook. The team constantly favorites fan photos and offers exclusive content on its feeds. These tactics, in addition to creating official team hashtags for a series or game, which so many brands already do fairly well, is great. But instead of simply retweeting that adorable picture of a baby decked out in your team’s gear, make great photos like this your own. Ask for permission to use the photo (chances are they’ll be thrilled!) and repurpose it. Make a collage where you call out the best photos of the game. And don’t feel that a prize needs to be involved  your devotees crave recognition. User-generated content further extends a team’s reach to fans, allowing them to feel a bigger part of the community and not like they’re shouting into the void.

2. Start a Collection

Something we touched on just last week, collections are an excellent way to rally support around a particular series or game. Simply by selecting the content you want to be shared on a unique timeline, you give fans access to the precise information they’re looking for without having to sort through the entire team feed. The San Francisco Giants demonstrated the benefits of collections during their playoff success this year. Users can subscribe to a particular event, which has been curated by the team to document the story in whichever way it chooses. Plus, collections have unique URLs and don’t disappear after the game is over, allowing that timeline to serve as an archive of past accomplishments.

3. Gamify Your Content

Source: Facebook Apps
Your fans only craving love and attention is one thing, but let’s not forget you’re appealing to sports fanatics. Who loves the spirit of competition more? So when a prize is involved, there’s another great way to capitalize on your social following. The Boston Celtics have done this well for a long time. Back in 2009, the team created an interactive Facebook application, the Celtics 3-Point Play, in which users competed against their friends to accurately predict their favorite players’ stats at the end of each real-life game. This gives fans an entertaining way to engage with your team’s content and those closest to them, and allows the team enough access to gather fan information for future marketing campaigns. On top of this, the Celtics in-arena experience mimics the game atmosphere by offering prizes and rewards to people who participate in social media competitions during break periods. These small rewards drive engagement with the team and also bring that closer-than-family feeling in a virtual setting.

4. Add Multimedia Appeal

Drive more engagement by creating videos that add substance to your feed and can really amaze the viewer. Have you seen the thought-to-be-impossible feats strung together by the geniuses behind the San Francisco 49ersVine account? Their team demonstrated that your visual content doesn't need to constantly replay highlights. Truly creative clips promote your team in distinct ways and allow people to imagine themselves in your brand. Making use of shorter, constantly-looping videos induces users to stay on your page a bit longer and interact with your content more. We all know people are drawn to visual medium, so take advantage of it. The proof is in the logic-defying examples displayed by the self-proclaimed #FortyViners.


5. Create a Command Center

Now before you think this might be taking it to extremes, just look at the very first digital media hub in college athletics: the Quack Cave. Having a physical space where social media is objective number one means utmost devotion to upping your social media. It allows you to organize all our previously stated tips under one roof. The Oregon Ducks have one of the best followings in college sports, with more than 925,000 followers and likes on Twitter and Facebook combined. Oregon borrowed the idea from the New Jersey Devils, who expanded their own network by establishing Mission Control, the original command center run by a selected group of the Devils’ top fans. A watchful social media troupe tracking all retweets, tags and updates allows your team to never miss the opportunity to expand its network and grow your fan base. Even the Quack Cave has developed a following of its own, which goes to show if you’re willing to double down and invest, it can pay off big online.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The San Francisco Giants Won Big On the Field and In Social During Game One of the World Series

After the World Series opener yesterday, fans across the web searched social media for highlights, replays and reactions. In the process, the San Francisco Giants gained nearly 2,500 new Twitter followers along with their exclamatory victory over the Kansas City Royals.

But it isn’t just their knack for documenting baseball in 140 characters or less that puts San Francisco ahead of other teams online currently claiming the fourth biggest following in the MLB, compared to the Royals’ 16th ranking. It’s how they build an easy-to-follow timeline of hand-picked tweets from the day’s action.

Their third World Series in five years, the Giants understand the best way to reach fans and potential followers is organization. San Francisco selected the best tweets from players and fans throughout the playoffs and ordered them into a unique timeline using Twitter’s Collections tool. Why bother?

With collections, which launched last November, custom timelines offer teams a chance to control and curate an unbelievable moment. Take, for example, Travis Ishikawa’s walk-off homerun to clinch the NLDS.

After Ishikawa’s swing reclaimed the pennant, the Giants’ follower base jumped by more than 3,000. In just one instant, San Francisco’s follower growth almost doubled the increase from the three previous three days combined.

Collections take fandom to the next level. And makes it so easy, too. All you have to do is select a source, like a hashtag, apply a filter or use Blinkfire's presets, and users will have access to a particular event (may I propose, the World Series?) without needing to scroll through a sea of posts on the team feed. Your most loyal fans (maybe even some on our Most Valuable Followers list) will find it even easier to use our one-click top tweets collection and have access to a page dedicated to just a single game or series. Our handiwork gets them what they want faster, without any hassle, while you document the story in the way you want to tell it.

Now you know they're easy to create but get this they're even easier to share. Unique URLs and the ability to embed these collections into your website and tweet them out to your followers make you the closing pitcher: Which tweets will you throw toward your eager fans in the batter’s box? And after the bottom of the ninth the game isn't over. Because connections live on past their set events, these unique feeds serve as archives to the past. So Ishikawa's homer will live on forever.

If exceptional fans inspire a team to perform well, we could draw the probably-not-so-logical conclusion that the Giants made it to the World Series springing off their broad support base and social media savvy. Whatever the case, the real question is: Why hasn’t your team gotten on board yet? Get started today, and let us at Blinkfire guide you to the big leagues.

Friday, October 17, 2014

How Does Your Brand Measure the ROI of a Sports Sponsorship?

This year US corporations will increase sponsorship spending by 4.3% over last year’s $19.8 billion to $20.3 billion, according to the latest sponsorship report from IEG. 

If you’re a marketer managing sponsorship investments for a brand could you effectively compute the ROI of this channel investment?  What data would you need to understand the brand lift generated by exposures and engagements in digital and social channels? 

Lucky for you, and also lucky for us - though it isn't really luck, our crack staff of analytics and computer vision experts has been hard at work this summer building the technology to track brand logos and engagements in your partners' social channels. 

We track your brands sponsorships in social

Your brand sponsorship logo is appearing in the stadium and in your partners' digital feeds. For example during the playoffs the SF Giants shared a great moment with Tony Bennett and the Visa sponsorship is captured in the background.

Blinkfire tracks these events and the green box around the Visa logo signals our software is tracking your additional brand exposures outside the stadium. Once brands are able to track sponsorship exposures inside and outside the stadium they can build the framework to optimize sponsorship investments.

Analyze sponsorship data to optimize channel spend

Cost Per Reach is a great tool to gauge the effectiveness of a brand's sponsorships, it measures the number of people exposed to the sponsorship in person and through media such at TV, Digital and Social.  This data can then be used to create an index of the most effective sponsorships based upon Cost Per Reach and other metrics such as demographics to optimize sponsorship spend.

This is just one of the ways companies can use Blinkfire data to analyze their sports sponsorships. Brands and teams can access this data on our website, just log in with your Twitter account and get started today.