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 49ers’ Vine 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.