It’s The Little Things
This principle applies to both content and gestures. I’ll focus first on the latter and later on the former. Fans bleed for these teams, these players and the reminder that they’re acknowledged and noticed on an individual basis is as meaningful as ever (see the previous point on creating memorable experiences). Social media allows for so many touch points and so many opportunities to acknowledge fans at an individual level.
It has never ceased to amaze me the sense of appreciation, and often downright shock, fans often express when any sort of response is given to their inquiry/outreach. This can be answering a seemingly dumb question, sending a DM to answer a question or provide a clarification, ‘favorite’ or re-tweet someone’s tweet, ‘like’ a fan’s comment on Facebook, responding to a fan’s comment on Facebook, responding to messages via DM & FB from your fans, following fans on Twitter or putting them on Twitter lists, giving prizes randomly to your biggest fans (or game tickets) to thank them for their support (though always be careful with ticket freebies in any case), and any number of seemingly effortless gestures. It’s not you, John Smith, social media manager, responding to the fan; it’s their team that’s speaking to them. It’s also why a personalized autograph is better than one without the fan’s name. A hello from a player with eye contact means more than seeing them walk by and look away as they sign one piece of paraphernalia after another. Those little gestures stay with fans forever, give them a ‘wow’ moment, at times, and often leads to them interacting/engaging with you more (this is so consistent from personal observation, I’m positive of it; the same goes for social media contest winners), and telling their friends about the fact that their team wrote to them. It is this fanatical devotion and love for the team that inspires such sentimentality and we need to constantly remind ourselves that to live any aspect of life inside the walls of the team can mean the world. This is where the littlest things turn into content fans want to consume and share. Short on content? You are surrounded by it!
Everyone has read the wild tales of fans preserving the towel with which the star player wiped his brow, the water bottle from which they drank, and G-d forbid, a tissue they used or fork they stuck in their mouth. It is this type of fanatical desire for anything connected with the players and team that makes it so easy in the world of social media to give fans a glimpse into the places they can’t go and information and stories to which they’ll never be exposed. Seeing what a player’s locker looks like, seeing the name plate on a locker, seeing the locker room bathroom even! The gym players use, the cars they drive to work, the food they eat for lunch. The stuff that makes the team tick – the control room where Jumbotron features are controlled, the mechanic room where the Zamboni is ripped open and repaired, the rack of sticks next to the tunnel, the equipment closet from which they came even, the TV on which they watch scouting video, the notebooks they study, the notebook used by the arena PA announcer containing their script, the motivational posters or sayings in the gym, the cones set up for pre game agility drills, the media scrums that are commonplace after every game and practice. OK, this list can go on and on and anyone who has worked in sports can add to it, to no end. The point is, whether through photos, text, videos, Vines, Instagrams, pins, Tweets, or anything, giving fans a glimpse of this seemingly mysterious, forbidden or special world of which they can only wish they were a part will reinforce that personal connection to the team/organization that we should all be striving for. You can spend thousands on a produced video ad or promo, but it may not have more than a fraction of the effect and resonance of a candid photo of a player untying their skates after practice or getting physical therapy or riding a stationary bike. Which takes more effort to produce and which gets more engagement? So don’t ever think you lack content, you wake up, you do your job, it’s a normal day in the world of living the dream in sports biz…you have content gold to last for a lifetime. (George Costanza principle – “What did you do today?”… I woke up and came to a work… “There you go, that’s a show!”) Fans have an undying thirst for content, for any insight into the team, anything which they can share with friends or tell/show someone because ‘this is cool.’ But you can’t forget that, despite the widespread awareness and increasing penetration of social media, there is still no more far-reaching and targeted form of communication than email. But a lot of email is about passing content and information too; it can be social too…
Clich here to see more of the No Biz Like Sports Biz series of posts
Posted by Neil Horowitz