On a couple of Fridays each month, I’ll throw out five brief thoughts on how to succeed in social and digital media in sports, based on experience, observation, and conversation. Examples abound (and always reach out to me via Twitter @njh287 if you want to see examples or want more info). This is meant to be a short post, so, without further adieu…the Friday 5:
Appealing to the deep, emotional sense of Nostalgia is effective in just about any industry and sports is no exception. There is a reason those ads that allude to ’90s pop culture are so share-able, why the manliest of men can’t watch the end of Field of Dreams and tear up as the Kinsellas have a catch, and an explanation for the over 500,000 #TBT tweets per week. Our deepest memories of falling in love with a team or sport, those things that stick deep in our souls, that binds us to our favorite team as not just a day-to-day distraction, but a passion and a part of a fan’s identity. Appeal to that nostalgia and enjoy the engagement from fans, while further entrenching that emotional affinity.
Go cross-platform with the good stuff. While replicating a post to all fan channels and social networks is never recommended, given the different ways fan interact on each platform, don’t be shy with your top content. If something is (predictably or unpredictably) performing well with fans, maximize the reach and post that content to all your fans. Social media is about sharing, first, and share-able content is fairly platform-agnostic. On a related note, don’t just throw that awesome content out there, pat yourself on the back, and go on with the routine. Re-post it in a different manner multiple times (for big Facebook/Twitter pages, even the best posts will still miss 70% of your fans!) and also plan how to stretch that content and repurpose it in many forms.
Maximize the good feelings. One of my favorite things that came out of my interview with the San Diego Padres’ Jesse Agler was how he explained the way the Padres capitalized on their crazy offseason of blockbuster moves by trying to keep the buzz going as long as possible. They told the story — from dropping the news, to the players arriving, getting their jersey, their introductory press conference, appearances and press after, fan Q&A, player features, and more. A single transaction turned into tons of pieces of great, engaging content.
How can you take good news and keep the buzz going as long as possible? Use different forms of media, integrate a contest, share facts and quotes a little at a time, solicit and curate fan reaction, relive the memorable moments; the feel-good vibes don’t have to be so ephemeral.
Don’t force content, but don’t shy away from good found stuff. We’ve all, at times, shaken our heads at a team finding their way into pop culture or a conversation with content, even as it racks up vanity metrics and engagement. Don’t feel shameful! If there is a relevant (enough) way to give fans fun, share-able content, especially coming from the never-ending legions of creative fans that want to be featured, do it! Sure, dressing up your mascot for Star Wars Day or asking a player for their favorite Prom memory may seem (and is) novel and gratuitous, but, if fans enjoy, it’s a win all-around! Again, don’t force it, but don’t hide from it. And, as always, pay attention to conversation and content coming from your fans!
Give fans something to share and react to (excuse my grammar). Whether it’s the actual content created, how news or content is presented, or where it is distributed, think about how you are eliciting a fan reaction and/or inclination to share. Is it something fans will scroll on by when perusing their News Feed or is it something begs a response, a screams ‘share me!’ ? (Read about “Thumbstoppers“) You have the media, social and digital media represent major distribution channels. But remember that social media is NOT intended to be a one-way broadcast tool. Keep the social front-of-mind and start every post by adopting the mindset of the fan. How they will see it, experience it, and react to it.