Social Media Team Review: Ravens Are One of the Fans

The Baltimore Ravens have a relatively young fan base, as they are a relatively young franchise. I’m not sure they have much of a reputation, despite their success and stars over the years. But they are doing their best to stand out in social — to blend in with the fans while also helping enhance their interaction with their own communities.

Take a look and see where the Ravens hit and where they can improve in their game day social media coverage, evaluated on a Sunday at home when the Ravens lost a close one to the Oakland Raiders. (Go Raiders!) The Ravens recently made news with their introduction of “Stickers” for iMessage, delivered through an app developed by Swyft Media. Their affinity to short-hand communication stood out in the team’s game day Twitter timeline.

Leading up to the game, they had some good videos, GIFs, a cross-channel graphic, and even some fan retweets. They also set up shot at the stairs where players entered and exited and captured this pregame and at halftime, both exit and entrance. Notably, one of their first in-game tweets was a Chuck Norris GIF, a bit out-of-place and would remain their only non-team GIF of the day on Twitter.

Throughout the game, the Ravens’ Twitter was a bit light on visuals and GIFs and mostly on terse attempts to, well, talk and react like a fan. There was also heavy use of emoji of all sorts. Despite their official hash tag being #RavensFlock (which reveals their hash flag), the hash tag to which they are more dedicated is definitely #PlayLikeARaven (probably wish that had been their official NFL team hash tag for Twitter). The halftime and final score graphics were the same, but with the care to spec differently, across platforms. Similar to others, they had little native media content, outside of a few photos and video snippets, with the rest housed on the website and linked up.

The in-game commentary was second-screen to a fault. A few of these example tweets show fans wondering what the heck happened as a simple emoji or pithy tweet was not very informative. While a lot of teams assume fans are watching or getting play-by-play elsewhere, there is still value to being an informative feed and not just one providing noise interrupted by some visuals and updates here and there.

I liked how they handled a tough loss, not going silent, but providing footage and quotes from players and Coach Harbaugh (mostly non-native video) and a “Nice game” tweet at the Raiders.

Twitter was by far their most active platform on the day and the others were primarily places to pay lip service. As is the case with many, Snapchat was mainly a pregame activity. The pregame fare was solid with a look around warm-ups, lots of emoji, and great access to capture player intros and a locker room huddle. Just some raw cuts from the pregame, likely not varying too much game-to-game, but a decent offering of Snapchat content prior to the game and a nice Snapchat filter (even if it, too, may muddle the clarity of the #RavensFlock hash tag a bit more). Snapchat was relatively dormant during the game, a bit surprising for a home game, but there was a nod after the game for Snapchat and some great content capturing a shot of a post game prayer, which gave a fly-on-the-wall feel of exclusive access.

The Ravens had a satisfactory, but probably not impressive Facebook presence. They do have a Facebook profile frame available, a nice feature many clubs have, but I was surprised by a relatively generic and, well, boring header image. (Some teams have a header image customized for each game week; not saying anyone has to do this, but the header image should be strong, stunning, and inspiring) The content leading up to the game was a typical graphic (spec’d for Facebook) some non-native preview content and a single photo right before the game. There was also a nod to a memorial setup for a recently deceased ex-coach.

Facebook was sparse during the game with an end of quarter, halftime, and final score graphic only [not sponsored, fyi] However, there was a decent volume of post game content, even for a loss, but again mostly website links and no native content. Also notable was changing their cover photo that night to a generic team photo. Facebook gets decent engagement for the Ravens, but there is no doubt more they can do here.

Finally, Instagram offered nothing not seen elsewhere on the Ravens’ channels. That’s not to say it was poor. The visual content was still appealing (though not overly eye-catching) and was mostly a few carefully curated photos. It was also surprising to see no use of Instagram Stories. While the Ravens certainly put some time into Instagram, it is not where they are putting their most innovation and resources. Gotta love the purple hue and properly sized images for their graphics, though, and is what catches the eye the most among their Instagram posts.

The Baltimore Ravens are all about the flock (and “playing like a raven”) and they want their fans to feel a part of the conversation and in the room alongside their favorite team’s social media (well, Twitter) feed. The Ravens’ voice and their demonstrated commitment to creative communication (stickers and emoji) shine through in their game day social. Consistent, voice, and messaging permeate the experience for fans interacting with the Ravens on a Sunday in the NFL season.

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