The Cincinnati Bengals are a historic franchise that, recently, is known to be a consistent winner (if not a title contender). Their resurgence came along as social media continues to penetrate to empower teams more than ever before. (Insert snarky comment about new NFL social media policy here). The Bengals know their brand, know how they want it to look and to sound. Their social presence is consistent across platforms and Twitter is a helpful source of in-game updates and info.
The Bengals had an active Facebook Page in the hours/day leading up to their game on Sunday (October 23) against the Cleveland Browns at home in Cincy (a game they won with relative ease). The content on Facebook leading up was presented by sponsors and was primarily links (with visuals) to preview content on their website. Their Facebook CTA button is to ‘Shop Now;’ this seems to be the second-popular (an educated guess) in pro sports, with ‘Use App’ leading the way. Note the various ways sponsors are featured — on a graphic, tagged in a post, and in a photo. In all cases the visual is very strong, with even the text on the game day graphics quite subdued.
A good array of strong (Getty?) photos came to close out the pregame window, along with a halftime image, as well. The copy used very much reflects the hashtags and voice and tone used on Twitter. The Page was not too busy during the game and the post game consistent of just a website link and sponsored images/posts from Toyota. Minding their feed on the game day with a steady flow of content for fans’ feeds delivers a good response from fans and the Bengal are finding way to monetize that reach through non-intrusive sponsor integration.
Following the Bengals on Twitter on their Sunday game day gave fans a reliable source of info, stats, and in-game updates, for the most part. A solid companion for a fan watching the game, with the enthusiasm of the home team. The pregame content had a lot of sponsored preview content, similar to (and more than) that seen on their Facebook Page, including a Bud Light post with a call to action to tweet pics. (Did not notice any retweets or notes of submissions from fans). Again a very visual pregame feed, a link to their website for inactive players, and some good access and video (not a ton of volume, though) for pregame content, including intros and gear.
During the game, the feed was a bit more comprised of text noting big plays and scores. The Bengals had one pre-prepared GIF they used multiple times, showing an animated Who Dey graphic, for any big plays. The end of quarter graphics were the same as those shared on Facebook and Instagram, with heavy visual and light text.
At the end of the first half, wide receiver AJ Green made one of the best catches of the season on a Hail Mary play at the end of the half. The Bengals expressed some enthusiasm in their tweets and retweeted NBC’s Sunday Night Football account in their two posts pertaining to the play. They continued to provide stats during the game and had consistent usage of the game day hash tag (#CLEvsCIN) and the two tags for their team (#WhoDey and #LetsRoar).
After the game, the Bengals feed was not too busy — a post game graphic (with Toyota on the image), a couple player retweets, and a link to interview video on the website was the extent of the post game content.
Twitter and Facebook garnered the most time and effort for the Bengals, and Snapchat was strictly for pregame content. The short story they had was well thought-out and not just raw and made use of the NFL game day filters. Didn’t seem to be a sign of Bengals geofilter (Who Dey would look great, I’m sure!), but a few snaps from the sideline gives fans a little taste at the close-up look and access they crave. After a quick snap video of pregame intros, the Bengals content on Snapchat was done for the day.
The Bengals had some solid content on Instagram on late Saturday and Sunday. Though much of the actual game day content was simiar to that shared on Facebook and Twitter, the Bengals propensity for sharp visuals plays well on the platform. Leading up the game, Instagram is another place the Bengals give their sponsor value with logo placement. They even went with the old ‘click the link in our bio’ tactic to get fans to take action on an offer from Fan Duel. Their Instagram was busier pregame with shots of warmups and special Breast Cancer Awareness pink gear.
The content during the game was comprised of game update graphic that were identical to those shared elsewhere. Again, enjoyed the visuals, even if the score can be a bit camouflaged i one doesn’t take the time to look closely. A couple other observations include tagging Toyota on their final score graphic post (despite not doing the same on Twitter) and not using their #WhoDey or #LetsRoar hashtags on here, as they do elsewhere.
The Bengals’ social media presence is a delight for the eye on game and is worth following for fans of the team to get some decent info without overload and a little bit of inside access and homer-ism in-game that fans desire. The team has a focus on being sure to integrate sponsors into content, without being too in-your-face about it, and is focused on visual content and driving traffic referrals. Now, if they can win a playoff game, eh?!