The Dallas Cowboys are an enormous brand. “America’s Team,” as they’re still known to many. Their brand is so widespread and their nation so strong, even a passing social media presence would garner considerable reach and interactions.
But the Cowboys feed their social platforms with attention, unique content, and earn greater reach and engagement, as a result. There is a good mix of access,pre-made content, sponsor integration, endearing content, and some real-time engagement. I caught them on a good day, indeed, a dominant win over the Cleveland Browns, 35-10, but it appears the Cowboys make sure to serve their fans with content on each platform.
The Cowboys did an excellent job with well-curated photography and an intentional look and feel with their Instagram page. While not every NFL team utilizes Instagram stories, the Cowboys had a set of unique graphics and video clearly designed for Instagram stories. This part of the platform is young enough that a well-done Instagram story really stands out. The focus was on pregame, only, but it was well-done. Their pregame content also included the requisite shots of players arriving to the stadium.
The Cowboy really had some eye-catching visuals once the game began — including some aesthetic player shots and a cartoon of punter Chris Jones that definitely stands out in the feed. The in-game content also included score update graphics used on the Cowboys’ other platforms, as well.
Instagram was not a place where sponsors were called out or integrated. Overall, good selection and a talented team photograopher (or Getty / AP photographer) that the Cowboys utilize well for their Instagram feed. They also capped off the night with Instagram video of their own #manneqinchallenge, which on last check had around a quarter million views.
Increasingly becoming the platform where deeper engagement and relationship-building can take place, the Cowboys utilize Snapchat for the most raw and pathos-appealing content. In the pregame window, the Cowboys didn’t go too heavy on the ride / welcome to the stadium content, but shared a portion of warm-ups where the perspective is more fly-on-the-wall than invited guest. This plays perfectly for intimate moments between receiver Cole Beasley and a young fan, and some authentic interactions between Beasley and some fans in the stands in the road environment in Cleveland. Love that.
The Cowboys continue to let you be an inside observer of the team’s pregame experience with an opportunity to be there for a pregame prayer and huddle, and on the field for post game exchanges and celebrations. (Noting that winning helps) While many teams (not all, though) provide such access for pregame Snapchat and other social coverage, it does not happen without trust and cooperation, so kudos to the Cowboys for delivering this to their fans. The Cowboys do have a Snapchat filter at their home stadium and chose not to use any local geofilters for this road trip outside of the NFL scoreboard. No sponsor integration was clear/clearly intentional for Snapchat.
The place where personality most shines through and interaction is most possible is Twitter and, especially when they’re dominating, the Cowboys post with a confidence knowing that they’re good. (But, it’s not cocky) The pregame coverage had a volume of photos from the trip to the stadium, along with some good raw photos of players, direct fan interaction, pre-made videos, and some sponsored content, as well. Even with timelines going a mile a minute, notice, too, how they caught and replied to legendary Cowboys running back Emmit Smith.
Throughout the game and the pre-game, much of the more newsy content from the Cowboys came via retweets of the team’s website writers. The Cowboys had some of their best pregame “access” content on their Twitter feed, with a few videos that garnered major engagement leading up to the opening kickoff.
The Cowboys continued to bring it with god photos and graphics and GIFs during the game, including a sponsored post, and delivered content with just that little hint of Cowboys pomp. They had a good graphic ready to go for a Dak Prescott achievement early during the game.
The Cowboys had frequent use of emoji, strong score graphics, and continued retweets of writers, especially for statistics, and GIFs throughout the game. The social team is monitoring their Mentions app, too, catching a shoutout from NBA player Quincy Acy to retweet. I definitely like that their score graphics also display some of their strong photography. Also notable, these score update graphics did not contain any sponsor logos. There was only one sponsored element during the game on the Cowboys’ Twitter feed.
After the game, the Cowboys had a handful of postgame informative tweets, a retweet of Omar Epps, and a nice Player of the Game short video. There were also more game photos; the Cowboys utilize all those great photos, better than most teams.There was no live content, or live content promoted, in the post game window, outside promotion of a live radio show. There was one piece of sponsored postgame content (Bigelow Team, also seen on Facebook).
The Cowboys are a global brand and that huge reach is reflected on their Facebook page. The pregame (and post game) consisted of a good amount of sponsor-integrated content and preview content (typical for NFL teams, in any case), all did include visuals, but most were shared links that required clicking through to get to the content. There were a couple of pregame videos that gave fans a raw feel of being embedded with the team, and the view counts were significant; clearly, the fans love it! The content understandably slowed down during the game, but they did drop their nice prepared Dak graphic, when he passed Troy Aikman for most touchdowns by a rookie quarterback in club history.
The same score update graphics used elsewhere were re-purposed on the Cowboys’ Faceboo during the game and garnered good interaction, no doubt helped by the team dominating the game. Also notable was the Cowboys had a specific, labeled cover photo for the game (typical for most teams), which included a hash tag. Their Page’s CTA is to ‘Learn More’ as opposed to other teams that will have Shop or Get App, among others. The Cowboys ramped up the coverage post game, but, like on Twitter, it came in one big content dump, perhaps posted after the team landed on a flight back from Cleveland.
The post game included a few sponsor-integrated posts, mostly recap articles, but with unique twists. Highlights were posted, sponsored by Bigelow Tea, and this was a link back to their website to watch (as on Twitter). They made a huge bang, however, with their #mannequinchallenge video filmed on the plane after the big win. They were among a few teams that played off the viral video theme of the moment, and the fans certainly enjoyed it. While the video was also posted on Twitter and Instagram, Facebook predictably had the furthest reach, with, now a couple of days later, has over 9 MILLION VIEWS. Wow. Sometimes, the hardest part is just getting everyone board, and doing it. With nothing more than a phone.
The Dallas Cowboys do right by their brand and by their fans on social media. They take care to plan, to provide good access, to read the room and the moments, to actively look for major engagement opportunities, and to carry just enough swag for America’s Team. Like most NFL clubs, their primary goal is often to drive traffic to their owned real estate, on their website, but the strong visuals (and hard not to like that mannequinchallenge video) make them a welcome presence in any feed, with an opportunity for the more avid fan to read up on the more football-y part of being a Cowboys fan. They don’t go overboard with promoting individual players, but don’t ignore individual achievements, nor do they excessively feed the Cowboys unique brand, but they still command a captive, sleek presence, with the access to fit. Sure, it’s easy being the Cowboys and it’s easy being 7-1. But it shouldn’t be an excuse to take a social audience for granted, and the Cowboys take this to the heart.