Life is always better when you’re the world champs. The Denver Broncos enjoyed a Super Bowl-winning season last year and a review of their game day social media content this year shows they are continuing to ramp up content with #horsepower.
I recently sampled all of their social media content on a recent game day, a close win on the road at Jacksonville. They had a clear plan and delivered a combination of effective prepared content, as well as real-time content their fans have come to expect and enjoy. They had a common theme and look (including re-purposed) with their content across platforms and fed their fans at the right times with content that mattered.
One place the Broncos certainly stood out was their use of Instagram Stories, where their content was not necessarily crazy eye-catching, but they effectively utilized Instagram Stories’ relatively new ‘swipe up for more’ option. They utilized the story feature of the app to let fans experience the game from pregame to post in quick pics (no use of video or dynamic graphics) with relevant opportunities to consume more. They also used the mention feature in Stories and most of their images were branded with logos.
The Broncos did not just put time into their Instagram Stories, but their primary Instagram, as well. They re-shared a viral pic that QB Trevor Siemian had posted earlier in the week and then got into their game days narrative. We see the travel pics, nicely done because the players were looking at you in the pictures, as opposed to grabbing a Paparazzi-like pic of them walking by. While many teams shared several Instagram posts of the #MyCauseMyCleats (special cleats for charity, where players could select the design and the charity to honor), the Broncos shared only a couple on their Instagram feed. (More was on their website).
During the game, the volume slowed down and the content was comprised primarily of pics and copy posted on other platforms. The pics were thoughtfully selected and some included score updates. They shifted between a handful of hashtags, such as #DENvsJAX, #BeatTheJags, #BroncosCountry, and #horsepower. After their 20-10 win was finished off, they increased the volume, with a few more game pics, a locker room shot, and a nice one in black and white with a post game shot. Similar to their Stories, there was also no native video in their Instagram feed, to note. Overall, a solid if unspectacular stream of content, but feeding the feed with consistent, well-chosen visuals.
The Broncos were one of the more active NFL teams on Facebook, keeping their feed full for fans watching the game and scrolling on Facebook throughout game day. Their Facebook, especially before and after the game, felt like a true hub for all things Broncos. They were particularly heavy in the pregame window, not shy to maintain frequent appearances in their fans’ feeds, with a lot of linked (mostly non-native, but visuals were still strong) content. Also notable at first glance is they have an evergreen header image and their CTA invites fans to ‘message’ the Page. The Broncos did not hesitate to share content from elsewhere, whether it was a CBS Sports report, an EA Sports Madden NFL game simulation (a league partner), and even a GIF that seemed more suited for Twitter. They only shared one photo of a MyCauseMyCleats image, with a link to the website for more pics, as well as a link to see pregame travel pics.
The Broncos gave their fans plenty to make it til kickoff 10am. They do a great job with original video reporting content (Even more pronounced on Twitter). The Broncos all came prepared with graphics, website preview stories, and a few pregame photos from the ground. This all led up to kickoff when content did not cease, but the volume of content expectedly diminished.
During the game, there were only a few photo posts, most with score updates. There was little to no text with a lot of the posts, which presumed fans were likely watching the game and knew what quarter it was, etc. It was cool to see them consistently use the ability to tag player and venue pages in their posts.Besides score update graphics, other in-game content included links to photos and a link to a video highlight. Similar to Instagram, a couple of hashtags were used on Facebook – #BeatTheJags and #BroncosCountry.
Despite hitting the road to fly home, the content did not dry up on Facebook after the game. The post game window saw lots and lots of links to additional content — game highlight video, several post game interviews, game photos, and a lot of written recap content. Besides the win post, none garnered an overwhelming amount of engagement, but the consistent action along with the heavy volume meant plenty of reach for the Broncos’ Facebook Page following their 20-10 in Jacksonville. Also some carefully chosen, terse copy and quotes and pics made for a nice-looking presence.
The Broncos took a more second-screen approach on Twitter, where their feed light on play-by-play and more about adding to the fans’ game day content. Again, the pregame window was by far the heaviest in terms of volume, with some retweets, sponsored posts, pregame travel photos, and more. Particularly impressive is their pregame Periscope live standup on the field, which garnered almost 50,000 viewers at around 10am local time in Denver. Their numbers on Periscope are impressive, and they use it much as they are allowed to. Beyond Periscope, there was a lot of the same content as Facebook – including prepared GIFs, videos, photos, and website links..
The Broncos did not do any tweeting of team reporters or a PR account and the only official team info was a link to the website to view Inactives. The pregame content abruptly gave way once the game started (no play-by-play or tweet announcing kickoff) and the first in-game post is a tweet with no text and a graphic showing the score 3-0 Denver. No indication if it was from an early Broncos score or the end of the first quarter. The Broncos generally took a minimalist, supplemental approach, with a couple pithy tweets reacting with their fans to a play, who were watching the game with them, no doubt.
The Broncos continued to seek to add to the primary screen for fans already watching the game – from some evergreen GIFs featuring Key (of Key and Peele) and some minions (perhaps a backhanded way to poke fun at the NFL rule), links to replays posted by the NFL (often overlooked by some clubs during the game) and some well-made player GIFs on the field that were within their rights to use. Similar to Facebook, they also continually tagged players to draw eyeballs to their Twitter accounts.
As the game went on, there remained mostly tweets that just added to fans already watching the game, including some tweets that echoed a play in the game — a #ProBowl tweet after a big defensive play (with the play not mentioned), score updates without info on how the Broncos scored, and a handful of GIFs that added to what fans were seeing, but may have not been as clear to those not watching. They have a pretty nice bank of GIFs and I don’t think I saw a single repeat GIF all day. Impressive. The final score graphic was also sharp. (Oh, and yeah, they retweeted a member of the band Yellowcard)
After the game, the Broncos were on the spot, firing up Periscope for post game press conferences, while also throwing in a recap link and partner post to NFL Game Pass for the game replay. Throughout the rest of the day and night, more links to interviews and post game highlights, along with a couple quotes, were posted, giving fans a breadth of content on the Broncos website, as well as real-time on Periscope, after the decisive win.
While the Broncos were not especially busy on Snapchat, the content they posted on the it was quality. There was not a heavy volume, but there was the up-close access that is the best part of the platform. As is typical, we get an up-close look at the team during warm-ups, as well a shot of some fans and use of a local, eye-catching geofilter.
The person behind the Broncos’ Snapchat account is clearly embedded with the team, knowing which players to watch for a fun snap and get some first-hand interaction from players. They also were able to track down Bennie Fowler giving some love and a ball to some Broncos-clad fans with a Spartans mention on their poster (Fowler is a Michigan State Spartans alumnus).
Once the game began, Snapchat slowed, of course, but did not cease. Their team reporter (who would go on Periscope throughout the day) popped on Snapchat to give a taste of the atmosphere, some Broncos fans in the crowd, and the sideline a couple times after a big play. That was the extent of Snapchat for the game, with no new content in the post game window.
The Broncos have a dedicated, large fan base that is as strong as ever after winning the Super Bowl last year. They pick their sports, pepper their platforms, and share, post, and link to content with forethought, strategy, and preparation. They’re providing the on-the-ground access and supplemental visuals and programming that gives fans something more while they watch the game. Fans are getting their fix in Broncos country.