“We need to give fans a reason to come to our channels.”
Welcome to the era of extremely elective consumption. When there are so many content choices and so many channels from which to choose, appeal and attraction is key or teams. And the statement above, from Katlyn Gambill, Digital and Social Media Coordinator for the Minnesota Wild, sums up succinctly a key point in this era of social media marketing – it’s earned attention.
When fans want to come to you, want to see what you’re doing, and feel attracted, not alienated, there’s clearly tremendous value to that. And, the best part about building that relationship, as Gambill, described is then you can also deliver content with offers, sponsors integrated, and some sales CTA’s. But it’s all about the organization buying into the fan-first mentality, where it’s thinking about what fans actually want to see, not what you want or need them to see.
It’s all easy to say, of course. Far more difficult is to put such fan-focused principles into action on a consistent basis. Gambill made some great points in talking about a decision the team made, as all eventually did, about adopting Snapchat, and therefore dedicating time, resources, and thought to it. Here’s the point – becoming more accepted – it’s not about a short-term gain tomorrow. It’s about relationship-building, with an intentional, thoughtful strategy and mindset of how it will create more value for the team, too.
“Just because we can’t necessarily bring in a ton of revenue on Snapchat, doesn’t mean it’s not useful,” said Gambill, who spent time with the New Jersey Devils, before starting with Minnesota. “Because we can’t have every single post on every single platform just promoting a corporate sponsor, otherwise people just aren’t going to pay attention to us…We might not be able to bring in revenue right away, but that doesn’t mean down the line that we can’t.”
The most important part of the organization, though? It’s not a trick question, the fans come out to see the players perform. They read about the players, watch videos of them, post on social media about them. And, as much as we talk about buy-in from the suits in the organization (and rightfully so), just as important is the buy-in and the shared understanding by the players.
And it is a tribute to Gambill and the Wild, and a foundation behind much of their quality content, that she has had frank and understanding conversations with the players about social media, content, and why she’s constantly around them with a phone or camera.
“I was lucky enough to sit down with our captains at one point, and talk it through with them, and explain what my goals were with social media,” Gambill told me about her first year with the Wild. “And explain that ‘To you, it seems like I’m just taking a photo. But, by doing that, I’m telling our fans what you guys are doing. I’m giving them a visual of you guys getting ready.”
“Me taking photos of you guys playing soccer may seem super-weird to you. But our fans don’t see that…’ They understood and bought in to the fact, they don’t have to participate in social media for the team to be successful, they just need to let me be around…”
When the people in the C-suite get it, when the hockey ops people get it, when the players get it — magic happens. When everyone is on helping to build deeper connections with fans, it DOES lead to more emotional investment and, ultimately, a better bottom line for everybody.
So have the conversation; show, tell, and explain. No one will ‘get it’ if you don’t try to tell them the what and the why.