Hidden Tricks With Social Media and Fan Outreach

It occurred to me there are a handful of little things I have done as a social media manager in my experience that are underutilized, but highly powerful to cultivate fan relationships and develop and promote advocacy (and unique stories to tell!). Maybe everyone is doing all this stuff, but here are my “hidden tricks” of social media.

  • Favorite-ing Tweets: Some (power) users utilize this function as a way to bookmark tweets to visit later, but, for a social media manager talking with a community of thousands, the ‘favorite’ function is a way to say ‘I hear ya; we’re listening.’ (or good tweet! / we agree! we like your tweet! etc.). Fans want to know they’re heard, want feedback, and to know that THEIR tweet, of the thousands of followers, was acknowledged, makes fans feel special. Emotional investment is the paradigm.
  • Like-ing Facebook Comments: Pretty much for all the same reasons stated above…could you imagine the elation if Justin Bieber ‘likes’ a 15 year-old girl’s comment on his post; give fans of your team [or brand] the same feeling of being singled out in a special way; that emotion can last for a lifetime and all it takes is (not to be overused) click. (You can also ‘like’ and comment on others’ posts in the Posts By Others, if your Page permits those) Also like-ing Instagram photos!
  • Direct Messaging (and even Replying for some!): Want to let a user know you see and acknowledge their concern or question without being public about it? Or open a correspondence with a user of potential influence (assuming they follow you)? The DM is a great tool and can facilitate not just great customer service, but fostering of deeper fan relationships. Do not underestimate the value of 1-on-1 relationships. Create advocates and operate with a conversion % just a liiiiitle better than Google PPC.
  • Pinterest (or Tumblr, but not what I use) Can Preserve Earned Media: Besides making the mentions on your graph and quarterly report having an attractive spike, the increase of earned media and accompanying brand mentions are not maximized to extract all the value from fans creating content that speaks highly of your team or brand! Pinterest can give these places a more permanent home, to showcase how much fans love your team. Whether it’s an impressive cake, a work of art, an oh-so-adorable baby or puppy picture, the best fan sign you’ve ever seen, or even a screen grab of an awesome tweet or FB comment that you wish everyone could see; Pinterest can be a place to store and share all this heretofore unrequited fan love!
  • More Showing, Less Telling: It’s not that attention spans are getting shorter and people are getting dumber (okay, it kind of is), but, in the social media environment, simplicity reigns supreme. The more visual, the better. The more clear the instructions, the better. Don’t out-think yourself trying to be creative or funny or making copy so attractive and mysterious they’ll just have to click through (hint: they don’t as much as you think). Be clear in the action. And, as the saying goes, pictures really do tell a thousand words and can be an effective, appealing way of disseminating information and all sorts of content.
  • Be clear, be concise: OK, so I’m probably breaking that rule in this post, but there is a reason studies consistently shows that shorter tweets and Facebook and G+ posts, etc. tend to garner more engagement. You can present any thesis you want, but pithiness is paramount as is simplicity. If you want people to re-tweet, they will more than if you do not ask. Make things obvious, then go back and make it even more obvious. Then post.
  • Give fans something to respond to: What is a key to engagement? Content that elicits (or solicits) response. Don’t just post a link to a press release or recap – tell the story, provide a context or frame, give a quote about the outcome/performance, try to use a picture that elicits emotion or is consistent with the story of the game. Yeah, the super fans will have watched the game or read the website recap, but the typical fan scanning down their News Feed may ‘like’ a post if you win; but may ‘comment’ or ‘share’ a post if there is a compelling story to share – a dramatic comeback, a memorable quote, a stellar individual performance, a oh-so-shareable statistic or milestone, etc.! The same goes for caption contests, fill-in-the-blanks, asking questions, etc. These are all manifestations of creating content that merits (as opposed to just hopes for) response.
  • Google Images and Statigram: While there are some (to be honest, quite subpar) social media search engines, these ones are the only for which I get enough value to use on a somewhat consistent basis. Want to see what kind of visual content (or, for video, YouTube) search these sits by keyword and hash tag and, while it is listed chronologically on Statigram (a site integrated with Instagram), use the time preferences for Google (also underutilized when looking for recent content, in general). Then, you can easily see what images have been posted related to your team or brand in the last 48 hours, week, month, whatever and not worry about something someone posted on their Geocities page in 1997.

What are your “hidden tricks” in social media? I’m sure there are tons on which I did not touch! Also, if you’re bored some day, look up “dark social” on the Internet and you’ll realize there may be so much more out there in terms of content and conversation that is happening in the ‘dark.’

Posted by Neil Horowitz

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Brief Thoughts on Premiere of Fox Sports 1’s “Crowd Goes Wild”

Fox Sports 1’s big original programming answer to ESPN’s popular, long running 5-6pm EST shows Around The Horn and Pardon The Interruption, was going to be the fun, innovative Crowd Goes Wild, hosted by Regis Philbin and company. After viewing much of the series premiere, I have just a few thoughts on where it is falling short and is really lacks much redeeming value at all.

First, the pace is quite slow in terms of content and discussion and there is little to no interplay or chemistry between the panelists. The lack of content and coherent discussion does not help, nor was the long segment spent on a horse named Regis and a carriage horse race.

Crowd Goes Wild

For a show that is all about “the crowd,” there are no visual shots of said crowd, little crowd noise, and very little crowd participation, digital or live (outside of a useless live poll on Regis the Horse). Crowd Goes Wild showcases no tweets from fans or celebrities or hosts related to the show and, while it touts all the ways to follow the show on social media, there is little content being posted and zero interaction. The fact that FS1’s website has nothing related to the show front-and-center (in the fourth box of their rotating header on the home page) does not help the interested fan wanting to see more about the show. (Of course, no website to learn more about the show being shown on the screen does not help, either). Incorporating contests for tune-in, content from athletes and celebs, social posts from fans watching the show, and a call-to-action for fans watching the show, even if it is just a hash tag or a URL directing to a social hub or mobile application. Their low volume and quality of use of Vine, Instagram, and even Twitter/Facebook shows the lack of proper strategic planning. Every campaign needs a social media and digital plan and every digital/social presence should be used, used for a reason, and measured.

There is little sports content; though, I did like some of their more off-the-cuff sports stories discovered on the web. What they failed to do was give fans a way to share these share-able stories. Why not post links via social media or at a hub or direct fans to visit a website or social site to locate the content via FS1 and share it with friends?

A last quick note is a failure, in my opinion, to have a share-worthy Grand Opening, with exciting guests, cameos, surprise appearances, etc. that would create a true buzz. Bring out a pop culture star, a sports legend, both, and more and create conversation right away and the need to not miss out in the future. Day one should NOT be business as usual. Instead, their only “guest” was former boxing great and Golden Boy Promotions head Oscar De La Hoya…there to promote fights being aired on Fox Sports 1. Rather than try to give a good impression to curious first-time viewers and potential fans, Fox Sports 1 followed up their self-aggrandizing Regis horse story with an appearance from De La Hoya to plug programming coming on the network later that night.

Overall, I watched Crowd Goes Wild with great interest and a passing thought it could be a different, thought-provoking alternative to ESPN’s programming. So far, Crowd Goes Wild is a failure on all fronts, in my opinion.

What are your thoughts on its strengths and weaknesses? What were you expecting?


Posted by Neil Horowitz

Follow me on Twitter @njh287   Connect on LinkedIn