In 2017 it is not only common but a necessity for professional sports teams to have a presence on social media. At the very least teams must give their fans updates on events and scores but many organizations are taking their social media game to another level by interacting with fans in unique ways. A witty social media presence can land teams on the news and help them gain new followers. Fans also appreciate it when the teams they devote their lives to show they are willing to communicate with them. In this post, I will go over three instances when sports organizations successfully used social media to relate to or interact with their audience.
“Mission Control” Twitter takeover
The New Jersey Red Devils of the National Hockey League (NHL) won big-time with their “Mission Control” social media initiative back in 2013. It allowed a team of twenty-four ‘social media savvy fans who utilize Twitter, Facebook, and other online channels’ fans to take over the Red Devils’ Twitter account.
Mission Control resulted in two PR award nominations as well as a great deal of media acclaim.
“To be nominated for these two PR News awards is affirmation of our effort to use social media to more effectively talk with our fans,” said Jeff Vanderbeek, Chairman, Devils Arena Entertainment. “We focus every day on enhancing our connection to the Devils Army.”
Huffington Post: “The Devils, have become one of the leaders in the league (NHL) which probably does the digital space better than any sports property.”
ESPN: “No team has taken up social media like the New Jersey Devils.”
USA Today: “…an unprecedented step in connecting with fans.”
Hawks having fun
There is having fun with social media; then there is the Atlanta Hawks. Fans and teams alike praise the National Basketball Association (NBA) team for its ‘no holds barred’ attitude towards social media. The Hawks made headlines in early 2015 when they tweeted a playlist with the help of Spotify to thank their fans.
The Hawks pushed the limits the same year when they hosted a Tinder-themed game night for their fans. They engaged their single adult fans by using the hashtag “Swipe Right ATL” on Twitter encouraging them to use the app inside the stadium. This latter social media implementation was more polarizing than the playlist but garnered massive attention.
Outside of interacting with fans, the Hawks just love to have fun with social media in ways that are very endearing to fans and neutrals of the team. Changing their Twitter name to symbolize their win total and exchanging hilarious GIFs with other NBA teams are just a couple of the ways they show their wit.
FC Barcelona unite worldwide fanbase
One of the (few) problems with running one of the most popular sports organizations in the world is getting fans from around the world to feel close to the club. Soccer has the most worldwide following of any sport currently and the most diverse fanbase. FC Barcelona connects their varied fanbase using social media in innovative ways.
In addition to having Twitter accounts in over five different languages, the club also uses hashtags to help their fans watch games together. A fan in California, for instance, can use these hashtags to find other Barcelona fans in the area so they can meet to watch matches. It may be 7 am when the game airs in California, but fans can bond over the experience of getting up early to watch the team they love with other devotees.
FC Barcelona helps its fans with match start times on Facebook as well. These posts make it easy for fans to not only find their time zone but to comment and connect with hashtags in the Facebook comment section.