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Attention Athletes Using Social Media: Care!

bears On September 21st, @NYJET_Prime tweeted to Dustin Keller, “Hey, I just sprung for a white Keller Titans Jersey, I’m starting to sniff favorite Jet ever, lol. Pls sign 15 year contract!”

Two days later, Keller replied, “Hey @NYJET_Prime Thanks. Appreciate the support. Check out this video I made for you”

The ensuing reaction from the fan was unreal. After seeing the video, his next six tweets were all Keller-related, including messages to Keller directly, to the Jets account, and to another fan.

“@DustinKeller81 Holy Sh-t!!! I know I’m an adult and all but that’s freaking awesome. I feel like a kid with a permagrin now, THANKS!!!”

“@DUSTINKELLER81 Just wanted to say thanks again- I really appreciate it. Not only are you a great Player but person as well. THANKS AGAIN!!!”

“@nyjets Dustin Keller did something real nice for me, I wish I had a better way to say thanks. Tweeting TY just isn’t doing it. He’s the best.”

“@trevsw that was amazing! What a great guy!! I’m still in shock and have permagrin. Go Jets!!!”

“@DUSTINKELLER81 I just told my dad. You made my year! I told him I was giddy like a 12 year old girl. Corny I know, but ur the best.”

“@DUSTINKELLER81 Thanks Again- I’m not semi Jet famous. I had like 3 spam followers now it’s up to 41. You da man!! Good Luck this weekend!!”

You may look at these tweets and say that his reaction was over the top. But think about it: You tweet one of your favorite players and not only does he respond, but he responds with a personalized video thanking you for your comments and for being a fan. Of course you would go nuts!

What’s important to remember is that it was the video that elicited this reaction. Plenty of people get @replies from athletes on Twitter, but very few get personalized video responses. And the craziest thing is that all Keller needed was 20 seconds of his time (trust me, I was there). In return for those 20 seconds, he got 600+ people to watch the video on Youtube, a lot of respect from his fans, and one fan who will absolutely worship him for the rest of his career.

So, athletes, if you’re not sure about using social media or you aren’t seeing the results you desire, remember this: You have to care. When you’re laying in bed after waking up or before going to sleep, take twenty minutes and respond to those hundreds, or thousands, of people who are talking to you on Twitter or Facebook. It doesn’t take much, all they want is a response.

Look at Kerry Rhodes. He’s built 20,000 organic followers with messages like, “thx” and “no problem.” He takes the time to respond to as many fans as possible. Then he gets on uStream to answer fans in a more personal manner. Why? Because he cares! And that is why he has fans who care about him.

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15 Responses to Attention Athletes Using Social Media: Care!

  1. brianallman September 25, 2009 at 11:27 am #

    if only it were as easy for us non-professional athletes with a smaller following and people who have no idea who we are or what we do! Nice coverage on this and well worth noting how effective social media marketing can be when you do create a base following.

  2. allie326 September 25, 2009 at 11:32 am #

    Great article & it is so true- fans will go above & beyond to remember athletes who took just 2 seconds of their time to acknowledge them. Athletes need to realize that the fans are the reason why they have jobs & get paid the salaries they do, without those fans- there would be no money generated within the business and the need for the players wouldn't be as high. It's amazing what 2 seconds will do- but I also see the reverse side of this situation.

    I have first hand experience, being on the other side. Being friends and relatives of some famous athletes- I get attention drawn to me because they happen to @ reply me or send me comments on facebook/twitter. I cannot count the number of friend requests, etc. that I receive on days when an athlete replies to me, or I tag them in a picture, etc. With athletes using social networking sites, fans feel a more personal connection to these guys. Some fans even develop a false sense of reality, thinking they PERSONALLY know these athletes. That is scary! Just because they can read their updates and get a sense of what these athletes are doing with their everyday lives, not just on the field activity- they seem to forget that this interaction is still just over a computer. These athletes will not know you from the thousands of other fans that send them messages, comments, or @ replies daily.

    So, while social media is awesome for athletes to take their games to a new level- they also have to keep their guard up as well, because you never know who is on the other side of that screen.

  3. Eb September 25, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    Yes I completely agree. I've definitely taken the time to thanks athlets who have responded to me on twitter on my blog. It shows that they care and that they really have a mind of their own and aren't just a machine to be worked by whatever professional league they are in.

  4. lewishowes September 25, 2009 at 12:18 pm #

    Eb, thanks for the comment, I love your blog by the way and think it is great you are so passionate about sports 🙂

  5. Anthony Caponiti September 25, 2009 at 7:11 pm #

    Thank you for this post Sam. Extremely well written article on the importance of social media, fan appreciation, and authenticity. What Kerry did for his fan with that video, the fan will beyond a doubt remember for a lifetime.

    Video and mobile devices are transforming communication between athletes, celebrities, and fans, and the most amazing part is that an authentic conversation can be exchanged in a matter of minutes or even seconds whether it's on Twitter, Facebook, uStream, or MySpace.

    Here's another great example of an athlete taking the time to respond to some of his biggest fans by video on Facebook and showing that he honestly cares. It's refreshing to see the comments on his page.

  6. lewishowes September 25, 2009 at 7:43 pm #

    I have to admit Anthony, that Jimmy did a great thing by sending his love to his fans on his facebook page as well. I know it made their day, and it will only make them spread the message to everyone they know about how awesome Jimmy is to them. They will be fans for life because of it.

    More athletes should be doing this, and it is nice to see the fans getting some love when they are spending a lot of time looking up to/following these athletes. Great stuff!

  7. Sam Taggart September 26, 2009 at 8:36 am #

    I want to thank everyone for your comments. Really appreciate it!

  8. Sam Taggart September 26, 2009 at 8:37 am #

    Allie, I definitely see the reverse side. By far, the most important thing for athletes is that they stay safe. And part of that definitely involves being careful when it comes to sing social media. I understand that not all athletes will use social media for that very reason, and that's ok. I just think (and I know you agree) that if you are going to use social media, you have to really care about doing it and connecting with your fans. Otherwise, it just won't work.

  9. Sam Taggart September 26, 2009 at 8:39 am #

    Anthony, thanks for the kind words… Wow, I'm a die hard Phillies fan and I missed that one. Gotta love Jimmy!

  10. Ohdoctah September 29, 2009 at 5:43 am #

    People love to know someone cares. A lil time goes a long way! Good story for people who think the lil things don't make an impact.


  11. Ohdoctah September 29, 2009 at 5:47 am #

    Your welcome it was a good read!

  12. Sam Taggart October 1, 2009 at 6:20 pm #

    Love you, doctah!

  13. ctiedje October 16, 2009 at 2:11 pm #

    Great post. Truly shows the power of reaching out and responding to your community.


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