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 http://bit.ly/3PWTyz.”
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.