(This is a Guest Post by Joseph Yi)
Sitting on a panel with some of the Bay areas leading social media professionals from teams like the San Francisco Giants and Sacramento Kings, a recurring discussion was the benefits that social media had as a branding tool. While we’ve seen plenty of examples on how athletes are using social media as a public relations and branding tool, many forget about the teams themselves.
With nearly every professional sports team having some presence on Facebook and Twitter, sports teams are faced with the difficult decision of having to decide how their organization and brand will interact with fans.
Before moving forward though and discussing how sports teams are using social media to maximize their brand exposure, we need to take a step back to look at how sports teams first used social media.
In its’ earliest stages of adoption, sports teams used social media primarily as a news feed where they could post updates and articles. While there was nothing wrong with this, sports teams weren’t maximizing its potential. With minimal fan interaction, little direction as far as best practices and strategies, and their respective leagues trying to develop digital media rules, sports teams were essentially driving blindly through social networks.
Fast forward now to the present and sports teams have come a long way since then. From league and team rules that regulate what can and can’t be done on social networks, along with best practices on how to use social media assets, teams are on the right track. A great example of this is to look at the Los Angeles Lakers and how they have effectively used social media to extend their brand into the digital space.
While every NBA team has a presence on Facebook and Twitter, the Lakers have extended their brand by branching in different directions through team personalities. Aside from team players on Twitter and Facebook, other Lakers personnel included under the Lakers social media umbrella are Lakers Reporter Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) and EVP of Business Operations, Jeanie Buss (@JeanieBuss).
By giving non-players associated with the Lakers a voice, the organization has in turn built a community for fans to interact with. While the Lakers engage with fans through their team’s Facebook and Twitter account, personalities like Jeanie help stimulate conversation with fans and also help to humanize the brand.
Additionally, the Lakers further their brand value by utilizing their social networks to funnel users to their league site, Lakers.com, and their official fan engagement site, my.Lakers.com.
The Lakers are just one of many sports teams that are maximizing their brands reach through social media. From the NBA to the NFL, teams are able to expand their brand while at the same time creating an impactful relationship with each of their fans.
Joseph is the Social Media & Marketing Solutions Manger at GAGA Sports & Entertainment. He has 7 years of experience working in social media and the digital space and started his first business venture as freshman in college. Prior to joining GAGA Sports & Entertainment, Joseph specialized in brand management and developed social media marketing strategies for organizations and corporate brands. At GAGA, Joseph works with professional sports teams, including the Lakers, Clippers, and San Francisco 49ers, where he develops engaging content as well as social media and digital strategies to help teams better understand and engage their fans. Additionally, he is a guest speaker and panelist at universities and social media events and has mentored several sports industry professionals regarding their social media assets.