As I write this post on Monday afternoon, the day after Opening Sunday (and six hours before kickoff of Monday Night Football), the NFL is being mentioned on Twitter at an extraordinary rate. In the past hour, “NFL” has been tweeted 1,500+ times.
I want to take this as a chance to highlight a missed opportunity for the NFL. In the past four days (Thursday was the first game of the season and yesterday was Opening Sunday), the league has received thousands and thousands of mentions and @replies, yet they’ve failed to respond to a single fan. It’s about time for the league to stop using their account as a news feed. To be fair, the MLB doesn’t do much better, but the NBA and NHL both respond to fans all the time. And you can bet if it were opening day, their feeds would be full of @replies.
Below is a screenshot of the National Football League’s Twitter account, taken from Sunday night through Monday midday.
Yesterday, the NFL tweeted: “Question of the day… TD or no TD? http://fb.me/GwO4MQHk.” Great job by the league! Seriously. They highlighted a controversial play, a play on which everyone seemed to have an opinion (clearly a touchdown). So, excellent job for asking. However, what good is asking a question if you’re not going to pay attention to / acknowledge the answers?
The NFL doesn’t add much value by using their account as a news feed. They provide the same information we can easily find on NFL.com or NFL Network, but the real issue is the lack of interaction. On one of the top two significant days on the NFL’s calendar, when fans across the league were by far at their most interested, passionate, and talkative, the NFL was nowhere to be found.
Fans don’t tweet just to tweet. They want to be heard and acknowledged. All it takes is an intern. Bring on a passionate, football-loving, college student, give him or her some guidelines, and let them go. Interacting with fans is key to building a passionate community. Sure, fans enjoy being responded to by other fans, but when the brand gets involved, you have a real chance to generate excitement and take the community to the next level. Even with 1.715 million followers, the community can always be stronger.
I hope the NFL will learn their lesson and interact, especially on gamedays. Football-related conversation is off the charts on Sundays, and the NFL is missing a valuable opportunity to engage with the very people who make their business thrive.