I work with professional sports organizations and athletes for a living, consulting them on best practices in social media branding. That being said, before working as a social media consultant (I hate that term), I am a massive sports fan (GO PHILLIES!).
I’ve loved sports for as long as I can remember, and ever since I realized I would not be a professional athlete, I’ve always dreamt of working with them in some capacity. I have several athletes’ numbers stored on my phone, and I would be lying if I said I think it’s no big deal. Because I don’t think that. I think it’s freaking awesome!
That’s why I understand this: a simple @reply goes a long way…
Take a look below. The other day, I sent Kerry Rhodes, Arizona Cardinals’ safety, a tweet congratulating him on his fumble recovery for a touchdown, and his team’s big win over the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints (Note: In full disclosure, Kerry Rhodes is a former client of ours). He replied, “@gosam thx.” A few days prior to that, I hit up Leonard Weaver, the injured fullback from my hometown Philadelphia Eagles. He tweeted that he was hard at work, rehabbing his leg. I replied, “@LeonardWeaver love it man, keep working, get healthy! eagles fans want to see you back!” He tweeted back, “@gosam me too!”
As a social media consultant, I was just proud to see two different athletes taking the time to respond to a tweet I sent them, regardless of how simple and brief their responses may have been. With Kerry, I expected it, because I know his tendencies to respond to everyone he possibly can get to. But with Leonard, I was ecstatic! As a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, getting a response from someone on the team really made me happy! Granted, I know that Leonard tends to reply to as many people as possible as well, but either way, I was thrilled he took the time to get back to me. If you’ve ever gotten a response from a professional athlete (or even someone you simply didn’t expect to get an @reply from), you know the feeling. It’s awesome! There’s nothing more to say.
That’s what makes Twitter so great. Fans and pros can connect like never before. And the 140-character limit makes short responses acceptable. Few fans would complain about getting a reply from a player they supported. I’m seeing more and more athletes using Twitter this way, as a tool to connect with fans. And with every @reply they send, they make another fan’s day. Technology is truly amazing. One day soon, connecting with athletes will be commonplace, when just a few years ago, we never could have dreamt of this.
As sports fans, let’s never forget the truly amazing opportunity social media is providing us with, and let’s never take it for granted.
Have you experienced this from a professional athlete or someone you simply didn’t expect to get an @reply from? Share your story below, would love to hear it!