Phoenix Coyotes hockey enforcer Paul Bissonnette is a popular guy these days. Although he doesn’t lead his team in scoring or play in hockey hotbed like Toronto or Boston, Bissonnette has a legion of loyal fans following his every move this season. In fact, Bissonnette’s fan club currently has more than 22,000 fans – on Twitter.
Bissonnette, who tweets as now as @BizNasty2point0. He was first known as @PaulBiznasty until an inappropriate comment about fellow player Ilya Kovalchuk made his agent nervous and he shut it down. At the time, he was one of a handful of active NHL players on Twitter. More NHL players have joined Twitter this season than ever before, in part due to Bissonnette’s enormous rising popularity.
Prior to joining Twitter, Paul Bissonnette was a name most familiar to Coyotes fans and hockey fight fans, those fans who religiously watch and discuss NHL bouts on HockeyFights.com. Bissonnette was drafted by the Penguins in the fourth round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. He worked his way up through the minor leagues before he made his NHL debut with the Penguins during the 2008-09 season. He was claimed on waivers by the Coyotes the following year and has been with Phoenix ever since. On a team struggling to sell tickets, he may ironically be the most popular of all his teammates although he doesn’t even play every game
Since he joined Twitter, Bissonnette has become known for his gregarious personality, offbeat sense of humor and willingness to interact with fans through Twitter. Instead of hiding from haters, he embraces them and even laughs along. Bissonnette responds to fan questions and retweets fan comments daily. He uploads photos of his “songs of the day” and even behind the scenes glimpses at life in the NHL, glimpses which show that NHL players really are just people like the rest of us. For an expanded example, take a look at a collaboration of Paul’s funniest tweets.
Bissonnette has created his own personal brand via social media by being personable, funny and engaging. Bissonnette’s success is a testament to what fans want: a real, authentic player whose tweets sound authentic. Athletes that use social media should look at Bissonnette’s account for guidance on how to build a passionate fan following through social media.
What do you think of Bissonnette’s brand? Do you think more athletes should show an edgier, fun side on social media?