Part 2 of 4 video interviews with SF Giants – Social Media Director – Bryan Srabian
Despite their recent success on the baseball field, the San Francisco Giants are constantly brainstorming new, creative ways to engage and entertain their fans.
So, when the opportunity was presented to produce a “viral video” with YouTube star Keenan Cahill, the Giants jumped on the opportunity.
Watch the SF Giants – Keenan Cahill video –> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwYZ3LHHERI
Social Media Campaigns – Key Takeaways
In this video clip, Bryan talks about one of their most successful social media campaigns to date. Here are a few of the highlights from this clip:
- Bryan reveals how many “views” he was expecting on the Keenan Cahill video (he was way off!)
- What he was most proud of as a result of the video and how it has impacted other departments within the Giants organization
- Why you don’t need 2.7M views on YouTube to determine success in social media
- Bryan also shares the secret to his success in sports social media (make sure to watch to the end of the video to find out what this is!)
Trevor Turnbull: Speaking of campaigns; one in particular, and I saw you mention it on a video that you did but I’ve also seen the video, the Keenan Cahill video that you did with Brian Wilson, Cody Ross and the mascot. How did that all come about? And for people that aren’t familiar maybe just give a little bit of a description about what it is and why you guys did it.
Bryan Srabian: First of all, and you mentioned it earlier, we do a lot of theme nights with the Giants. Our special events team is pretty amazing; Faham, Cameron, Jeff Tucker; just do a great job everyday from heritage nights to this year’s schedule. We’ve got a few surprises but we’ve got a Bruce Lee tribute night, there’s going to be a Cinco De Mayo celebration, we’ve got a food truck event thats called Off The Cove. We’ve got a lot of innovative and unique ideas that are San Francisco.
Faham comes up to me and asks what I think about Keenan Cahill and I didn’t know the name, per say, and then I looked him up and remembered that he’s the 50 Cent guy because I remember the 50 Cent video. Faham, who contacted Keenan’s manager and kind of pitched the idea. Then I kind of worked with him on the concept and Faham was like, “we should try doing the song ‘Dynamite.'” This is coming off of winning the World Series in 2010, Brian Wilson’s beard was getting bigger and he was kind of becoming a cultural icon.
Literally. Bigger, more popular, everything.
Literally and figuratively, yes.
We had all of this momentum going and the idea behind it was not just to make a video, we weren’t sure if it was going to go viral or not, but to do something unique and then attach Keenan. He has a cause that’s very near and dear to him because he was having a surgery, I don’t know all of the specifics of it, but he had a surgery that was coming up. This event was tied in; there was an event at the ballpark that was going to have 3,000 tickets available and tied in with him and a t-shirt. This was kind of to promote that.
We worked with MLB.com, we worked with Keenan’s people, we filmed the video and it was a simple video and we thought maybe we’d get 50,000 hits and we’d be really excited by that.
By the end of the first week we had 1 million hits on YouTube and that’s something that blew us away.
Not only did we sell out that event but there were more and more fans of Keenan’s and, I guess you could say outside of our market, that became Giants fans. They thought, “wow, these guys are cool look at them. They have this bearded guy and we love the song and Keenan Cahill.” We thought it kind of added to the overall brand and voice of the Giants and it helped us sell tickets, it helped us do something new and unique. Really I was most proud because here’s another department that was in social media.
I think that’s the future; everything will become social in nature. It won’t just be what are you guys doing in social media; everything will have social media attached to it. That was a perfect example.
We’re working on some new ideas for this year in that same vain.
You can’t reveal them here on the video?
I can’t actually. I flew to Los Angeles and had some very interesting meetings and had some stuff that I never thought I’d be doing for a baseball team. Hopefully it comes together but we’re in the planning process of another kind of iconic star in a video. We’ll see what happens.
Cool, interesting. Stay tuned for that everyone as well.
No doubt. That’s a great example. I’m glad that you elaborated on how the whole Keenan Cahill video came together and what the purpose of it was.
Oh yeah, it also appeared live. It was May 25; so for the first time ever he appeared live. I’ve never seen so many people be more excited; it was insane. We had the bleachers, who were with him. If Justin Bieber was there maybe there would be more excitement amongst a younger crowd but literally I’ve never seen anything like it; people we’re going absolutely crazy for him. It was really fun and he’s a great kid. He’s only 16 or 17 and his family was there so it was really neat to see that happen live.
Like I said that night was sold out and it was kind of a new thing for us and I think that’s kind of the cool thing in working for the Giants. We’re always looking to try and do something a little unique because we have that San Francisco kind of market that allows us to be a little different than your traditional baseball setting.
For sure. You went into creating that video with Keenan too without the intention of selling more tickets and building your fanbase and all of these different things, it just happened to result from you guys being creative and doing something that seemed human right?
Yeah. Just stepping out of our traditional way of marketing and trying something new.
Again it wasn’t my idea, I was just happy to be a part of it and say here’s how we can do it. There was a lot of things that happened in place of that to make it successful but we were willing to take that shot and to try it and even the Giants executive team thought we should try it out, let’s see what happens, kind of trusting us to make it happen. Then the press coverage alone just blew us away in terms of what had happened.
It was really fun. It also showed that when people say, “all you have to do is win,” – it’s true and winning drives success but – I think what you do with that momentum is important. Do you just take it and say were world champions or do you try and do new and different things and leverage that momentum. That was kind of cool too.
Yeah. It’s a great point Bryan.
What I was referencing earlier about the top 10 socially engaging teams on Facebook throughout the preseason, I’ll send you this if you haven’t seen it yet but, essentially it’s got a bunch of rankings on there. I dont see the New York Yankees and the Red Sox and some of the bigger teams. I see the Pirates on there, I see the Diamondbacks, I see some of these teams that are in maybe not smaller markets but markets that aren’t as big for the baseball side of things that are doing some really creative stuff. At least that’s what this tells me right here. They’re trying to be creative and find new ways to be able to engage with their fans and hopefully it’s resulting in success all around.
Yeah that’s a the cool thing about social media. Obviously teams like the Giants and Yankees will have more fans than the Pirates but the tools are there and you have the ability to do some great things.
It’s kind of equal – creativity doesn’t cost any money. These tools dont cost any money. You dont need 2.7 million hits on YouTube to be successful. You can do a lot of interesting things within your market and capture and be engaging with your fans. I think that’s what we’re seeing now.
Again, it’s really cool to be able to have success and do this but by no stretch am I saying this is the only way to do it. We’re in this great situation – we’ve won a World Series, we’re still riding the success of the team and we’re able to sell tickets at a higher rate. And we’re still focused on selling tickets but not as much as other teams so that changes our strategy a little bit. At the same time we know that’s not going to last forever; we have to always continue to innovate and be smart about how we market and engage with fans.
It’s always cyclical in sports, you’re going to have your good times and bad times and you’ve got to appreciate the good times but understand and get smart. What would we do if we were in last place and the place was half-filled? What would our strategy be?
Teams like the Pirates and the Royals and the Braves – I’m constantly watching and seeing what they’re doing because I think there’s some great innovations and interesting ways to engage with fans and we’re all learning from each other. I don’t ever want to say we’re the leaders or we did a great job last year and that’s it. It’s always that competitive nature.
In social media you’re listening first always. I know I’m talking a lot on here.
We want to hear from you though. We want to hear what you have to say.
Yeah. I’m always watching and learning what these other teams are doing. I think you’ve got to be OK with saying that other teams are doing more than you and understanding from that and learning from them. I think that helps as well.
Watch for the next video with Bryan where we talk about how the San Francisco Giants are monetizing their social media efforts!
Have you seen the viral video with Keenan Cahill? What do you think of it? Are there any other creative social media campaigns that you’ve seen implemented by your favorite sports team? Leave your comments below and/or send us a tweet to @sportsnetworker
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