Texas Rangers baseball is all Kaylan Eastepp has ever known. She started with the organization as an intern, and now she is tasked with all things social media for the club as the Director of Interactive & Social Media.
Kaylan shares how she handles the constant stream of social media, deals with Japanese sensation Yu Darvish and how Nolan Ryan isn’t nearly as intimidating in the office as he was on the mound.
Click the audio player below to listen or check out the transcription below:
Hi, this is Sam Miller here with Kaylan Eastepp of the Texas Rangers. Kaylan is the director of interactive and social media with the Rangers. Thanks for coming on this phone call with me, Kaylan.
Hey, you’re welcome.
What are your current responsibilities in this position?
I handle TexasRangers.com, managing what content goes where and writing out copy for our sales pages and community pages as well as any other page that’s not maintained by MLB.com. Then I also handle our social media. So Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest. Anything that’s emerging, I’ll also handle that as well.
What’s the Rangers’ strategy as far as social media goes?
The strategy that I use, and I don’t know if it’s any different than any other team, but I try and give the fans the perspective that they’re with me. That they are right by my side. When I’m in the clubhouse, or when I’m talking to the guys, I want to make the fan who’s following along feel like they are getting behind-the-scenes content that they can’t get anywhere else. Our team is really good about having fun and joking around, you know, being active in social media as well. Just trying to provide our fans that behind-the-scenes feel that most times you can’t get.
What are the skills that you use, the biggest skills for your job?
Trying to be everywhere at once. Social media never stops, so just trying to be where I think the most interesting thing will happen. Also, being social with people, talking to the players and making sure that they know that, “Hey, I’m there.” This is what I’m doing, and anything they can help me with also helps our fans. It helps sell tickets, helps get people in the gate. It seems like our guys, like I said before, they’re really good. They get that.
Being organized. With everything happening all at one time and with everything going on, you have to keep a clear direction as to what’s going to happen next, what you need to post, what needs to happen on TexasRangers.com in order to supplement what happens in social media. Just trying to stay organized is one of the key elements that I’ve had to work on.
What lessons have you learned or what advice would you give in doing all that?
I think the key thing for somebody coming in who hasn’t worked for a team before is one, knowing your team. Two, knowing what you say and how it will impact not only what’s online but global. How it may impact the team performance or what somebody might bring up with your board of directors or the executives. How it might impact if somebody is out speaking at an event, and they bring up something that happened in social media. Making sure that those people are aware of things that happened if anything negative comes up so that they’re aware of whatever they are talking about. Keeping people in the loop. Being aware of what it is that you are doing and how it reaches out to so many people at one time.
You talked about knowing your team. How do you encourage guys who are maybe a little bit more reluctant to get involved with social media, whether doing things for you or personally? Or, how do you kind of dissuade guys who kind of push the boundaries of the MLB Social Media Policy?
Guys that aren’t on social media with our team, they still participate in each of the things that we have like Twitter Tuesdays, and we’re having a Tweetup event and trying to get a player lined up for that. They’re great about participating in that stuff. At the same time, if they don’t personally want to join Facebook or Twitter, I’m not trying to encourage them to do so. That’s their own personal life, and I don’t want to encourage them to do something that they’re not comfortable with just so that we have guys on Twitter. The guys we do have on Twitter, the Mike Napolis, Josh Hamilton, Derek Holland, Elvus Andrus, they do their own thing. They have a lot of followers. I don’t really feel like I have to teach them anything or kind of police or anything like that. There was one thing that was posted earlier in the year that had a negative impact. We talked to the guy right away and he pulled it down. No harm done, no hurt feelings. Just “Hey, this isn’t in the best interest of the team.” That was it.
What’s it like working with Nolan Ryan or in his shadow?
Nolan is a great man. He is a wonderful guy. Unlike some other [celebrities], I don’t want to call him a celebrity, he’s here every day. He travels with the team sometimes and has a very good interest in our organization and the people who work here. He’s not all about just baseball and winning and tickets and bottom-line dollars. We have other people here that are into that, but Nolan cares, I think, genuinely, about the people that work for him. He’s a wonderful man in that regard.
How have you dealt with Yu Mania or all the stuff surrounding Darvish?
One day at a time. We have a lot of Japanese media that comes out. It’s interesting to see how our team went from the regular media guys here to all of a sudden it explodes and we have media everywhere. It’s a nice change of pace. It’s difficult to deal with because there’s so many people right around me trying to get pictures and trying to get interviews just as much as I am, but it provides content overseas for us and puts a little more of a spotlight on us as opposed to other teams. As an employee and a fan, I like that.
Was that something that you were able to prepare for at all, just kind of anticipating it? Or was it like, “OK, now I just have to react now that it’s here and make the best of it”?
We have a guy in PR that handles all of this stuff. Our head in PR used to work for the Boston Red Sox when Daisuke [Matsuzaka] was big and was coming over. He knew what to expect and knew that it was going to be a little bit of a madhouse at times. But really, truly, there’s not really a whole lot of [preparation.] It’s just we go with the flow.
If I recall correctly, you have a bit of a personal presence on Pinterest. Is that correct?
I do. I’m on several different social networking sites as myself personally. Using them helps with my role because I’m able to know how a person uses the social media sites from a personal perspective. Not just, I’m going out there as a marketing person or a PR person. I do use some of my thoughts on how I react to things in order to post things that I think will make the most sense for our fans.
Did social media help you land this job?
No, I don’t think so. I don’t think that the people who hired me into this position were necessarily looking at my role in social media from a personal perspective. I’ve worked for the team for a very long time. I’ve worked my way up from the very bottom from being an intern to getting my very first job ever outside of college. In working my way up in order to be in the position that I was in, I was very involved in the digital realm with TexasRangers.com and all our e-mails and global communications. I understand all that stuff. It’s part of my growing up, so I understood more than anybody else that was here. It just naturally made the transition to me handling social media as well.