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Three Tips for Successful Social Media in Sports

urlAthletes, sport franchises and marketers continue to push the social media envelope. While the industry continues to innovate how they incorporate their social media messaging to foster and engage with fans, what we have to start asking is, how much is too much? In recent years, Twitter handles and hashtags have been placed on courts or fields, and more and more teams are attempting to put their Twitter handles on jerseys and warm-ups.

These types of activations can be perceived as exciting and innovative. But before you move forward with any type of activation, you have to establish your goals and objectives. The same way you would approach a client or partners is what you should apply to your social media strategy. It’s always great to be the one to lay claim as first to market with an idea. It can provide great exposure for a brand and showcase how innovative a marketing team can be, however I wonder if we’re over-saturating the market.

Just because you slap a social media ID on something, doesn’t mean it’s going to be a success. Remember, the goal of promoting social media at any event it to enhance the game, not detract. Your overall messaging should work to serve a unique purpose to engage your fans.

Incorporating Social Media Into Your Sports Activation:

warriors-twitter-night21. Enhance the Experience, Don’t Distract From It 

Take a look at the activation the Golden State Warriors recently executed for their social media night. They incorporated the team’s Twitter handle and hashtags on the team’s shooting shirts, along with a number of other social media activations. It was unique but it didn’t distract from what’s important, the game experience. At the end of the day does having a Twitter handle on jerseys enhance the game? Will it make you tweet to a player more frequently? For me personally, I say no.

Placing Twitter handles on game jerseys is no doubt unique, but there’s plenty of opportunity to promote individual player’s social ID through a number of activations including scoreboard or LED boards, game programs, a team website, etc. Don’t make it harder for fans to follow the game, especially if they aren’t familiar with the team. The last thing you want is for your social media activity to become a distraction or irritation.

url-12. Define Your Goals

From a business standpoint, you want to learn as much about your fan base as possible, and turn your passionate fans into customers.

To achieve that from a success standpoint, you need to define measurable goals and put forth objectives that help you obtain those goals.

Start by answering the “WHY” question. Once you start answering these important questions, your evaluation and assessments will help you define where you are and how to move the needle.

url-23. Engage

It’s the golden rule of social media. When promoting social media at a sporting event, you want fans to go to the platform and engage right away. There are plenty of teams that do a great job engaging with fans pre, during and post game with content. The biggest thing to remember is when your fans are going to be ready to engage. You want to have a product that your fans are incredibly passionate about, and therefore, they’re willing to share with their friends.

It’s great to see the way that social is morphing into the physical world. However, throwing a Twitter handle or hashtag anywhere is not always a brilliant social media tactic. There are still core marketing tactics that you must adhere to, to help align with strategy and define success. What teams/leagues are at the forefront of social media execution? What teams do you think do a nice job of balancing their social media activations?

Comment below on how you think teams should interact on social media. Make sure to like SportsNetworker’s official Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @SportsNetworker

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23 Responses to Three Tips for Successful Social Media in Sports

  1. Justin February 26, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    Great post. I think that The Golden State Warriors are a great example of a club that not only participates well in social media but are a highly marketable club. I am a Nuggets fan but there is something exciting about the Warriors, they are young, talented, can shoot other NBA teams out of the gym. I think the short sleeve Adidas uniforms they are sporting are not attractive and yet it was such a nice storyline throughout the Warriors Vs. Spurs game last week. NBA teams are constantly changing their marketing especially with uniforms (colors, logos, etc.). The short-sleeve performance jerseys are the only ones that are truly unique however. Definitely eye-catching.

  2. Mike Wisniewski February 26, 2013 at 11:16 am #


    Thanks for the comments. I agree the Warriors are a great example of a team that’s leading innovation in marketing across the board (i.e. short-sleeve jerseys).

    They do a great job with content planning both during the season and offseason.

    It will be exciting to see what they do next.

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