In November 2009, I introduced a series of articles I called ‘Social Media Report Card,’ where I graded each of the four major sports leagues – NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB – on their social media presence. I made a point of being harsh. In particular, I criticized each of the leagues for only utilizing the major platforms (Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube) and not adopting some of the emerging platforms (Tumblr, Dailybooth, and Ustream), as well as for not interacting enough with the fans. The series received a lot of positive feedback, so I’ve decided to continue with my ‘Social Media Report Cards,’ this time focusing on individual athletes.
I chose to start with Steve Nash for a few reasons. First, Nash is one of my favorite athletes from any sport right now, which is saying a lot since I am typically a hometown fan (Phillies, Eagles, Sixers). Second, he has always been incredibly entertaining to watch on the court, and has also done some really cool and fun stuff off the court. Third, I think he is one of the most underrated social media users in the sports world. So without further ado, here we go!
Steve Nash might have joined Twitter because of his former teammate, and social media rock star Shaquille O’Neal (@The_Real_Shaq & @The_Real_Nash), but he has fully embraced it and created a really great presence. He has more than 110,000 followers. Nash is also on Facebook, with over 575,000 fans. And to complete the trifecta, he has a YouTube account where he has racked up more than 630,000 total upload views. Before all of these, Nash was challenging fans to competitions (e.g. most free throws in a minute, staring contest) on Baron Davis’ social network, I Beat You. While I haven’t seen him go live on Ustream or snap photos on DailyBooth, Nash has embraced social media across a variety of platforms.
Content is where Steve Nash shines. He is very creative and has a great sense of humor. Have you seen the video where he asks fans to vote for him in the 2010 All Star game? Or the ‘Step Brothers’ parody trailer he shot with Baron Davis? There was also the video he shot, and presumably organized, of his Phoenix Suns teammates singing Lionel Richie’s ‘All Night Long.’
If you head to SteveNash.org, his organization’s website, you’ll see that Nash also knows how to organize a great promotion. He is giving away a pair of signed, game-worn shoes to someone who donates to the foundation on six different dates. Pretty cool.
Fan Interaction (B)
Nash picks and chooses who he interacts with. On Facebook, he never gets into the comments from the fans, however in some status updates, he does specifically mention how much he appreciates their interaction. On Twitter, Nash occasionally retweets a fan and adds commentary of his own, but he engages more with high profile users than average fans. The thing that saves him is that a lot of his videos are really calls to action to the fans. He engages and interacts through his videos, by asking them to beat him in a competition, or vote for him in the All Star game. The fact that he films most of his videos with a Flip cam and speaks directly to the audience makes him more personal than most.
Professional athletes have demanding schedules, especially during the season, and I don’t expect them to be spending all of their free time on social media. By posting every couple of days (on average) on Facebook, and nearly every day on Twitter, Nash is doing a solid job. During the off season, I would hope to see him get a little more involved.
The most important part of using social media, for a brand, is authenticity. The fact that Steve Nash creates very personal content and seems to be behind all of his social media endeavors means a lot. My biggest critique is the lack of interaction with his fans through Twitter and Facebook. I may be a little biased because of my Nash fanboy status, but I really do think that he is underrated, especially from a content standpoint. I’m just looking forward to what he does next.
What do you think of Steve Nash’s social media presence? Were you paying attention to him before you read this article? Who would you like me to highlight in future editions of ‘Social Media Report Card’?