Snapchat Tips for Social Media + Sports

Snapchat is no longer the new platform on the block. And while it took time for brands and teams to join the party, it is now a staple in many brands’ social media presence.

For those not familiar with the platform, Snapchat is a messaging app focused on sharing “fleeting” moments. Users take a photo or a video, add a caption or doodle and send it to a friend or add it to their Story to share it with everyone. Snaps are set to view for up to 10 seconds, and then they disappear.

There are many reasons your brand, team or league might consider activating on Snapchat. If you are trying to reach a younger demographic, then it is definitely a platform to consider. The platform has 100m+ active users with their core audience being 18 – 24 years old.  Additionally, Snapchat engages users in a more authentic way. Users chose to view your content. The platform has a leg up when it comes to capturing consumers one-on-one attention.

If you decide you want to activate on Snapchat or already have an account and want to ramp it up, here are tips to get you started (with a little help from others in the industry):

 

Have fun.

Snapchat isn’t a platform where users are debating theory and the world’s meaning. It’s a platform that is meant for light-hearted content, silliness and fun. Take a look around you. Watch people’s phone habits. If you spot someone on Snapchat, I guarantee they’re taking a selfie or showcasing something humorous.

It is important for brands, teams and leagues to mimic user habits. Be native and true to the platform. This means brands, teams and leagues cannot take themselves too seriously if they want to succeed on Snapchat. Two of my #smsports friends said it best:

Bottom line. Think like a fan and have some fun.

NASCAR’s Snapchat account is a great example of a brand that does not take itself too seriously on the platform. They’ve embraced the fun, quirky nature of the platform and found a way to create content that is entertaining— whether or not you’re a NASCAR fan.

 

Focus on people.

Snapchat content is raw and full of first-hand perspectives. Typically, people and personalities are the center of the content. A people-first approach is a great way for teams and leagues to handle Snapchat. Step away from the ticket sale plugs and promos; let your players and personnel show a peek inside their lives and personalities.

There are many ways to get your people and personalities involved in the content, from “digi” autographs to full Snapchat takeovers. Here’s a look at some people-first content from the MLS (many of this content comes from takeovers):

A great case study for this is @OU_Players. The Oklahoma Athletics Snapchat account has a niche focus: The sole perspective of its student-athletes. Yes, their Snapchat account is in the hands of its players (hence the name). This approach is strong for several reasons. First, it really stays true what type of content performs well on the platform. Forget the corporate promos, @OU_Players is going to be a real and raw. Secondly, it defines a unique niche for Oklahoma’s Snapchat presence, providing a point-of-view fans won’t see consistently on their other platforms. It’s a smart strategy!

 

Cross-promote the account.

Snapchat doesn’t have hashtags where users can search rich content and stumble upon your account. It’s important to cross promote your account because of that. Focus on promoting it during the launch, special campaigns, unique content initiatives, etc.

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Snapchat has also made it easy for users to add friends through custom QR codes. To add someone, users take a photo of someone’s QR code using the Snapchat camera. Take a screenshot of your account’s QR code from your phone and promote that picture on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. To add your team account, all a fan has to do is open the app, point the camera at their computer screen (and on the ghost) and tap. You can even customize your QR code with a unique look and feel (directions here). A simple and cool way to cross-promote your account! Below are two examples of customizing the QR code.

 

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If you don’t promote it, fans won’t find it!

 

Enlist creatives.

There is a whole world of creative people on Snapchat telling stories through a unique lens and fantastic doodles. Find those creatives who are also passionate about your team, league and brand to enlist them for a takeover during a game, event, etc. Using Snapchat influencers/creative people can help tell the story in a unique way and even bring other people into your account (if they cross-promote).

You can also look internally for people on your team who don’t work in social, but have a knack for drawing or are power Snapchat users. Can they provide a unique perspective and collaborate on the account in a way that adds value? Don’t go at the Snapchat journey alone. Make it interesting. Enlist creative Snapchat users.

If you want to see what a true Snapchat influencer can create, check out Shonduras here.

 

Engage fans.

It’s important to find unique ways to get fans to interact and engage with your content on Snapchat. This helps foster a deeper relationship with your fans and will have them coming back to your stories and snaps over and over again.

There are many ways to engage fans on the platform. From doodle contests to unique promotions, below are a few case study examples.

Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs asked fans to submit their own doodles of Jamaal Charles for a chance to win a prize. To get more out of the use-generated content and engagement, the digital team used the graphics on their site as a photo gallery for more staying power. This is a great way to engage fans and see their creativity.

Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning participate in an annual tradition surrounding the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs known as the Beard-a-Thon® to raise money for the Moffitt Cancer Center. This year they encouraged Lightning fans to join them in the campaign.

One of the ways fans joined the campaign was to share their beards on Snapchat to LightningNHL or post them on twitter with #BoltsBeards to be featured on the Lightning beard gallery. The Lightning got more than 500 submissions. And like the Chiefs, this was a great way to rally fans and get them involved.

#BoltsBeards

MLS Snapchat Voting
This year the MLS turned to Snapchat to have fans vote for the all-star captain. To vote, all fans had to do was take a screenshot of the player they wanted. The prompt to have fans take a screenshot is a unique way to engage fans, and it definitely works well as a voting mechanism.

 

Use the features.

Snapchat has several features that make the platform unique from photo filters to doodling. These features are part of what makes the platform fun. Leverage them to make the content stand out.

Unsure how to unlock all the features? Below is a video that shows you unique Snapchat tips from the full color wheel, unlimited text, creating an animation and more. There are many videos like this on YouTube. A simple “Snapchat tips” search will unlock hours of distractions and unlimited potential.

 

Unlock the geofilter.

Snapchat allows users to upload geofilters, which are special overlays for Snaps that can only be accessed in certain locations. To leverage, simply choose the geographic area you want your filter to be available in and upload an image asset (more info here). Geofilters are a great way to leverage brand ambassadors and have others promote your team. Here’s an example of some geofilters:

MLS actually held a geofilter contest that also ties back to enlisting creative and engaging the community. For the start of the season, the league offered fans the opportunity to design original geofilters for four different MLS markets during opening weekend. To enter, fans had to post their original artwork on Twitter using the hashtag #MLSsnapchat for a chance to win. The league selected one overlay for each market to win. Here’s a look at the winners:

 

Tell a story.

Snapchat Stories are a way to add Snaps together to create a narrative. Think flipbook. When you add a Snap to your Story, it lives for 24 hours under “Recent Updates” where friends can explore it at their leisure before it disappears. This is the key for brands: Instead of having to send a Snap to every Snapchat friend individually (and spamming them), users and brands can now add a Snap to their Story that lives for 24 hours for their entire Snapchat audience to consume.

Brands and teams can now reach the masses on Snapchat and not worry about one-on-one messaging. This update eliminates tedious work for brands, opens the door for long-form content and allows teams to push out content without annoying their fans (since fans decide if they want to view it.

The key to great Stories on Snapchat is to focus on quality Snaps and an interesting narrative. Do not just throw content on at your fans; think about an interesting way to piece together Snaps that relevant, interesting and fun. James Royer of the Kansas City Chiefs said it best:

Think of the stories at the narrative. Be artful, strategic and add value.

 

Give a glimpse inside.

Because content on Snapchat is often raw, behind-the-scenes looks work really well on the platform. Find ways to piece together narratives that give fans access; some them something they don’t see through traditional coverage. This will help build a stronger bond with fans.

Takeovers, as mentioned above, are a great way to give fans a glimpse inside. Don’t be afraid to look beyond the players to see who else can host takeovers. From coaches to the operations staff, there are a lot of ways to give fans a look inside the team, league or season.

The Saints do a good job of giving fans inside access from their account:

I hope these tips help you as you brainstorm ways to use the platform. And in case you need a little more inspiration, here’s some additional, awesome Snapchat content from leagues and teams:

 


 

 

What tips do you have for Snapchat? Be sure to share them, along with your favorite follows, below! 

Thanks for reading. 

Under Armour Uses Hashtags to Rally Community

It’s the “social” in social media that sets it apart from other mediums. Social media gives brands a first-hand connection to consumers unlike traditional methods of advertising. Brands need to practice listening and interacting to make the most of the platforms. Why? Because this builds community, relationships, advocates and likability.

All too often though brands forget the “social” though. They push, preach and sell when they should be cultivating, conversing and storytelling. They add noise to the Internet instead of building relationships/community.

Let’s face it: Building a community online is a commitment. It’s not a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job, but an all-the-time gig. It means stepping away from your agenda and adding value to the consumer, while also accomplishing goals and the bottom line. It means treating your online consumer as an individual and not just a click metric.

The past few weeks Under Armour executed two great social media plays. They brought fans into the story, built up community and were all about interacting. Below is a quick look at the two examples.

 

Misty Copeland

When Misty Copeland became the first African American principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, Under Armour found a unique way to shower her with congrats from their social media community. They encouraged fans to congratulate Misty using #PrincipalMisty. The more times consumers used the hashtag, the more flowers UA would deliver to Misty.

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Under Armour followed through on their promise, delivering a SUV full of flowers to Misty. As an added touch, the bouquet of flowers even featured some of the tweets. This was all documented on social media for their community to see too.

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This was a great call-to-action that put meaning and power behind a hashtag. It also rallied their community.

 

Pull Fans Into Content

During the first day of The Open, Under Armour hosted a #SpiethOver asking fans to show their support for Jordan Spieth. As the tweets of support came in, UA turned the tweets into content. This continued throughout the tournament.

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This is social media at its best. It pulls fans into Under Armour’s community, content and story. It shows consumers that Under Armour is listening. And, it makes them feel important and valued. Interactions like this go a long way in building brand loyalty.

So, what can you learn from these two great social media plays? Here are three simple takeaways:

Give hashtags meaning.
Consumers/fans won’t just use a hashtag because you told them to. Put meaning behind hashtags like Under Armour did. Give fans a meaningful call-to-action that will incentivize them to rally.

Keep the idea simple.
With any social media campaign, the idea should be easy to digest. If you can’t articulate it eloquently in 140 characters or less, then it’s too complicated. The ideas from Under Armour were simple: Use a hashtag to make x happen. Fans got it and they acted. Simple ideas are memorable and easier to act upon. Don’t make the point of entry difficult or fans will move on.

Bring fans in to build community.
Community is key in social media. If fans/consumers feel included, then they will be more likely to share and spread your content. Make your social media platforms a community by listening, interacting and pulling fans into your content. Social media is not just a broadcast channel; don’t treat it as such.

 


 

 

What other ways have you seen brands and teams rally their community? Share an examples you have below!

Thanks for reading! 

The Missing Social Platform from MLB’s Home Run Derby

Guest Post by Adam Navarrete

Last night’s Home Run Derby was an action-packed event that featured new faces and a new bracketed format. But what was missing from the festivities was usage of one of the newest social media platforms. To be fair, it wasn’t until after the Home Run Derby was over that it dawned on me:

Of the seven teams represented (Angels, Blue Jays, Cubs, Dodgers, Orioles, Rangers, & Reds), not one team used Periscope to broadcast a single at-bat from their Home Run Derby contestant, or any other content for that matter.

Taking a closer look, all seven teams (as well as Major League Baseball) have a Periscope account. And collectively, they have 128,805 followers standing by for what could have been unique access to the #HRDerby. Instead, out of the seven teams and the MLB:

    – Eight hadn’t updated their bios from what was pulled in from Twitter
    – Five hadn’t uploaded a profile pictures
    – Four hadn’t streamed for the first time
    – And all eight hadn’t streamed within 24 hours of the Home Run Derby

 

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Up to this point in the season, both fans and teams have been streaming everything from games to press conferences to batting practices. So missing the opportunity to share behind-the-scenes content during the Home Run Derby seemed strange. And it wasn’t due to lack of interest.

A quick search on Twitter revealed fans were using Periscope to share the moment, with one of the better ones being Todd Frazier’s final at-bat that was shared from on the field by Juan Pablo Galavis, a former professional soccer and The Bachelor contestant.

 

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The five and a half minute clip shows Juan Pablo sitting on the American League’s side of the field, talking to All-Stars and tracking Frazier’s home runs. And it is a perpetual heart-explosion the entire time while viewers commented things like: I’m loving this, that’s amazing and thanks for doing this!

Eight hours remain in the 24-hours time limit since Juan Pablo’s Periscope went live, and so far, it has had more than 6,887 replay views, 68 live views and generated 17,872 hearts. There’s no doubt the interest in the Home Run Derby was there. According to Topsy, there were over 243,000 #HRDerby tweets last night.

 

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Of course, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Vine were all utilized by teams during the evening, which makes Periscope’s absence even more conspicuous. Here are several unique scenarios that come to mind where teams could have used Periscope:

    – Inside the batting cage tunnels
    – On the sidelines with other players and their families
    – Post-round interviews with the contestant
    – Allowing fans to ask questions to the players
    – Players answering questions and saying “thank you” to fans
    – Interviewing the Home Run Derby winner

Social media is no longer perceived as a megaphone. It’s a means of engaging, conversing and rewarding fans. And, Periscope could have been an opportunity for teams to engage and reward fans through a unique point of view.

It would be interesting to know if the lack of Periscope usage during the Home Run Derby was a conscience decision to not use this new platform by individual teams and/or Major League Baseball. I’ll be paying closer attention to tonight’s All-Star Game to see if teams use Periscope or not. One thing is for sure though: Whatever reasons teams had for not using Periscope, it’s important for all of us in the industry to embrace – not fear – new technology that would enable us to provide fans with new and exciting access to their favorite players and teams.

 


 

This is a guest post by Adam Navarrete, co-founder & CMO at IdealSeat. Adam’s playing fields are digital media and sports marketing. Connect with him on Twitter at @AdamNavarrete.

Four Solid Social Media Ideas from Wimbledon

The Wimbledon social media team has aced the coverage of this year’s tournament. From fantastic photos to a strong Snapchat presence, they are serving up great content over and over again. To help deliver up some inspiration to you, I’ve compiled four of my favorite ideas coming out of Wimbledon’s social media accounts. These ideas can transfer over easily to the work you do.

 

Leverage Vine Creativity

Wimbledon launched a series called #14VinesForWimbledon that features one fun, creative Vine everyday during the tournament. I like the idea of committing to one unique Vine each day; it’s a great way to focus the content plan. Here is a look at a few of the Vines shared:

 

 

 

Vine is a great platform to unleash creativity. The platform has a community of amazing artists on it that brands and teams can leverage (like #FortyViners does). Vine also integrates seamlessly into Twitter, so the content not only adds value to your Vine community but also your Twitter audience. It’s worth figuring how to leverage the platform in unique and surprising ways.

The biggest lesson from #14VinesForWimbeldon is to have a content plan and stick to it. The idea of 14 Vines for 14 days allows the Wimbledon social media team to focus on creating good content. They know what they want to deliver without over-promising. It’s the focus that allows them to create top-notch Vines and the theme ties into nicely with the event.

 

Instagram Simplicity

Take a look through Wimbledon’s Instagram account and you’ll notice the focus is on one thing: Great photos. There’s something powerful in the simplicity of letting the photos tell the story on Instagram. After all, it’s a platform with a clear focus on visuals.

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The lesson here is you don’t have to put any design work behind the content on Instagram. Reserve your best and brightest photography for the platform. There’s no need to distract people from beautiful images when that’s why they’re coming to Instagram for.

 

Approach Win Graphics Differently

Win graphics tend to focus on the final score. Wimbledon is mixing this up by highlighting the theme of the match in their winners’ graphics. I like this idea because it tells the story (very simply) of the match and tugs at emotions. Here’s a look at a few of them:

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A Spin on Play-by-Play

Twitter and social media is all about enhancing the second screen. The coverage should not detract from the television broadcast (if it’s on TV), but enhance the viewing experience. Many teams are moving away from straight play-by-play. It can add a lot of noise to your Twitter stream, so it’s important to think through on how you approach live game coverage. What adds value to the fans?

Wimbledon has added value to play-by-play by including a photo with every match comment. It tells an emotional and compelling story. And, fans love visuals!

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At the end of the day, social media coverage is not about documenting every single moment. It’s about highlighting the moments that evoke emotion. It’s about resonating with your fans. Add value, not noise.

 

So there you have it! Four great ideas from Wimbledon that you can easily implement into your social media plan. Be sure to check out their accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more inspiration.

 

 


What stands out to you about Wimbledon’s social media coverage? Share your thoughts below!

Thanks for reading! 

Lessons from US Soccer’s Coverage of the Women’s World Cup

The verdict is out! The US Soccer Women’s Team didn’t just win with their on-the-field performance; they also won with their social media strategy. From great behind-the-scenes coverage to fantastic graphics, their approach to social was some of the best we’ve seen in the industry. Many in the #smsports community agree.

With all the great coverage, what can we takeaway? Below are some thoughts on the lessons learned from US Soccer’s rockstar approach to covering the World Cup.

 

No. 1- Plan for what you can control.

The social media and sports industry is a weird beast because you have to plan for the unexpected. Social media managers can’t predict the outcome, but there is still a large need to prep.

In most industries evergreen content is staple. For sports, it’s real-time content. It’s not an option to create content in the moment; it’s just an option of how well you do it.

Looking through US Soccer’s content, it is clear they didn’t focus on what they couldn’t control. Instead, they planned for what they could control. This is key to winning the live coverage game.

Want to see actual examples? Here is a look at some of the ways they planned for the World Cup.

Graphics
It’s clear US Soccer did a lot of prep work with graphics because of the speed at which they were able to turn them out. If they had not prepped, then they would not have been able to share them instantaneously.

In addition to the speed, the graphics looked sharped (as @jackie_berra pointed out). The branding was crisp and clean and the template design was often tweaked to mix up the look and feel (without stray from the branding). Through a long tournament or long season it’s a great idea to mix up the look and feel a bit for fresh graphics. Here’s a look at a few of the graphics shared during the tournament:

 

 

Features and Videos
Along with creating a look and feel for the graphics, US Soccer also did a lot of prep work with videos and features. The features, like “One Team. One Nation. 23 Stories” helped fans get to know the players on a more personal level. It’s important to look beyond the field and tap into stories of the team, just like US Soccer did.

 

 

 

The team did not let these features and videos go to waste either. They had them in the queue for whenever there was an opportunity to promote a player. Here’s an example:

 

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No. 2- Bring fans inside the journey.

Behind-the-scenes content is important in sports. After all, there is a lot more to a team’s journey than on-the-field action and scores. Strong social media coverage brings fans beyond the scoreboard and inside the team’s journey; it taps into the heartbeat of the team, community and players.

Behind-the-scenes content is important for several reasons:

First, this content is often exclusive to the team or league. In the noisy world of social media, inside access provides value to fans. They crave it.

Emotion evokes people to share. And, sports are emotional. They’re even more emotional when you tell a story beyond the game itself. Tug at people’s emotions with the full storyline. Let them get to know the people behind the jerseys.

Finally, it helps to humanize the team. It is easier to connect with the team/players when fans see players off the field in more intimate and familiar moments. Behind-the-scenes content of the day-to-day makes players a little relatable.

US Soccer’s access for the Women’s World Cup was beyond anything we have seen. From the players relaxing at the hotel room to locker room access after their win, US Soccer did a fantastic job of giving fans a look behind the curtain.

 

 

No. 3- Great content trumps gimmicks.

US Soccer didn’t have a sassy, sarcastic or off-the-wall brand voice, but their reach was out this park. Why? Because they focused on good content and storytelling.

There is a trend in social media and sports to push the envelope when it comes to brand voice, even when it doesn’t reflect the organization. US Soccer proves that if teams focus on good content and tell a story, then they can rally fans and generate excitement. Of course winning doesn’t hurt, but the team had great engagement even before their winning streak began.

You don’t have to resort to gimmicks to win on social media. If you stay true to your brand, share content that adds value and engage with your fans then you’ll put together a winning presence.

 

No. 4- Immediacy is key.

It’s important for teams and organizations to focus on being in “the moment” with fans. Fans should feel like they are sitting in the living room with the team reacting in person. Being immediate with coverage is important for several reasons. First, emotions are higher right after something happens (and emotions cause people to share). Second, if you aren’t one of the first to the story you’ll get lost among the noise.

The conclusion is out too. US Soccer did a really good job with their speed of coverage:

Here’s a look at some of the content they were able to roll out during games with near real-time photos:

 

 

If you want to step up your game coverage, take the time to work through a process and flow. It’s impossible to cover a game solo and do everything you want. Find ways to work with your photographer, designers (creating templates ahead of time), video staff, etc. It takes teamwork to be immediate and add value.

 

No. 5- Tap into your network.

US Soccer again (like they did in the Men’s World Cup) mobilized fans, teams, celebrities, etc. online in an impactful way. Their influencer campaign worked because it tapped into US pride and went beyond the sphere of soccer to draw in fans that otherwise might not follow the tournament.

 

Here’s a look some of the people that chimed in their support:

 

 

My guess is US Soccer did a ton of planning with their influencer program. Even then, they also did a great job listening online to leverage to influencers who chimed in organically. Not only did they retweet ambassadors, but sometimes they got creative. Here’s a good example of how they included Tom Hanks in an impromptu way:

 

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If your team wants to attract a wider audience, a smart and strategic influencer campaign could be a great place to start. Take the time to strategically mobilize people online and listen ambassadors you can reward.

 

No. 6- Build an emotional connection with fans.

Social media is not just about pushing all the time; it’s about building a community and engaging with fans. While US Soccer didn’t have the chance to engage with fans all the time, they did find unique ways to bring fans into the community and build a more personal connection.

One of my favorite examples is from US Soccer’s #SheBelieves campaign. US Soccer fielded questions from fans on Twitter. They then selected certain questions and let players share words of encourage and advice through video. What an amazing personal piece of content for fans (and something even other fans liked to watch).

US Soccer also got creative with fan-generated content, even using motivational tweets in the team’s locker room. Here are two examples (submitted  by @_KyleBruce).

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All of these gestures help build an emotional connection with fans. They lets fans know the team is listening and cares.

 

No. 7- Find the team’s theme.

Every season and every year is different. It’s important for social media managers to tap into their team’s story and theme; it helps to build a more a storyline and differentiate the way you approach content year after year.

US Soccer did a great job of rallying around a theme for their team. The theme was 23 strong. The emphasis was that person on the team could and would make an impact. This was not just a one-man team, but a roster of 23 impact players. Here are some great examples of the content they produced around this theme:

 

 

 

As you can see, there is a lot for us to takeaway from US Soccer’s coverage of the Women’s World Cup. And, this list just skims the surface. If you have an interest in social media and sports, then I highly recommend you take the time to look through US Soccer’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram  account for inspiration. The case study will be worth your time!

 


 

 

Now let us know. What stood out to you about US Soccer’s coverage of the Women’s World Cup?

Thanks for reading!