Solid #SMSports Ideas for Inspiration

There’s inspiration in this industry everywhere you look. From stellar content to new ways to leverage the platforms, teams and leagues are constantly innovating. Below are several solid ideas I’ve come across recently that are worth noting, remembering and tucking away for inspiration.

1- Oregon Ducks: Facebook Live Roll Call

Oregon found a unique way to leverage Facebook Live as a way to not simply push a broadcast but also to engage. They held a roll call where they encouraged fans to comment where they were tuning in, then they mapped out fans across the US in real-time. The broadcast earned more than 52,000 views and 4,000 comments.

 

 

I love this on so many levels. Social media is not just about pushing out information; it is also about pulling fans into your brand. As the platforms continue to evolve and new tools are added, we have to find ways to leverage them to build community. This is a perfect example of that.

 

2- Braves: 360 Schedule Release

The Braves found a clever and unique way to bring their schedule to life way beyond a graphic or a GIF. Like the Ducks, the Braves leveraged a new(er) tool on Facebook to get fans to interact, creating a 360 photo to unveil their 2017 schedule.

 

 

It’s easy to get caught up in how things are always done, but when we take the time to step back to figure out creative solves, amazing work is done. Don’t get stuck using content, tools, etc. the same way you always do. Think outside the box and innovate to bring fans in, like the Braves did.

 

3- Colorado: Illustrations

It can be hard to find a way to mix up your content week after week. The Colorado Buffaloes stepped up their GIF game with dynamic illustrations. While it might be too labor intensive to do these every game, they would be a great series for a rivalry game, big moment, etc. It’s a great way to diversify your content and mix it up.

 

4- Cincinnati: Snapchat Geofilter

A lot of teams and leagues are taking advantage of Snapchat’s geofilters. They are cost efficient and a great way to empower fans in stadium to share on behalf of your brand. There have been some fantastic ones so far in the sports industry, like this one from Cincinnati.

What I really love about Cincinnati’s geofilter is it plays into the way fans use Snapchat Lenses, but is much more cost efficient. No, the helmet doesn’t animate like lenses, but it still “transforms” their fans into a Cincinnati player versus having a branded, text overlay for fans to share.

 

5- Dodgers: #DearVin Campaign

Before Vin Scully’s last game with the Dodgers, the team encouraged fans to submit letters to him using #DearVi. They then took some of the UGC content and turned into content for their own channels. This is a great way to get fans involved and thank them for participating (with zero cost except time).

An excerpt from @amyclizabeth's #DearVin letter. Keep those letters coming, #DodgerFam!

A photo posted by Los Angeles Dodgers (@dodgers) on

 


 

What other great ideas have you seen in the industry lately? Share them below.

Tips for Instagram Stories + Inspiration

When Instagram Stories first came out, everyone likened it to Snapchat Stories. That’s on the surface though. The tool is actually a completely different opportunity. Instagram Stories sets itself apart form Snapchat because it lets you upload content you’ve created (swipe down to upload). This means you can tell your story in a more meaningful, dynamic and interesting way.

Teams and leagues are already starting to develop unique ways to leverage Instagram Stories, from awesome replays to gameday hype videos. Below are three things to keep in mind when using the tool, plus loads of inspiration from some of the best Stories I’ve seen in the business.

 

1- Don’t treat it like Snapchat.

Let’s be honest, we’ve seen enough players running onto a field to last us a lifetime. Instagram Stories is not the place for long, drawn-out raw footage that looks the same over and over again. Take advantage of the fact you can upload content and make it worth your fans’ time.

This doesn’t mean that everything has to be super polished, but it does mean that you can plan. Define your story, the purpose and execute right.

 

2- Find synergy.

There’s an interesting opportunity to find synergies between your in-feed posts and Instagram Stories. How can you leverage the tool to drive deeper storytelling in a moment?

For example, maybe at the end of the game you have your final score graphic and leverage Stories to showcase “plays of the game”. Use in-feed post to drive people to Stories (or vice versa) and let the two work together and drive more consumption of your content.

There are also opportunities to drive engagement for fans. Red Bull, for example, leveraged Instagram Stories to have users pick their favorite photo to be used a post. Think out-of-the-box as the opportunities are endless.

 

3- Test and learn.

So as mentioned in the first bullet, I think that there’s an opportunity for more polished content on Instagram Stories. But, maybe that’s not what consumers want? The beauty of this tool, and the rest of social, is that it’s okay to test and learn. Try a more polished story, then try a raw story. Try uploading photos versus video. See where consumers stay the most engaged by watching your drop off rate. As a marketing, it’s your job to figure out and understand what your audience wants.

 
And one more thing before we get to the fun part (inspiration): Don’t slap your Stories content everywhere. Define a unique approach for each platform and think strategically about where it (and vertical video) makes sense. There is something to be said for content created specifically for each platform.

Now enjoy your Instagram Stories inspiration from some of the best in the business:@MiamiDolphins, @BoilerFootball, @MLB, @huskerfbnation, @clemsonfb, @clevelandbrowns, @Dodgers.
 

 


 

What’s your initial reaction to Instagram Stories? Share your thoughts below.

 

Thanks for reading! 

2016 Football Hype Videos

Another football season, means another season of epic hype videos that will give you all the chills. I’ve put together a collection of some of the best ones I’ve stumbled upon for you to enjoy.

 

Gators

The Gators go way beyond campus in their hype video and tap into affinity throughout the entire state. The emotional, strong nod to Florida makes this one a winner.

 

Philadelphia Eagles

Working with 160over90, the Eagles always have strong hype videos that go well beyond the field. They focus on the city. The community. The tradition. I especially love the “local” credits at the end of this one.

 

Minnesota Gophers

The intro visuals and voiceover is strong in the “Under the Lights” video from the Gophers.

 

GSU Football

GSU picked a great thematic that really speaks to the current chapter of their program. It does a nice job of telling the story of where they’ve been and where they’re going with a hopeful, optimistic tone.

 

UGA

UGA has one of the best video departments in the country. They always nail their storytelling with interesting thematics and strong scripts. Love the lines in this video and that fact that the series is treated like a movie trailer with installments.

“True storytelling is the story of life. And this is the telling of the most important story. Our story. Love the focus on values, culture. Welcome to our humble tale.”

 

Tennessee

This is a more traditional hype video, but the voiceover from the student-athletes is powerful and strong.

 

Notre Dame

This video is part of Notre Dame’s partnership with Bleacher Report. Again, a more traditional video but the intro is powerful, music is on point and highlights cut just right.

 

Ole Miss

Game day is always different. Game day is special. Love the intro to Ole Miss’ hype reel and the way they showcase offseason footage to set the tone.

 

Nebraska

Nebraska has realized a couple strong videos, one tapping into the offseason and one on the opportunity to play. Both emotional and high-energy, the videos are extremely well done.

 

Seahawks

The Seahawks always do a great job of tapping way beyond the field. They tap into their city, the passion of their fans and even the PNW. The even have a local, PNW guy featured in their voiceover. This is a stellar hype video that taps into the uniqueness of their team and their fans.

 

Dolphins

So simple and sleek, it works. Proof that good content and videos don’t need to be overly complicated.

 

Baltimore Ravens

Ray Lewis defining what a Raven is, for the win. This is another good example of going beyond a highlight reel to tap into the sentiment of your fans.

 

Raiders

Really love the intro of this video and the use of fan UGC.

 

49ers

This video is long, but it’s really long done. It’s not just an ode to the 49ers, but an ode to the city of San Francisco. I love the footage choices, the nostalgia and the strong voiceover. If a video is going to be four minutes, this is how it should be done.

 


 

What video above is your favorite? Share your thoughts below.

 

Thanks for reading! 

Your Brand Story > FOMO

It’s time to talk about the huge detractor that’s consumed social media managers for far too long. It’s added noise and clutter to our consumers’ feeds. It’s taken away from meaningful work. And it’s caused stress and anxiety for those who Facebook and Tweet for a living (but really, I know we do a lot more than that).

This detractor is FOMO. The fear of missing out. And, if you follow me on Twitter, you know I’m on a huge crusade to make it stop.

Every second on the internet is technically a missed chanced. There’s always a trending topic, a new meme … and forget Hallmark holidays, we now live in a world fueled by social media holidays. There’s literally a day for everything. How in the world are we suppose to keep up with all of that?

Here’s a secret: We shouldn’t and can’t.

Let’s backtrack to when FOMO really became a huge thing in the industry. It was after Oreo’s “dark in the dunk” tweet (I know, I know). With all the success of that one tweet, every brand decided they needed a voice in pop culture and real-time events. After all, isn’t one viral tweet the secret to driving brand success?

It’s not that I have a problem with Oreo’s tweet. In fact, if a brand is going to jump in on a real-time moment, Oreo nailed it. They inserted themselves into a trending conversation in a way that was on brand, funny and relevant. There was nothing forced about it; it made sense naturally for them.

But ever since then, brands have been forcing their way into conversations. They’re willing to discount their brand voice, their visual identity and even sometimes alienate their core audience all for short lived (and not guaranteed) retweets. Too many brand are jumping into every holiday for the sake of doing so and adding clutter to the space.

We’ve become too focused on the external pressures of the internet and not focused enough on our own path, vision and brand. Somewhere along the line, FOMO and vanity metrics have replaced the need for a smart, strategic approach. It’s easy to get caught up in, especially when our work is extremely public and opinions come from all four corners. But we have to do things right:

 
Real-time moments in social are important.
But, they have to be done right. You should never sacrifice what your brand has built (both from voice and visual identity) for quick turn vanity metrics.

 
Brands have to be original.
What does it mean to do real-time moments, trending topics and holidays right? It means you’re content is original and on brand. It’s fresh, new and something only you as a brand can truly own.

 
Real-time moments are a piece of the plan.
A real-time approach can and should be part of your strategy, but it shouldn’t be your only focus. Before you do anything, you have to take the time to establish your POV. Unique value trumps the “everything”. And when you’ve defined your lane it pushes good, tough creative thinking (including with real-time moments). Take a step back and understand your why. Don’t let this pressure to constantly jump in take you away from the foundation of your work. Your brand’s story is better than any flavor of the day… always.

The internet doesn’t need more brands chasing the flavor of the day. It needs more brands focused on a consumer-centric POV and adding value to the space. It’s time to stop wasting so much energy on chasing the next topic of the day and time to focus on your brand, your story… the one you uniquely own. Build a POV and know that it’s okay to not jump in on every conversation. In fact, it takes a lot of guts these days to say no. Build a POV that empowers you to do so. It’s like one of my favorite bloggers Seth Godin said:

Step by step, drip by drip, you carve your path by focusing on what matters, not what’s on everybody’s mind. By the time you try to chase the urgent thing, it’s too late.

There are already enough people chasing FOMO in this crowded space. Step up to the challenge of telling your story in a unique, compelling, emotional way and embrace a new kind of trend, JOMO (the joy of missing out).

So, You Want to Work in Social Media?

This is a blog post for everyone who wants to work in social and for those of us who currently do. Part truth, part comic relief, this is a rant about some of the daily struggles of those of us who spend our days obsessing over the internet. Because while we’re lucky enough to tweet and poke on Facebook all day, let’s be real, it’s not always as glamorous as it seems.

I often get questions about what it means to work in this industry. Sometimes it’s young college students trying to figure out their next step; sometimes it’s people who are looking to make a career switch; and often, it’s people who are just plain curious. When I get the question, I always preface my answer with the fact that I love this industry, but it’s not for everyone (and that’s with everything, right?).

So if you want to work in social media, I’m going to tackle the very surface level things of what you need to know about this industry. After 7+ years of spending my days working on the internet, these are the top five truths I’ve learned:

 

1- People won’t get it.

People have asked me if my job is full time… on more than one occasion.

At some point you learn that people simply won’t get exactly what you do and that’s okay. You’ll fight misconceptions from friends and acquaintances that you literally just sit on Facebook and Twitter all day. Sometimes, you’ll even fight those misconceptions internally at your job.

If you want a job where people oh, ah and appreciate all the hours and work it takes to be great, this might not be the job for you. Because while your work is important (it’s the front door to a brand), not everyone will understand the backend work and strategic/creative thinking that goes into it.

People won’t get it, but it doesn’t make the work unrewarding. Everyday we get the opportunity to tell our brand, team, or league’s story and interact directly with consumers. That’s pretty dang cool and rewarding.

 

2- But, everyone will have an opinion.

While no one will understand exactly what you do, everyone will have an opinion on how to do your job. Why? Because they also know how to (and have the power) to hit send on a Facebook Post or a Tweet.

Brace yourself. If you want to work in social media, you’re going to come across a whole slew of other “experts”. Be patient, be kind and educate. There will be days when you want to throw in the towel or hand over the keys to let someone else drive, but fight the good fight. Your point of view (rooted in experience) will one day be appreciated and valued over a random opinion.

 

3- You’ll write your own rules.

The one thing I love about working in the industry is that no day is ever the same. Every day there is a new app, platform or trending topic that comes up. One month the flavor could be Snapchat and the next it could be Peach. That’s both the beauty and the beast of it.

When you work in an industry where things change daily, there’s no rules on how to get it done. Oh, all of a sudden Peach is the app of the century? Quick, put together a strategy on that! You won’t always have the answers on process, on best practices and on what the approach should be. You’re the pioneer, the renegade! Be the first to put together a thoughtful Peach strategy and own it.

If you want to work in social, get comfortable with a lot gray area. The one big failure in this industry is never trying, so you will need to take a deep breath, write the rules and own it.

 

4- There’s a chance you’ll suffer from FOMO.

As mentioned before, this industry moves quickly. Whether it’s the latest meme, trending topic or a new algorithm change, there is literally something to learn and keep up with every… single… day.

There are days when I’m bogged down with meetings and have no time to keep up with anything, only to login to my RSS reader (oh hey, old school) to find hundreds—maybe thousands – of unread articles. THOUSANDS OF UNREAD ARTICLES? Oh gosh, what did I miss? Have I failed as a social media manager if I didn’t keep up with every waking second of the internet?

Yes, if you decide that social media is the work for you then you will find a bit of FOMO-like symptoms. Take a deep breath and understand as one human being you can’t read, keep up with it and do it all. Your community and work will not go to waste just because you missed the latest and greatest Digiday article or you weren’t the first brand to activate on Ello.

 

5- It will be exhausting.

When you work in social media, it’s about much more than the big four (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat). It’s really about understanding how people consume online. Knowing that, you’ll need to keep up with the industry very intimately.

This works in tandem with FOMO, but this industry can be exhausting. In a world where it’s already hard to disconnect and turn off work, we work in a world that’s literally 24 -7. If you want to work in social, you’ll need to practice balance… very intentionally. Whether you schedule downtime to turn off your phone or go to exotic places purposefully for vacation where you have no cell service, make sure you take the time for yourself to reset and recharge. It’s all too easy to get burned out in this industry.

 

Bonus- It’s more than posting stuff.

Thanks to @JoeCulotta for bringing this good one up. If you want to work in social media because you think it will be fun to hit send all day (like all the misconceptions out there), then go ahead and walk away. Working in social media is A LOT more than posting things all day.
 
I always say first and foremost I’m a marketer, who happens to study the way people consume online and through mobile. The work you do is rooted in marketing, communications and creative. You’ll be challenged in your thinking nearly every single day. Embrace the strategic thinking that comes with working in social and resist the urge to just push and post. It’s not our job to add clutter to the already crowded internet. It’s our job to add value to our consumer, our fans and brands/teams we work for.

 
No, this article isn’t meant to scare anyone away from working in social media. I love my job, love this industry, love this space. But the truth is it’s a lot more than poking and tweeting all day. You’ll need to take the good with the bad and develop some tough skin, because out there on the internet it’s like the Wild, Wild West.

 


 

What cold, hard truths would you share with someone looking to work in social? Share below!

 

Thanks for reading.