#SMSports Trends Winning on Twitter Right Now

We all know that Twitter + sports make a great combination. During peak game times, there’s a good chance you’ll find sports dominating the trending topics. The platform was made for our industry.

Even though this platform was made for our industry, it’s always great to take a step back and see if there are ways to improve platform use. I’ve spent some time taking a look at the latest trends working for teams and leagues, and I compiled a list of the ones winning right now (and many of these translate across other platforms). If you are looking for new ways to dominate Twitter, here are some ideas:

Simple graphics & copy.

Sometimes simple is better. We live in a world where attention spans are limited: Don’t make it hard for your fans to digest and understand the content, otherwise you’ll lose them before they even think about engaging, sharing, etc. I love the trend of keeping things simple in both copy and graphics:

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Facebook Isn’t Killing Organic Reach, Just Crappy Content

Fellow social media managers: t’s time to have a heart to heart about Facebook and our industry in general.

If you follow the chatter online, then there’s a really good chance you readForrester’s article on how Facebook and Twitter are a waste of time to marketers. At the heart of the story was the idea that Facebook has killed organic reach.

You can spew off statistics all day about the declining organic reach on Facebook, but what did we really expect? The social media industry has spoiled us, softened us and perhaps even ruined us (gasp) as marketers. This is the thing:

Good and effective advertising / marketing has never been free. While it might have seemed like we were basking in the glory of free marketing for a while, it was all just a dream. The brands that won and continue to win on social media have always understood that it takes time, money and resources. Social media marketing is not free. Today, that couldn’t be ­truer.

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10 Great Examples of Teams Using Exposure

I first laid eyes on exposure.co in January of 2014 when Purdue Athletics used it to document what gameday is like at Mackey Arena. For me, it was love at first sight. If you aren’t familiar with Exposure, the platform lets you tell a story through stunning photo narratives. The end product has a “wow” factor that’s hard to resist. Here’s their pitch:

You’ve got tons of photos and stories. Don’t they deserve better than hashtags and slideshows? With Exposure, you can easily create beautiful photo narratives that look amazing on computers, tablets, and mobile phones. Exposure is also a community of passionate photographers and storytellers just like you.

Thankfully, there are quite a few teams in the sports industry that have caught on to this beautiful storytelling platform. Here’s why I love that it’s catching on:

It focuses on the story. Between the busy world of social media and website clutter, we rarely just let pictures and strong copy tell the story. Minimalist design, like the one Exposure provides, can interact with pictures in a powerful way though. Exposure challenges you to put your best content foot forward: Without strong copy and pictures, the package will fall flat. You have to focus on telling great story… period.

If you like what you see with Exposure, but don’t know where to get started, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite sports-related pieces. I think you’ll see that there are many, many ways to leverage it:

Student-Athlete Perspective

My favorite use of Exposure has been the stories that lift up student-athletes or offer their voice / perspective. There are some stellar examples too:

Clemson: Thank You, K.J.

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Oklahoma Sooners: Poll Position (this one might be my favorite, so take the time to click) Continue reading

What About the Fan’s Perspective?

One of the great things about working in social media and sports is that there are so many different angles you can cover. The hardest part isn’t finding content, but getting out of the go, go, go mentality to take some time to reflect. If you can actually take a step back though, you’ll see there’s a lot of extraordinary in your ordinary workday.

I’m always looking for social media and sports initiatives / content that take a different approach to the same ‘ole same ‘ole: Those moments that offer a different and unique perspective.

In the past week, I saw initiatives from the Utah Jazz and Ipswich Town that did just that. They offered the fan’s perspective; something we actually don’t see a lot of. Here’s what they did:

Utah Jazz: Fan View #CLEatUTA

After Gordon Hayward’s game-winning shot against Cleveland, the Jazz’s social media manager had an idea: Why not curate fan videos from Instagram? And that he did (amazing to think that all these people had their phones out filming). The idea is simple and easy to replicate, but a great way to highlight fan content, reactions and action:

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11 Recent Sports-Centric Videos to Watch Now

For those of you that follow this blog or my Twitter feed, you know I’m big on video content that evokes emotion (surprise, joy, sentimentality, passion, etc.) or tells a story. For a while it seemed like stellar sports-centric video content was lacking across teams and leagues. A lot of video content was produced, but I rarely saw pieces that made me want to stop and watch all the way through; pieces that really tap into the emotion of sports.

I’m happy to say that’s beginning to change. Over the last month, I’ve seen stellar video content in the sports industry from athletic departments, professional teams and brands. I’ve compiled a list of 11 videos that caught my attention recently. They range from intro videos to ads, and I hope that something serves as inspiration to you. Enjoy!

South Carolina Men’s Basketball: Here

I was lucky enough to get insight on South Carolina’s “Here” campaign earlier this year from their CMO Eric Nichols. This latest addition to the campaign does not disappoint. I really like how they picked a theme (toughness) and weaved that into the entire video. What I love most about this campaign (and video) from USC is that they aren’t selling; they are telling what makes their program and team unique.

Indiana: Defining the Hoosier Nation

This video actually uses fan submissions to define what the Hoosier Nation is, although you probably won’t realize it until the end. I’ve talked a lot about leveraging user-generated content lately and this is a great example of how you can involve your fans. I especially love that the video showcases how being a part of the Hoosier family is much more than a game.

If you want to learn more about the video, you can read a great post from the Convince and Covert team here.

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Replicating a Simple Idea From Nike

I realize that the words Nike, simple and replicate aren’t normally used in the same sentence, but yes, here they are. Last week I saw an awesome, yet simple, idea from Nike that teams and leagues can replicate. It all starts with their glorious new video welcoming LeBron James home (which I’m sure by now you’ve seen):

If you watch the video all the way through, you’ll notice that it ends with a compelling image of LeBron standing in the middle of a huddle and three buttons at the bottom that direct you to the Nike Basketball’s website, subscribe and poster.

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What Tools Can I Use to Create Social Media Content?

Time and resources can be half the battle when it comes to creating content for your social media channels. Here’s the good news though: You can create compelling content with a limited budget, time and resources thanks to all the great mobile and desktop applications available today. Yes, it’s true… you can create visuals like the one below without the likes of Photoshop and other fancy editing tools:

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After the 2013 CoSIDA Convention, I wrote  about the apps / platforms I use to create compelling content and it seemed like the resource was helpful. Seeing that it’s been well over a year and new platforms have emerged, I thought it was time to update the compiled list for you all. So, without further ado, here they are:

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Clemson Shows Us the Power of Social Listening

Today I’m excited to share a special story on the power of social media, social listening and caring about your fans. The story starts with a simple observation from a man named Rusty Elrod in Six Mile, South Carolina. Just like any normal day, he drove by the assisted living center to find Clemson fan W.T. Wooten standing outside waving and cheering as people passed by. Wooten does this nearly every day, spreading cheer to all who encounter him. The odd thing though, was that Wooten wasn’t wearing his beloved Clemson baseball cap. The sight of this gave Elrod an idea:

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Elrod took to social media to see if the Clemson community could rally to get Wooten new gear. And rally they did. The Facebook post above was shared nearly 2,000 times with friends, family and the Clemson Athletic Department. The minute the athletic department staff saw the story, they knew they wanted to do something to show Wooten they appreciated how much joy he brings to people everyday.

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