NBA Social Media Managers Share Top Moments from the Regular Season

If you follow the NBA on social media, then you know the league and teams get the social media and digital landscape. From fun banter to crazy trending hashtags and good video content, they have embraced social media unabashedly as a way to connect with their fans and their target audience. The focus is paying off as the league has added 240 million new fans since the end of last season.

Now that the regular season has ended, seven social media/digital managers shared their top moments from it. Here they are, with my takeaways on what we can all learn:

 

Atlanta Hawks- All About the W’s

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram |

For Atlanta Hawks, their top moment was the W’s in their Twitter name during the 19-game winning streak. They started adding a W to HaWks for every game of the streak. When it got too long for Twitter, they had to scramble, and they started adding them to their avatar.

Not only did they add W’s to their name, but the Hawks created social content to highlight the all-important update to their Twitter name. It was a simple tactic, but smart, tactic that garnered attention from both the media and fans.

 

 

Lesson: The Hawks have not played by the rules this regular season. Whether it’s platform best practices or Twitter name character limits, the Hawks do things their way and creatively. It’s a great reminder that we don’t always have to play in the box we have been given.

Thanks to Jaryd Wilson, the Atlanta Hawks Digital Content Manager, for his insight with this post. Give him a follow on Twitter: @JarydWilson 

 

Portland Trail Blazers- LA Returns and #WeTheNorthToo

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Piece on the Digital Team

1- LA Returns
It was probably the best news their team received this season. LaMarcus Aldridge, thought to be out for the rest of the season, decided to postpone surgery and play through injury the rest of the season. The news caught everyone – even the PR staff – off guard. After tweeting the official “news”, the team decided to stay true to our voice and have some fun with it. As you can see from the tweet below, it certainly resonated with their fans:

Lesson: There are many times when your team or league is going to have to put out official announcements in a formal manner. If the news is positive though, keep the momentum going with fun, on brand content that will really resonate with your audience (just like the Trailblazers did). Big news and announcements should not be a one and done approach.

2- #WeTheNorthToo
Someone pointed this out earlier in the season, so the Trailblazers team had this content in the cue. According to Simply Measured, the tweet received 41x more engagement of their average tweet and earned the highest engagement of the season.

Lesson: Listen to your audience and those around you for content ideas. Take the ideas and store them away for the perfect timing.

Thanks to Kris Koivisto, the Trail Blazers Managing Editor, for his insight with this post. Give him a follow on Twitter: @KrisKoivisto

 

San Antonio Spurs- Inspiring Homework

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram |

This tweet was one of the best stories from the Spurs’ season. The photo below was sent to the Spurs Facebook account by the mother of a little boy who asked her to check his homework. The social media team gets hundreds of messages a day, but this one stood out. The reaction on Twitter was wonderful and Danny Green retweeted it himself. Later that week, Danny grabbed a Spurs franchise record for 3-pointers made in a season. After his post-game interview that night, he told us that his friends have started calling him “moneyball” in honor of the homework assignment.

https://twitter.com/spurs/status/585513607896682496

Lesson: Fans are generating fantastic content for you to share everyday. Keep your eyes and ears open for user-generated content to leverage. User-generated content is cost effective, pulls fans into your community and provides a different perspective. Start leveraging it now!

Thanks to Megan Julian, the Spurs Social Media Coordinator, for her insight with this post. Give her a follow on Twitter: @emjayy22

 

Denver Nuggets- Embrace a Gold Medal Run

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram |

The top social moment from this past year for the Nuggets was their campaign around Kenneth Faried’s gold medal run during the World Cup of Basketball. The team used the hashtag #GoFariedGoUSA, changed the name of @denvernuggets from ‘Denver Nuggets’ to #GoFariedGoUSA throughout the campaign and promoted/supported the USA’s run to gold and Faried’s involvement on all digital platforms. It was truly a cross-platform approach for the Nuggets. Here’s a look at some of the content from the campaign:

Congratulations Team USA and Kenneth Faried! #GoFariedGoUSA

A photo posted by Denver Nuggets (@denvernuggets) on

Snapchat content.

Snapchat content.

 

Lesson: When there’s an opportunity to tell a broader story, like Kenneth Faried’s gold medal run, be sure to take a cross-platform approach and vary your content. The Denver Nuggets campaign was strong because they tapped into all their platforms, varied the content and told the story from beginning to end.

Thanks to Jared Harding, the Social Media + Digital Director at KSE, for his insight with this post. Give him a follow on Twitter: @jaredharding

 

Detroit Pistons- Emotional Reunion

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

For the Pistons, one of the coolest things from their season was a surprise military reunion in March. They worked with some partners and military organizations to surprise the mother of Private Namon Bledsoe. Their halftime performer Gloria Gaynor helped with the surprise and Andre Drummond helped lead out Private Bledsoe to his mom. The Pistons used the opportunity to also tell the story of Private Namon Bledsoe online through video (which earned more than 60K YouTube views):

Lesson: Many teams have in-venue moments and promotions that could also be a strong story to tell online. Find which promotions have emotional elements to tell online in a compelling way and leverage them like the Pistons did. It’s important to merge your in-venue initiatives with your online ones.

Thanks to Doug Wernert, the Social Media Director at the Pistons, for his insight with this post. Give him a follow on Twitter: @dougwernert

 

Cleveland Cavaliers- Digitally Dominant

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

This season the Cavs embraced several digital initiatives that really set them a part. One example is their 2014-15 Season Timeline. The Cavs created an interactive, sliding page that encapsulated the tremendous year for their organization — and it is being updated through the postseason. While it’s a webpage, they will be sending social highlights of the moments included and directing fans back to cavs.com/timeline.

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Lesson: 140 characters alone isn’t always enough to stand on. Think through the stories you want to tell strategically and then find a way to tell them, both through digital and social platforms. Make sure that both components work together and not in a silo. Together, your web and social presence can tell a more powerful story.

Thanks to Michael Conley, the VP of Digital at the Cavs, for his insight with this post. Give him a follow on Twitter: @mpconley

 

Sacramento Kings- Got Tacky

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

In November, Sacramento launched their Kings “Ugly Sweater” with a photo shoot of some of the players rocking the sweater in various (clearly staged) locations. It was immediately shared across several National blogs as well as featured on The Today Show. And, the sweater ended up selling out online and in-store within a few hours. They also hosted an “Ugly Sweater Night” a few weeks later to build off of the excitement and momentum of the initial launch.

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Lesson: One of the great things about working in social media is the platforms should to be fun. There’s no need to be stiff and robotic all the time. If there’s an opportunity to show humor through content with a campaign, while remaining on brand, then go for it. As the Kings show, humor resonates.

Thanks to Jason Wise, the Manager of Digital for the Sacramento Kings, for his insight with this post. Give him a follow on Twitter: @Jason_Wise

 

This list just skims the social highlights of these teams and the league throughout the season. As you can see, there’s a lot of inspiration in the NBA so give the teams a follow to get inspired digitally and socially.

 


What were some of your favorite social media moments from the NBA regular season? Be sure to share them below!

Thanks for reading! 

A Look at the 2015 NFL Schedule Release Graphics & Tactics

The NFL schedule release is a big day now for sports fans and teams. Social media gives the league and teams an opportunity to drum up excitement for the upcoming season like never before. And of course, most teams are taking advantage of that opportunity. Some teams opted to publish the schedule in its entirety on their platforms, while others drove people to their websites. Whatever the approach, here’s a look at the schedule graphics from each team:

 

In addition to solid graphics, there were several trends that stood out from the NFL schedule releases that would apply to other big announcements. If you are planning on releasing big news or information, then consider these tactics that NFL teams used:

 

Countdown.

Many NFL teams reminded fans about their schedule release through countdown graphics and copy. When drumming up excitement for opening day, a big announcement, etc. a countdown is always a good way to go. Not only does it drum up excitement for fans, but it also keeps the date and time top of mind.

 

Give an emotional tease.

During schedule releases and big announcements, fans are filled with emotions. Tap into the emotion by teasing the fans throughout the day with content that pulls at them, like GIFS. Here are a few examples from NFL teams (some of these also fall inline with the countdown):

 

Tell the story in a different way.

It’s easy to default to copy and graphics to tell the story when working on an announcement or social media plan leading up to a big event. There are many ways to tell a story though, so be sure to capitalize on all of them. Here are a few examples of how NFL teams tackled their schedule release a little differently, from the schedule in a Vine to unique video content:

 

Coming this fall…

A video posted by Oakland Raiders (@raiders) on

 

Seahawks announce 2015 schedule and will play 5 prime time games. See our bio link for the schedule. #nflschedule

A video posted by Seattle Seahawks (@seahawks) on

 

 

Keep the momentum going.

Many NFL teams kept the momentum going by linking backing to interesting content on their websites and sharing interesting tidbits. With any kind of announcement or big moment, it’s important to keep the momentum. Don’t announce and walk away, but instead, find ways to engage and share content throughout the day:

 

The #Giants have 5 primetime games on their schedule! Cowboys, Redskins, 49ers, Eagles & Dolphins! #GiantsPride

A photo posted by New York Giants (@nygiants) on

 

So next time you are ramping up for a season opener, big event or announcement, remember these tactics from the NFL: Count it down, give an emotional tease, tell the story differently and keep the momentum going. If you do this, you will be sure to make a big splash!

 


 

What stood out to you about the 2015 schedule release content from NFL teams? Share your thoughts below!

Thanks for reading!

4 Ways to Close Out a Season Socially

For some NBA teams, the clock ran out on their season this week. But as the clock struck zero, the social media work didn’t end. Many of the teams took to social media to close out the season the right way.

This approach, to close out the season on social media, is important. Whether a team wins or loses the last game of the season, it’s important that the social media manager thinks through how to approach the season finale. Fans have been a part of the journey all along; they want some emotional closure beyond the scores. Plan to get it right.

But how do you plan to close out the season socially, especially when it has been a losing one? It starts with asking the right questions:

  • What about this season stood out that can be highlighted?
  • What is fan sentiment like?
  • What will you do if you win your last game? 
What will you do if you lose?
  • What can you prepare content-wise ahead of time (for both outcomes) to ensure you are ready to go?

Take the time to work through these questions and come up with a plan, win or lose, on the content that is important to share. With an understanding of season highlights and fan sentiment, it’s much easier to plan content that will resonate.

To help serve as inspiration on how to close out the season socially, here’s a look at how some of the NBA teams handled their season coming to an end:

 

Thank Fans

Whether a team wins or loses, thanking fans is a must these days. Social media is not just a broadcast platform; it’s a way to build a community. Don’t take your community for granted. Show your fans how thankful the entire organization is for their support.

Trends that stood out when thanking fans include strong copy, good graphics and personal messages from the players themselves. Below is a look at some of the content:

 

Put a Positive Spin

If the season has been a tough one, don’t focus on the negative. Find a way to reflect positively on a lesson, record, milestone, team perseverance, etc. Focusing on the positive will help redirect negative sentiment (at least some).

The two examples below showcase how teams can focus on the positives attributes of the team or season. For the Pistons, they ended their season on a good note. For OKC, they never gave up. It’s all about the positives:

 

Highlight Team Reflection

It’s natural for everyone– fans, players, coaches, etc.– to reflect on the season. And, bringing that aspect of reflection into social content is a great way to close out the season. It taps into an emotional element that fans gravitate towards. And of course, emotional content resonates.

When a season closes out, it’s important to gather quotes from players and coaches whether it is through press conferences or one-on-one interviews. Capture those moments of personal reflection. The quotes can be shared as text alone or turned into graphics:

 

Move Forward

When a door closes on a season, a new one awaits. This anticipation is exciting for fans, and honestly, it’s rarely too early to start drumming up excitement for it. As the season closes out, don’t be afraid to look towards the future. Tap into the team’s focus for the next year, workouts planned and the emotion of waiting in general:

 

So as a season ends, remember to focus on closing the door the right way socially: Thank your fans, put a positive spin on it, reflect and move forward.

 


 

How else can teams close out a season socially? I would love to hear your thoughts below!

 

Thanks for reading. 

Reaching Fans Through Video

There are a lot of different avenues to take when it comes to video content now. It’s easier than ever to get video content to the masses with Twitter video, YouTube, Periscope and more.

As video mediums and tools continue to rise, it becomes increasingly more important to reach fans where they are. It’s not about a this or that approach to video tools and platforms. Instead, it’s about leveraging them all to reach the greatest number of fans wherever they prefer to consume.

If you want to ensure you use each platform/tool effectively, then think about creating an internal guide on video platform best practices. Below is a guide to start thinking about the differences:

 

YouTube

Before Twitter, Video and Instagram rolled out their own video capabilities, YouTube was always relied on. And while it’s not the only answer to video anymore, do not neglect the platform.

YouTube is not just a distribution channel. It’s a community. A community that reaches more US adults 18-34 than any cable network and has 1 billion visitors every month. Unlike Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, users are going to YouTube to seek out video content. There’s a certain value to that.

Teams should focus on a specific platform strategy for YouTube, just like they do every other platform. Take note of the content that works best, use YouTube playlists, leverage the annotation features and engage with users. Don’t forget to cross promote the content on Twitter too!

When it comes to content on the platform, anything is fair game. With no limits on length, YouTube is a great hub for more “long-form” features (even those 2 – 3 minutes). At the end of the day though, to be successful on YouTube is all comes down to create compelling content like every other platform.

Long-form storytelling, hype videos and behind-the-scenes features work well on YouTube. Here are some examples of how teams are using YouTube:

 

 

Facebook Video

Facebook has allowed brands to upload video directly to the platform for quite some time now. And between their focus on video content and autoplay, native video on Facebook outperforms any other video content on the platform.

No matter what type of video content you are looking to share on Facebook, it makes sense to go ahead and upload it directly there. There’s no reason teams should share any video links. Take a look at the NBA’s numbers on Facebook and you’ll get a sense of the reach:

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Just like YouTube, all kinds of video lengths and features work well with native Facebook video. Again, it all comes down to sharing content that resonates.

 

Twitter Video

Twitter video is a great tool to tell a more seamless and instant story by posting video (30-seconds or less) directly to the platform. Twitter video is not a platform with its own community like Vine or Instagram, but another tool to help you create content for Twitter.

With the 30-second limits, Twitter video is a great to share player/coach interviews, quick behind-the-scenes content, the game atmosphere, etc. The content does not have to be polished; the real value is in sharing a quick and raw perspective.

Here’s a look at a few ways teams are using Twitter video:

 

 

Vine

Unlike Twitter video, Vine is its own social media network where video content is shared directly on Twitter’s timeline. The short, looping video platform has built a strong, niche community. One that loves humor, elements of surprise and excitement. If you want to know what content works best on Vine, answer this simple question: Is this something I would want to watch over and over again?

Because of the looping factor and short content bursts that Vine lends itself too, content that evokes emotion works best here. Think about awe, surprise, humor and shock. In addition, teams also capitalize on Vine’s tap feature that stops and starts the action to engage fans in a deeper way.

Here’s a look at a few ways teams are using Vine:

 

 

 

Periscope/ Meerkat

Live streaming is the latest craze that has taken the social media/tech world by storm thanks to Periscope and Meerkat. Both apps allow you to stream live video from your phone to all your followers.

While there’s still a long way to go in figuring out the value in live, it’s hard to deny that there’s something special about it. Kelly Mosier of the Huskers nailed it when he said “the draw for Periscope/Meerkat is giving people a seat to something first hand, in real time. Live is uncomfortable, but powerful.”

So far we’ve seen teams use it to live stream practice, interviews, behind-the-scene looks, press conferences, etc.

When thinking about how to use Periscope/Meerkat, ask what the value of live brings. Is this moment so intimate, important or emotionally fueled that watching it “now” is important. Does it make sense to forgo quality to provide the coverage instantaneous? If there’s value in brining your fan into the moment right then and there for a front-row seat, then Periscope and Meerkat could be the way to go.
In the future, video content is only going to continue to grow. It’s time to invest time and energy to figure out how you can tell your story through video and maximize all the tools for optimal reach!

 


 

What video platforms/tools do you think will continue to grow in the future? Share your thoughts below!

Thanks for reading!

Highlights From Duke & Wisconsin’s Twitter Coverage of the Title Game

The coverage of this year’s NCAA Tournament was a slam dunk. The teams, NCAA, broadcast partners, etc., all shined on the second screen to share memorable social media moments. Tweets about the games were viewed 9.1 billion times (according to Twitter) from March 15 – April 6. That’s a lot of content consumption!

Considering how the tournament played out, it’s no surprise that the championship game also lent itself to great content. With back and forth leads, nail-biting seconds and plays to remember, the game provided great opportunities for social media content/moments. And while Duke took home the title in 2015, both teams (Duke and Wisconsin) won on Twitter. They took advantage of the big stage and gave fans a reason to follow, engage and share.

There’s a lot to be taken away from how Duke and Wisconsin handled the big game on Twitter. Here’s a look at three highlights from each team:

 

DUKE

Duke has two accounts. @DukeBluePlanet focuses more on the team’s own voice, while @Duke_MBB is a more traditional account. Their graphics throughout the tournament were some of the best, and they did a great job of consistently turning out content.

While I’m not always a fan of having multiple accounts for a team (it can dilute audience), Duke does a great job of sharing content between accounts. If you follow one account, there’s a good chance you’ll find the other one too and connect the dots. The approach seems to work for them. Here’s a look at three of highlights from @DukeBluePlanet and @Duke_MBB collectively:

 
Created great graphics.
Duke had some of the best graphics throughout the tournament. The look and feel was sharp and intense. There’s no doubt they stood out.

 
Capitalized on all types of content.
Twitter isn’t limited to 140 characters anymore. There are so many tools available to help tell a more impactful and robust story. And, both Duke accounts did a great job of mixing up their content for their championship game coverage. They shared audio (Soundcloud), graphics, video and Vines for a more 360-approach. When crafting your content strategy, it’s important to tap into all the avenues to sound, images and video just like Duke did.

 
Rode the victory wave.
It’s important to ride the victory wave online after winning something like a national title. Fans are excited days after the big win, and with the heightened emotion, are more likely to share your content. If you want to maximize reach, then extend the celebration on social media. Duke did a good job of keeping the content coming even after the net was cut down. They shared the team’s journey back home and continued to relive special moments:

 

WISCONSIN

Wisconsin did a great job throughout the tournament of telling their story. The content gave fans a better sense of the team, the players’ personalities and the journey. Here are three highlights from the Badgers approach:

 
Added color commentary.
When your team is on a national stage, it is fair to make the assumption that most of your fans are tuning in on TV. The Twitter coverage is not meant to compete with TV, but instead enhance the viewing experience. Skip the play-by-play and focus on color commentary. The voice shouldn’t be a stiff box score; it should resonate with the fan at home who is screaming at their TV. Wisconsin did a good job at this. As you’ll see below, color commentary doesn’t have to be fancy but it does get good traction:

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Handled the loss with grace.
Handing a loss is never easy on Twitter. Because of that, it’s important to think about how you might handle a win AND a loss heading into a big game or moment. Even better, do some prep work and create a graphic template before the game so you can make a few tweaks and share almost instantly. If you do the work ahead of time, you’ll feel a lot better when you hit send in the heat of the moment.

Wisconsin did a great job of handling their loss. From their final score graphic to thanking their seniors, they nailed the sentiment of their team and fans:

 
Shared different content across accounts.
One of the most important things in social media is to differentiate content across accounts and platforms, even if the message is the same. You don’t want to hit your fans over the head with the same thing over and over again. And, Wisconsin showed how to differentiate two accounts while sharing the same message. Both @UWBadgers and @BadgersMBB posted final score graphics and thanked the seniors, but they did so in different ways. Here’s a look at @UWBadgers graphics (compared to @BadgersMBB above):

 


 


So there you have it. Three highlights from each team with three different lessons. What stood out to you about the coverage?

Thanks for reading!