Brand GIFS Trump Pop Culture GIFS Any Day

GIFS have taken over the Internet and sports. What started off as a pop-culture revolution has turned into a brand play by teams and leagues. It seems that at least every 10th tweet includes a GIF these days.

Early on GIFS only focused on pop culture moments. You couldn’t scan Twitter without stumbling upon Seinfeld, Friends and crazy cats. While a sea of pop culture GIFS still own Twitter, they are evolving. Teams and leagues are starting to create their own unique GIFS. And, let’s keep the momentum going that way.

Teams and leagues need to spend less time scouring GIPHY and invest more time on creating their own original content. Here’s the thing: Pop culture GIFS can alienate your audience. They also lend themselves to personal biases (as we are more likely to share what we think is funny and clever). If you didn’t grow up in the 90s or aren’t a Stars Wars fan, then there’s a good chance you don’t get or care about the pop culture GIF. It’s all relative.

You don’t know for sure if your fans relate to Seinfeld, but you DO know that they relate to your team. Why push out content that is unoriginal and has nothing to do with your team when you can invest energy in building your own content and unique voice?

When you work in sports, you have more access to content than most brands. There’s no need to rely on others for content, even in humorous moments. Tap into existing content, leverage your designers and create epic GIFS that not only resonate with your entire audience but also help build your own, unique team voice.

If you need some inspiration, here are some GIFS from teams and leagues that are uniquely their own:

 


 

What are your thoughts on pop culture GIFS versus brand GIFs? Share them below.

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Why Your Social Media Manager Says “No”

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Sometimes, after years now of working in social media, I feel like a no man. It’s not that I find joy in pushing back and saying no, but all too often social media is a catchall. And as someone who believes in understanding your why, I’m not afraid to pushback when things don’t align.

I get it. It wasn’t that long ago that social media in companies was a little rogue. People were still trying to figure out what this new medium meant for the organization. All internal requests happened because a young intern handled the social media accounts. Things are changing though.

Companies have started to build a strong foundation of what it means for their brand, goals and organization. And while social media will always evolve, we now know the power of social, what works and what doesn’t. As foundations and strategies are built, it means things won’t be the way they always were. With frameworks comes education, pushing back and standing your ground as a keeper of the accounts.

Internal partners have to understand that just because it’s easy to upload a piece of content and hit send, doesn’t mean it belongs on social media. As companies define their why on the platforms and take a consumer-first approach, there will be pushback. Otherwise, social media presences would just turn into a load of crap (I know, that’s not very articulate).

Yes, I’m saying that hearing “no” can be a good thing. Social media isn’t this free platform for us as marketers and brands to push anything and everything to our consumer. As the noise continues to grow online and consumers turn off more and more, we have to be thoughtful in how we approach things. Every organization needs a team of people who have outlined that why online and protects it.

Social media has evolved. It’s matured. We now know that’s not a silly marketing channel for interns to run, but the front door to our brand and a strong, direct connection to our consumer. A social media manager’s job is to understand how social aligns with organizational goals, protect the platforms and think about the consumer. That means that not everything belongs on the platforms and that’s okay. Just because social media is more accessible, doesn’t mean we should abuse the access and treat it lightly. We wouldn’t slap anything and everything on a billboard, so why should we do it on social?

This is the bottom line: If your social media manager says “no” sometimes, they’re doing their job. They know the goals, they know what works and they know the community they’ve built. When you hire good people, let them do their job. Trust their gut and know they’ve got the best intentions in mind. Not everything belongs on social, period.

NFL Teams Showcase Creativity With Their Schedule Releases

Thanks to social and digital, it seems that there’s a need for everything to be more elevated now. The news cycle doesn’t start and end with the season, and neither does the need to create good content.

One of the proofs that everything is more elevated is how NFL teams handled their schedule releases this year. From fantastic hype videos to unique GIFS, the content around the releases was unique and elevated. Below are some examples. Hopefully they inspire creativity in your work!

 

Seahawks

The Seahawks social and digital team decided to do something completely off the wall and different for their schedule release. Have you ever seen the popular tasty-style videos on social? Inspired by those, the digital media team “baked” the schedule in cupcake form.

The reaction was tremendous, garnering them attention from the media, fans and everyone in the social industry.

One of the great things about social is its short shelf life. The ability to try new things, learn and adapt swiftly is huge. Don’t fear failing. If your team comes up with something crazy, it might just work. Give it a go and don’t look back.

 

Packers

There’s something about Vine that makes content stand out from all the noise. The enhancements the platform has made to sound + the looping nature makes for dynamic content. The Packers schedule tease was done through Vine. It’s the perfect example of how Vine content should be created.

 

49ers

The 49ers nailed their schedule release content with a GIF and hype-like video. The GIF was an easy visual to see the schedule all at once, while the hype video played into emotions. The song choice and powerful, documentary-like opening in their video caught my attention early and pulled me in. And as we all know, catching any kind of attention these days is a big win.

 

Vikings

The Vikings always produce stellar work, from their clean and sharp graphical treatments to their fantastic Vines. Their schedule release content was no exception. They too give us a great example of how Vine can be used. The helmet concept is simple, but entertaining and effective.

 

Cowboys

When you have certain stories you tell over and over every year, I believe in finding different angles to take. What’s different about the story from last year? The Cowboys put together a GIF that highlight fun stats and tidbits. It’s a great example of finding different storylines.

 


 

What other NFL schedule release content stood out to you? Share below!

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Good Content Is Good Content, Period

I was having a conversation the other day with a good friend in the industry. And like all good conversations with those who work in social and digital, we couldn’t help but to talk about work, the struggles, the wins. Part of the conversation drifted towards what drew us in to social in the first place — and through that I had a powerful realization.

I’ve never been a “platform” first person. If you follow my blog, my tweets, etc., you know I’ve always felt very strongly that a great social strategy starts with a strong content strategy. The platforms will come and go, but the need to reach consumers online through compelling content is here to stay.

While I’ve always loved the fast-paced nature of social and digital, it’s really the ability to tell a story that drew me in and kept me here. When you work in social and digital, you get the opportunity to tell a brand story every single day. And for as long as I can remember, I’ve loved nothing more than a good spot that made me cry, laugh or reminisce… no matter where I consumed it.

Here’s the thing. Good content is good content period. And good ads have always been good content, period. Social, digital and mobile has simply enhanced the opportunity for more distribution — and also more competition. It hasn’t changed the need for good ads; but it’s not enough to just “sell” well. Now as marketers we have to entertain, inform, educate, evoke emotion.

Whether you work in digital marketing, content marketing or retail marketing, your job is to capture your consumer’s attention. Their heart and minds, really. You can distribute content all day long across any platform and to any target, but if it doesn’t add value to your consumer, then you’ll lose the attention battle.

As marketers we have to focus on what matters. It’s not about noise, but about adding value.

5 Highlights + Lessons from The Start of MLB

The MLB season has kicked into gear, which means lots of games, excitement and #smsports inspiration! The start to the MLB season has not disappointed from a social perspective either. From the #CapsOn campaign to strong content creation, here are five highlights and lessons as the season kicks into gear:

 

1. Keep UGC Simple + Sweet

To celebrate baseball being back, the MLB launched a UGC campaigned called #CapsOn. On April 4, the MLB asked all fans to wear their caps for Opening Day.

MLB’s push around this was really strong. They had a Snapchat filter and a custom emoji on Twitter, teams pushed content out and partners participated. It worked as the hashtag trended on and off all day. There are two main reasons this UGC push worked.

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First, the CTA was extremely simple. The hashtag alone explained the concept and the point of entry to join the conversation was low. After all, any good baseball fan has a favorite cap. We only have so much time to catch a consumer’s attention; if they have to take the time to figure out what the ask is, then they’re just going to move along.

Second, MLB was aggressive in their push. If you want to launch a successful UGC campaign, you have to have a strong integrated communication plan. Don’t rely on your own communication. Empower your advocates, think about channels where you can cross promote and come out swinging.

 

2. Show Thanks

Before Opening Day, Brewers players surprised fans randomly by leaving tickets and notes on their car. The Brewers did a few teases about this via social media, but left it extremely simple. Why? Because the Brewers didn’t have to do a strong campaign around all the good they were doing. They earned social play without having to ask for it.

When you focus on thanking your fans and making them feel special, they will share for you. You don’t have to beg, ask or tweet about it. All too often in social we focus on internal our own channels and/or making it all about the quick ROI. Take a step back and focus on your fans.

Building community and thanking fans does not build an army quickly, but one by one you’ll have a dedicated core group that will share and go to bat for you. Free tickets in this fashion are obviously a great way to go, but even something as simple as a genuine thankful reply can go a long way. Get back to thanking your fans!

 

3. Make It Consumable

All too often in sports we throw too much information at fans. Things move too quickly online to throw an entire stats book at our audience. Instead of information dumping, work on making content easy to consume. Here are two great examples from the Braves and Dodgers:

 

When you work in social media, it’s important to take a step back and understand the most important information you want the consumer to take away. You aren’t going to be able to cram everything in, so don’t even try it. Instead, focus on the storylines that matter and make your content consumable.

 

4. Provide Unique Perspectives

If you work in social media and sports, part of your job is to be the eyes and ears of your fans. Don’t just spit out information and stats. Instead, focus on bringing your fans closer to the game and team through content and storytelling.

The Rockies have been doing a great job of providing unique camera angles on their content that brings fans closer to the action. While simple in execution, it shows that access and unique perspective can go a long way.

 

5. Pre-Plan The Content You Can

And finally, I’ve talked about this a lot, but plan for the content you can. Although you can’t plan for all the outcomes in sports, you can anticipate. Create templates and pre-planned content that you can use at certain moments. It will help make your game coverage that much stronger. Below are some highlights of pre-planned content from GIFS to images from teams:

Braves are back in action at 7PM tonight at Turner Field!

A photo posted by Atlanta Braves (@braves) on

 


 

 

What stood out to you about the start of the MLB season? Share your thoughts below!

 

Thanks for reading.