5 Thought Starters from #BAEROD

Every now and then a tweet takes our industry by storm. One that we talked about, dissect and use as a case student for months to come. If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, then let me introduce you to #BAEROD:

 

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The @Yankees tweeted this out when Alex Rodriquez hit his 25th grand slam. From a team that has been pretty vanilla in the past, this was quite a surprise to anyone who follows them. It ended up being a pretty polarizing tweet. #BAEROD generated 5,800 retweets, but it also unleashed an array of negative comments. I know haters are always going to hate, but it wasn’t just a few trolls. It was more widespread than that. Take a look through all the comments here.

The tweet also generated great conversation from people in the social media and sports industry with mixed opinions. I do imagine this tweet was a win internally, but it’s not that black and white.

Given all the great conversation the tweet has spurred, I thought there are points for us to mull over. As social media managers, there’s a lot to pushing the envelope with brand voice or content. Here are just some initial “thinking points” from #BAEROD:

 

1. Pop culture comes with pros and cons.

If you and your team find yourself in a moment to jump on a popular trend or moment, just remember pop culture comes with its pros and its cons in sports. Strong pop culture content (like #BAEROD) often evokes strong emotion- surprise, love,hate— that causes people to share.

On one hand pop culture can help to humanize a brand. The Yankees have been bland on social in this past, so this approach was a breath of fresh air for some. For others, “bae” just doesn’t fit it in with baseball and their team.

It’s important to have conversations with your internal team to make sure you are all on the same page about content and why it makes sense. If you are looking for eyeballs, something like #BAEROD might make sense.

 

2. Retweets mean a lot of different things.

When you are looking to measure success during a pop culture/polarizing moment, it’s important to remember engagement can mean a lot of different things. People don’t retweet just because they love the content. People also retweet moments like #BAEROD because of shock or anger. You can’t look at things in one dimensionally. You have to dig deeper. In this case, looking at the sentiment of the replies is also important.

 

3. Remember everything and everyone the brand represents.

When You have to wonder what A-Rod thinks of #BAEROD. Teams want to have a fun brand voice, but the voice is also a reflection of the organization, team and its players. Make sure you showcase the team and players in the right light—one that reflects who they are. I’ll just leave it at this: If someone spots A-Rod wearing a #BAEROD shirt, I’ll be shocked.

 

4. Don’t push luck.

Even if #BAEROD was an internal win for the Yankees team, they can’t abuse their luck. Based on the comments alone, their audience won’t be receptive to this sort of tone all the time. These moments are best when used strategically and sparingly. Don’t push your luck or you might push fans away.

 

5.Remember your core audience.

One of the great things about Twitter is that content reaches way beyond your audience when it’s shared. This is important to keep in mind with content like #BAEROD. Polarizing and pop-culture content spreads way beyond your core audience and often to the masses. Just because people are sharing, does not mean it’s your core audience.

If your target audience is male, talking about players in terms of BAE might not resonate. Don’t be fooled by engagement and neglect your core. Look at the demographics and pay attention to sentiment. More eyeballs are great, but not at the sacrifice of your most dedicated and loyal fans.

 

This post isn’t meant to say the #BAEROD post was right or wrong for the Yankees. Only they truly know their goals and brand. I simply wanted to get all of us thinking about some of the different angles, so hopefully these were thought starters for you!

 


 

 

What did you think of #BAEROD? Love it or hate it? Did it challenge your thinking in any way?

Thanks for reading! 

Tips for Reaching Out In the Industry

Thanks to the Internet, it’s easier than ever to connect with people you admire in your industry. Social media networks like Twitter and LinkedIn provide opportunity to follow, learn from and talk with some bright and interesting people. The connected world we live in can be one of the most powerful tools in your professional career if you leverage it the right way. Take advantage of the chance to build relationships with people you admire in the space.

The sports industry is full of wonderful people who are often willing to offer their advice and insight. And while many people will lend advice, there’s an art to asking and networking. If you want to reach out to someone for advice, below are some tips from my personal experience to make sure you build a bridge the right way.

 

Come with specific questions.

All too often I get emails painted with a broad brush: I want to work in social media + sports. How do I make that happen? Generic, broad questions like this won’t help you and are hard for someone to answer. Careers are long and winding and also take many different paths. There isn’t one specific thing that will break you into the industry. It takes hard work, patience and persistence. No one can provide you with a magic answer that will give you that break you need.

If you want to reach out to someone for advice, come with specific questions. It’s important to do some self-reflection before reaching out to someone to understand where you are struggling/need advice. Direct questions will give you more actionable answers. It also shows you were thoughtful in your approach, which will make someone more likely to take the time to respond.

What do more direct questions look like? If you are trying to figure out if the industry is right for you, then you can focus on questions about day-to-day responsibilities, biggest challenges, what they enjoy, etc. If you are trying to make yourself more marketable, then ask about what skill sets are needed, what they look for in candidates, etc. If you want insight from their career path, ask about their first job, one thing they wish they had known early on, etc. Put together thoughtful questions that will allow you to take action.

 

Manage expectations.

It’s important to manage expectations when reaching out to someone. One email will not land you your dream job. You can’t expect people to recommend you, introduce them to their contacts, etc. if it’s the very first interaction you have ever had.

It’s important to manage what you expect to get out from reaching out to someone. At first, it should always be about building a relationship and gaining knowledge. It’s about nothing more and nothing less. If you cultivate it the right way though, it could lead to a door opened down the road.

 

Find the common thread.

Do your research before reaching out to someone. Through LinkedIn and personal websites, it’s easy to find out someone’s background, interests, education, network, etc. If you have share something in common with them, whether it’s someone in your network or an interest, then share that in the email. This will help build a more personal connection and give someone more reason to take the time to respond.

 

Be thankful.

When I sit down to write an email back to someone, it often takes 30 – 45 minutes of my time to gather my thoughts, write the email and proofread. It might seem like an email response is a simple ask, but it takes time for someone to respond. When they do, be thankful. Reply and let them know you got it. Show them you are thankful and let them know how you are going to take action from their advice.

It’s amazing how many times I’ve written an email and never even heard a “thank you” back. Time is valuable asset. When people give it, show your thanks.

 

Give updates.

I give back because I enjoy it. If I can help someone, even in a small way with his or her career, it’s worth taking the time to respond. But, if I take the time to respond to an email, I would prefer it not be a “one and done”. I want to actually connect.

The people I have built relationships with from them reaching out are the ones that have followed up with updates. They keep me informed with new jobs, with their work, with ideas, etc. (these aren’t day-to-day updates, but big updates/interesting projects).

If someone is willing to help you along the way, then give updates on your work. Show how they’ve helped you. Build the type of relationships where you both can bounce ideas off of one another. Following up is a powerful thing.

 

Be considerate.

My last piece of advice for reaching out to someone is to be considerate. Remember that it takes time to respond—don’t abuse someone’s kindness. And always be willing to give back too.

Networking is a powerful thing in the sports industry, but there’s definitely an art and a science to it. Network in a way that is beneficial to you AND the person you are reaching out to. Make you are being thoughtful, understand what you want to accomplish and are being respectful of the other person’s time. Network to build a build, a relationship. That will help you in the long run.

 


 

 

What tips do you have for reaching out to others in the industry? Let us know below!

 

Thanks for reading!

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.