Three Teams Dancing & Taking Fans Behind the Scenes

A good social media presence in sports goes far beyond the scoreboard and venue walls. It taps into the heartbeat of your team, community, players and journey. Sports are emotional; but they’re even more emotional when you tell a story beyond the game itself.

Look around you. There are so many stories to tell. From gameday rituals to team bonding to the silent moments before the stadium fills with fans, there are many ways to give fans a look behind the curtain. Take the time to tell the full story, not just the game story. Here’s why:

1- Fans crave this content because it’s something they never get to see unless you provide it.

2- It helps to humanize the team.

3- And, it tugs at people’s emotions (and people share content that evokes emotion).

During this year’s NCAA DI Men’s Basketball Tournament, several teams have done a great job telling their full story socially. And, big stages like this are a great time to focus on the behind-the-scenes content. The game is elevated and storytelling should be too. After all, emotions are high.

I’ve gathered few examples of teams rocking their behind-the-scenes content during this year’s tournament. Hopefully they inspire you to start looking beyond the action for content too:

 

UCLA

UCLA has created a video series called “Made in March” that combines both game action and behind-the-scenes shots. In the videos, there are snippets of how the team travels, voiceover from the locker room and much more. The videos are short, but give just enough glimpses into the days so you understand the journey the team is on. It’s a simple and powerful use of video.

In addition to the video series, UCLA Athletics has leveraged Exposure.co to showcase the team’s journey. The photo essay platform is a great way to tell a simple, yet powerful, visual story. The work from the Bruins is a great example of how to use Exposure.

 

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Wisconsin

Wisconsin has nailed social storytelling on Twitter during this year’s tournament. Scroll through their Twitter feed and it feels exactly like a “day in the life”. From a peek into workouts to team selfies, Wisconsin fans must feel like are on their journey with the team. This is a great example of how behind-the-scenes coverage doesn’t have to be complicated; a few good photos and descriptive copy can go a really long way. It’s also very clear that their social/communications team is trusted fully as access doesn’t seem to be a problem here (start building those relationships internally, now).

 

Oklahoma

Much like Wisconsin, Oklahoma has hit a slam dunk with their social storytelling on Twitter. The content is compelling, gives fans a glimpse into their team’s personality and captures the emotion of the journey. Again, access and trust is key. Without access, it’s impossible to tell a behind-the-scenes story. Below are some of the golden moments from the Sooners.

 

These three examples above scratch the surface of how teams can tell a behind-the-scenes story. While many tend to flock to Twitter for this, there are so many other ways to tell your story. Think about leveraging Facebook albums, Snapchat (takeovers), Instagram and video features all as a way to take fans behind the scenes. Don’t limit yourself to one platform; tell the story cohesively across all. With planning, access and open eyes and ears, you can bring your fans along the emotional journey. Remember, it’s not just about the scores and the championships, but how the team gets there.

 


 


What other teams are doing a good job of telling a behind-the-scenes story at this year’s tournament? Share your examples below!

Thanks for reading! 

Five Ways @MarchMadness Is Hitting a Slam Dunk Socially

Turner has already shared some promising statistics on the social media chatter of the tournament. Since Saturday, March 21 the NCAA Tournament has earned 82 million total impressions across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. That’s up 35 percent from last year. This comes as no surprise; with a bracket busting year, everywhere you look on Twitter another tournament-related topic is trending.

Aside from the excitement of the tournament, it’s clear the March Madness team has worked hard to provide top-notch digital and social coverage. They aren’t just providing play-by-play. They are enhancing the viewing experience for fans no matter their allegiance.

While we still have a ways to go before a champion is crowned, the March Madness platforms are winning on social. Here’s a look at what is standing out so far:

 

Platform agnostic.

With March Madness, it’s not a digital versus broadcast game. They are taking the coverage where the fans are. From the traditional TV coverage to the live streams on NCAA.com and highlights on social media, fans can consume the games anyway they want.

In this day and age, mobility is key. Don’t fight trying to push fans to a platform; go where they are. When you look at the totality of numbers, you will have more success.

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Meaningful sponsor integraton.

All too often sponsors are slapped on social content without looking for a way to make a meaningful connection between the story and the sponsor. If you can integrate a sponsor into compelling content gracefully, it’s a win for both the fans and the sponsor. And, March Madness has had several sponsorship wins:

Dove Real Strength
This is a slam-dunk sponsor integration for March Madness. Dove is leveraging their sponsorship to showcase how the men of the tournament demonstrate real strength through uplighting, heartwarming and emotional stories. Stories include everything from Ron Hunter and his son to Mike Brey dealing with the loss of his mom. The content couldn’t be more on brand for Dove, and it’s also extremely compelling for fans (just look at the engagement below). Wins all the way around!

Axe Step-Up Performance
March Madness has integrated Axe into their video content in a series focused on step-up performances. The content aligns nicely with the Axe brand and is something that fans enjoy seeing. An easy and smart integration.

ATT&T Courtside
ATT&T and March Madness are giving fans a court-side view of the action through compelling photo galleries. It’s compelling content and a sponsor integration that isn’t too intrusive:

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On-brand GIFs.

GIFS have become a popular content choice on Twitter. And while GIFS are wonderful, all too often they focus on the world of pop culture and away from the brand. Here’s the thing though: If you take a look around, you’ll realize there are golden, GIFable moments happening within the venue. March Madness is doing a really good job of splicing and dicing these golden moments from the tournament into GIFS. This content is humorous, surprising and fun (and on brand, #winning):

 

Inside access.

It’s easy to focus on the scores, stats and on-the-field action, but the gold is in the players and the emotional journey. Fans crave behind-the-scenes content because it’s something they never get to see it during the game. It makes the team more human, helps to foster a deeper connection and tends to pull at people’s emotions (and people share content that evokes emotion).

March Madness is doing a great job of capitalizing on their access to tell the behind-the-scenes story and emotional moments in conjunction with the games. And, even better, the stories are behind told through video:

 

Stellar graphics.

Good graphics are all the rage right now in sports, and my guess is this trend is here to stay. Design can help content to stand out from the noise, tell the story and emphasize a point. And, the March Madness accounts have done a good job creating compelling visuals to engage their audience. From channel changer notifications to quote graphics, matchups and more, design has played a key role in their content approach. Here’s just a small preview:

 

As the tournament continues to unfold, be sure to give March Madness a follow on Twitter and Facebook. They are producing stellar content and doing a great job of telling the story online.

 


 

 

What do you think about the coverage from March Madness? What stands out to you?

Thanks for reading! 

A Quick Overview of the Warriors’ Social Media Night

I recently wrote about UNC’s awesome Social Media Night. When done right, these events can help to bridge the gap between the online and offline world, empower your biggest advocates and attract new fans. And, the opportunities for events like this are endless as long as you unleash your creativity.

This week the Warriors host a Social Media Night that proved, like UNC, how fun these events can be. And while the theme was the same, the initiatives from both teams were different. It’s a great example of how wide open the opportunities are.

I’ve compiled some of the Warriors great ideas from Social Media Night to give you more inspiration. Between this one and UNC’s, you should be ready to roll with a fabulous social night anytime. Here they are:

Social Media Shooting Shirts

The players wore shooting shirts that featured their Twitter handles. The shirts are also available for fans to purchase.

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Snapchat Geofilter

The Warriors uploaded a social media night themed geofilter to Snapchat that fans could use in-venue for the game. This is a great way to promote the initiative and empower your audience to spread the word.

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Social Insider

Fans dream of tweeting for their favorite team! So, the Warriors picked a fan to cover the game socially for them as the “Dubs Social Insider”. This is certainly a great way to reward a brand ambassador, under guidance and supervision of course.

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Contest for Viewers at Home

When you host a social media night, getting your fans engaged at home can be tough. In addition to great content, the Warriors also hosted a contest for fans at home to win free swag. For the contest, they asked fans to snap a picture of #FitzandJB during the broadcast. A simple, easy and fun way to get fans engaged at home and reward them for tuning in.

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In-Venue Integration

To encourage social sharing, Instagram photos and tweets were featured on the scoreboard. The Warriors also had section giveaways determined by the volume of fan tweets; a fun and creative way to get people to rally.

Social Media-Themed GIFS / Graphics

The Warriors created GIFS and graphics that included social media elements like emojis and hashtags. This is a great way to incorporate the theme of the night into social content.

Photo Opportunity

To encourage fans photos, the Warriors had an Instagram frame prop that fans could pose and take pictures with. If a fan used the appropriate hashtag, their photo was then featured on the Instagram Wall. The Instagram frame is a fun and easy way to give fans a photo opportunity. The mobility of the prop is great for in-venue activations too.

 

While the Warriors had a few other initiatives during the night, this gives you a great overall idea of their fun and successful Social Media Night. And as you can see, the opportunities are endless. These themed nights are a great way to rally the troops and reward your biggest ambassadors. Just remember, if you are hosting a social media night, it’s important to promote the event across all your channels.

 


 

What do you think would work well for a social media night? I would love to hear your ideas below!

Thanks for reading! 

You Are Not Your Audience

Let’s be honest. I’m not the average social media user. I have tweeted 19,500 times, my LinkedIn connections have surpassed my Facebook friends and I hop on every new platform that Mashable writes a review about. As a social media manger, my usage/consumption habits couldn’t be more opposite of the audience I’m trying to reach (for the most part, at least).

When you work in social and digital, it’s easy to forget the rest of the world doesn’t operate like we do. We geek out over meerkating, adore the refresh button and believe good content will save us all. Yes, we live in a bubble. A social media bubble where we connect with strangers, take part in tweetchats, meet online before we meet offline and always seek out the next best thing. In all seriousness, we’re different than our team’s/league’s audience.

The recent Meerkat obsession is a perfect example of how those of us in social/digital are different than the average consumer. My friends that don’t work in social or tech have no idea what Meerkat is, yet all of a sudden it’s a viral sensation. The app hasn’t gone viral to the masses; it’s gone viral in our techie circle.

Before we start pushing out Meerkat live streams to our fans just because it’s the bright and shiny thing, we must understand why we are doing it. Do our fans want to consume content this way? Does the app provide a unique perspective? What’s the value? Just because we are enamored with Meerkat, doesn’t mean it makes sense for our team or league. This is true for all new platforms and trends.

Here’s that all-important reminder: You are not your audience.

This understanding, that we are different than our audience, is an important reminder as social media managers. Our job is not to worry and obsess about the content and platforms we care about; it’s our job to obsess with the content, platforms and consumption habits of our audience. But, how do we do that? Here are a few of the ways I stay tried and true to the audience:

Test personally.
I believe strongly in testing platforms, mediums, etc. personally before throwing it on the consumer. Figure out the pros, the cons, the nuances and the wins before you give it a “go” as a brand. This will ensure that you aren’t left behind with the latest trends and also let’s you figure out how it might fit into your goals, audience, brand, etc. before you activate.

Start with what you want to accomplish.
As with anything, when you embark on a new initiative, ask what you want to accomplish. Often there are many different ways to accomplish something or tell a story, so don’t let a platform pigeon hold you.

For example, while Meerkat has pushed live streaming into the spotlight, the idea of live streaming isn’t anything new. Perhaps another method, like Hangouts On Air, makes more sense in form or function for your audience. Trends and emerging platforms can spark some great ideas. Just remember, sometimes there’s a better form and function that will work for your audience. Always start with what you want to accomplish then go from there.

Ask the whys.
“Why” is my favorite question. Why does the fan care? Why does this add value? Why are we doing this? If you can’t answer the whys, then you should probably just move along.

Listen to metrics.
Metrics tell the most powerful story. They let us know what resonates with our fans and what compels them to share. Pay attention to metrics and what your audience cares about. If something isn’t resonating, whether it’s a platform or a content series, don’t be afraid to step away from it. Trying something new in social media/digital is great; being tone deaf to its success or failure is not. Don’t turn a blind eye to what the stats say just because you liked the idea (or thought of) in the first place.

Ask your audience.
Thanks to social media, you have a focus group of sorts right at your fingertips. Don’t be afraid to ask your audience what platforms they like, what content they care about, etc. Your audience is right there. Ask, listen and then take action.

As a social media manager, it’s easy to forget that not everyone uses the platforms like you do. In this meerkating, latest app obsessed world, don’t forget to take a step back and put yourself in your audience’s shoes. To do social media right, you have to remember that it’s not about how you consume but about how they consume.


How do you make sure you are staying tried and true to what your audience craves? Share your insight below!

Thanks for reading! 

Coaching Resume Infographic

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When the Atlanta Falcons announced a new head coach, they created the graphic above to display all of his credentials. This is a great example of how you can use visuals to tell a story, both on and off the field. And, this idea would work well for both players and coaches.

Visuals can pack a powerful punch. As you plan content, don’t forget to think through how they can help you tell a more impactful story.