#SMSports Highlight Reel: The Panthers

This is a series on the blog that highlights quick, winning hits from teams or leagues on social/digital. We’ve already talked about the Raiders and Michigan Football. Next up: The Panthers.

The Panthers always come up in #smsports conversation about being one of the best of the best in the NFL. They are a brand that isn’t afraid to have fun (it is social media after all), they always show up prepared and they get community. If you don’t follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, then go ahead and do so. And while I could write on and on about all the things they do right on social media, here are my three #smsports highlights from the Panthers’ approach to this season so far.


No. 1- They know fun (within reason).

Social media should be fun, but never come at the cost of the brand. The Panthers have found a way to be fun on Twitter without resorting to over-the-top gimmicks that take away from the brand. They save humor for the moments it makes sense, making a bigger and more impactful splash.

Here’s a look at some of on-brand fun the Panthers have been able to have this season:






From the sample tweets above, it’s clear you can remain on brand and still have fun. The Panthers are proof that fun in social media doesn’t mean snark and edge that crosses the line. Take notes and pay attention!


No. 2- On fire design.

The Panthers have a sharp look and feel that’s consistent across platforms. I like their design for several reasons. First, it’s clear they do the prep work necessary to execute well during live coverage (templates are your best friend). Second, they make the information as consumable and possible (say no to info overload). And finally, they design for the platform (can I get a hallelujah?). Take a look at some of their content here:
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No. 3- They get the social piece.

All too often teams and leagues just push on social media. Twitter and other networks aren’t a broadcast platform; social media is about a community where teams and leagues need to engage. The @Panthers get the social piece of social media. They take the time to engage with their fans and their voice is fun, human and on point:



As you can see above, even the @Panthers replies earn engagement. If you want to build the strongest community possible, then replying and engaging with fans is key. No, you don’t have to respond to every single person, but it is important to take time for your fans. Don’t be a robot either… have some fun!


Extra Points

And while I typically try to keep these posts short and sweet, the Panthers presence gets a few extra points for:

This quote Vine (cool creative).

And, sponsored content that is a natural fit.

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What do you stands out to you about the Panthers’ social? Share your thoughts below!

Thanks for reading! 

#SMSports Highlight Reel: Michigan Football

In case you missed it, this is a new series on the blog that highlights quick, winning hits from teams or leagues from a social and digital perspective. The first post was about the Oakland Raiders. Next up? Michigan (specifically football).

I’ve admired Michigan’s social media presence for the beginning of this blog. One of my first Q&A’s was about their strategy, and year after year they continue to raise the bar.  Michigan is one of the programs that knows their brand through and through. The athletic department always has great graphics, content and approach to social.  And, this football season they are already winning with their GIFS, game photos and storytelling ability. Here are my three #smsports plays from Michigan Football recently:


No. 1- Short & Sweet Video Content.

Michigan Football released a couple videos leading up to the season that tapped. The video series tapped into the emotion of the program and all were short and sweet (less than 30 seconds).  The video length works well for Twitter and Instagram where fans will move on quickly. Take a look at some of the videos below:

We are so close to another GameDay. #GoBlue

A post shared by Michigan Athletics (@umichathletics) on


The Team. The Team. The Team. #GoBlue

A post shared by Michigan Athletics (@umichathletics) on


I love these videos because they prove it’s possible to tell a good, emotional story in short bursts.  When thinking about a series like this, it’s important to think about the theme for each video and how they will all tie together. Keep the ideas short and sweet. If you have less than 30 seconds to tell the story, it shouldn’t get too complicated.


No. 2- A Fan Focus.

It’s important to take time for fans. They are the pulse of your community and what keeps it going. A happy community is an engaged community; take time for them. Michigan takes time for their fans, whether they are thanking hem for their support through content or bringing fans’ tweet into their story.

Small gestures for fans go a long way. And, when you put in the right prep work, don’t have to be too time consuming. Make it a priority to put your fans front and center at certain moments. Focusing on your fans is essential.


No. 3- A Good Pulse on the Moment.

A huge part of working in social media and sports means being the eyes and ears of your fans. What content can you offer to bring them into the moment? What’s extraordinary in the ordinary? Capture content that will bring your fans chills, excitement, awe and emotion.

Michigan Football has a great pulse on the moment. They don’t overload their fans with content, but pick and chose stellar moments in time to highlight for their fans. They’ve got a great pulse on what’s going on before during and after the games. It’s quality, not quantity.

The bottom line is this: Find the strong moments that make for power highlights instead of going into content overload.


Extra Point: Transparency

When the Michigan Football, Michigan Basketball, and Michigan Athletics Facebook pages were hacked, the athletic department joined forced with university relations to give a great case study on what they learned from the hack. The transparency was phenomenal and an opportunity for all of us to learn. Read the case study here.




What do you stands out to you about the Michigan Football’s social? Share your thoughts below!

Thanks for reading! 

#SMSports Highlight Reel: Oakland Raiders

This is the start of a new series on the blog that will highlight three quick, winning moments or initiatives from a specific team or league. I often write about big moments, campaigns or longer posts, but I want to take some time to highlight top plays from teams too. My hope is this series lets me highlight more teams/leagues and brings quick ideas to the table for you.

I’m kicking this off with the Oakland Raiders. If you don’t follow them, go ahead and do so on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s clear they took time in the offseason to define their voice, look and feel and content. From a stellar black and white look to a great rallying hashtag (#CreateYourGreatness), the Raiders are killing it on social. And while there’s a lot we could talk about from their approach, here are three #smsports plays that stand out from the Raiders:


No. 1- Home Campaign

This summer the Raiders launched a fantastic brand campaign called “Home”. The simplicity and emotion in the campaign was top-notch, and it was also integrated well across social media. The campaign pays homage to their fans, community and the varying definitions of home. I wish more teams and leagues tapped into the emotion of sports way beyond the scores. Two of the sports are below:

Aside from the spots, the Raiders also released mantra graphics on social. All too often brands share spots and walk away from.  Campaigns aren’t just a one-off thing anymore. Social media allows us to celebrate and permeate the sentiment in campaigns year round (or until the next one).  Get the most out of your campaign and think about pieces made for social media you can carry throughout the year, like the Raiders did.


No. 2- Simple for the Win.

When the infographic trend first hit the social media market a couple years ago, the idea was to cram as much information into them as possible. They treated infographics like stats for media…. more is better. In reality though, consumers and fans want to consume information quick.

The Raiders have nailed small-scale infographics that are quick and easy for fans to enjoy. They are a great example of how simple often wins.

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No. 3- Responding to high-profile fans.

Carson Daly gave the Raiders a shout out on the Today Show recently, so the team sent him a personal invitation. Who knows, the shout out could lead to a great moment (to share on social, of course):

Having high-profile advocates on your side is important, even for sports teams. It can bring in a new audience and some pop culture relevance. Anyone working for a team should keep an eye out for mentions (online and offline) from celebrities, influencers, etc. and capitalize on the traction. Be creative, too!




What do you stands out to you about the Raiders’ social? Share your thoughts below!

Thanks for reading!