3 Strong Plays From The Phillies

There was season in sports + social media where everything celebrated was snarky. It didn’t matter if it was the right voice for your team and brand. It was race for retweets. The snark revolution led to some unfortunate incidents, including a few that cost talented people their jobs.

But we’re starting to see a shift in the industry where teams get that their voice can come to life in many different ways. Yes, social media is meant to be more human. It’s meant to be fun. But you can break through the clutter and have fun, without jeopardizing the brand and what it stands for.

This year the Phillies have stepped up their social media game. They’ve found a groove, a brand voice and managed to have lots of fun without overstepping the line. They’re a great example of a team standing out from the clutter in a way that is still right for the brand.

If you need a little inspiration on how to breakthrough without the snark, the Phillies are a good place to start. Below are three strong plays that have helped them breakthrough already this season.

 

Embracing the power of community.

Community management is probably one of the most underrated aspects of social in sports. I understand that resources and manpower can be limited, but even setting aside five minutes a day to interact with fans can go a long way.

Here’s the thing. Social media is not just about pushing content. It’s about building a community and relationships. Simple gestures of appreciation for fans can go a long way in building lasting relationships. The Phillies gave us a great example of this when they surprised a fan and his daughter tickets to their Autism Awareness Night.

The gesture was noticed by fans, teams and the media, earning a ton of coverage for the Phillies.

Not only did they make a fans day, but they also helped to raise coverage of what their organization stands for (by giving back to fans and with their Autism Awareness Night). Win, win, win.

Why We Love Sports Today: Phillies surprise a fan and his daughter with tickets to Autism Awareness Night.

A post shared by SportsCenter (@sportscenter) on

 

Combating tough times with a little humor.

There are certain things when you work in sport that aren’t fun to communicate A lot of times, you have no control over them. Take rain delays. No one wants to hear that a game is canceled, but let’s be honest, no one has control over the weather. A rain delay is what it is.

The Phillies decided to take some liberty during one of their rain delays and take a not-so-fun moment and spin it with a little light hearted humor.

Fans love the tweet. In the hard to please internet, people were even calling for the social media manager to have a raise. The message was relatable, humorous and delivered in the right moment. Not every situation can be spun with humor like this—but for a rain delay, it was a great way to break the ice.

Sometimes truth and humor can go a long way. As long as the subject isn’t something that is sensitive. Use your judgement and common sense wisely here.

 

Keeping it real.

In a similar vein to their weather delay play, the Phillies have also found a way to keep it real without overstepping their bounds on the snark.

Sometimes there’s beauty in the truth when delivered the right way. This bio change is a great example of how you can play with a bit of snark without overstepping what’s right for the brand. Bravo to the Phillies on finding that delicate balance.

 

All in all, the Phillies new take to social media is a great example of how teams can break out from the clutter and have some fun without hurting the brand. Social media should connect and engage fans. But, you have to be willing to test and push the boundaries in a way that doesn’t harm the brand. When you work on defining your voice and understand the moments where your willing to take risks, you can win… like the Phillies have.

More Connecting, Less Networking

The other day I was lucky enough to join about 10 people in the industry for drinks and dinner in NYC. The group had a range of experiences and backgrounds, but as with anyone who works in the industry, we were all connected by similar struggles and nuances of working in this thing called social. The conversation flowed freely and it was hard to believe that this was the first time we had all met collectively IRL (“in real life”).

This meeting all started with a simple tweet.

And THIS is a great example of why I love Twitter. As an introvert, it has bridged a gap for me. It has allowed me to reach out to people in a way that I’m comfortable. With Twitter, I can build relationships online, and then take them offline… just like we did that night in NYC.

I felt energized after the dinner and drinks. It’s refreshing to be around people who get what you do and understand the struggles of working in social and digital (yes, we do more than tweet for a living). It wasn’t a meeting about “what can you do for me” but genuinely about “getting to know everyone”.

After meeting everyone in person, it would be easy to recommend and connect them to others in the industry if they ever needed it.

This meet-up reminded me of the importance of connecting and building bridges versus asking, taking and networking. This digital world opens up doors to people you admire in the industry, from peers to CEO, but you have to bridge relationships the right way. Too often I see or hear emails being sent to people in the industry that simply say, “I love sports and want a job in it”.

Let’s get one thing straight: No one in this industry will give you a job or reference with a cold call email like that.

Whether you’re looking for your first job out of school or making a transition, you can’t abuse the tools we’ve been given to connect. Relationships open doors, not cold call emails. Reach out the right way.

Reaching out the right way means emailing with intention and not sending broad questions or simply asking for a job. It means speaking up on platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn to build connections and add perspective. It means connecting in person when you travel for work and building actual relationships… before you need that job.

The other night in NYC was a great reminder of the difference between connecting and networking, along with the power we have to build some awesome bridges with one single tweet. Let’s practice more connecting, less networking and we’ll all win.

A Curated Collection of Sports GIFspiration

Our attention spans are seven seconds. And in case you were wondering, that’s one second less than goldfish. This is an important piece to remember if your job has anything to do with the internet. Every single day, every single second we are in a competition for attention.  Long goes are the day where you can just create content; you have to create good content that stands out from the noise. Dynamic content or content that adds value are the only things that win.

GIFS are one of the good ways to stand out from the noise. The subtle motion and animation catches fans’ eyes. It’s content that’s worth investing your time in to create. Thankfully, there is a lot of inspiration out there if you’re looking to step up your GIF game. Before we get into the content though, remember to keep these things in mind when creating your GIFS:

 

No. 1- Pick your moments.

While I love great GIFS, I think you can overuse them. Take the time to think through a strategy for your GIFS and figure out the moments where you can use them for the greatest impact. GIFS are a treat and not an every tweet thing.

 

No. 2- Avoid redundancy.

I love how teams have started to use GIFS to enhance their play-by-play coverage. That said, it gets extremely redundant using the exact same GIFS over and over again. If you plan GIFS for certain moments (like touchdowns, interceptions, etc.), consider creating several options to pull from so you can mix it up. GIFS can absolutely be repurposed and used again, but there’s a fine line before the content gets boring.

 

No. 3- Find the humor in YOUR brand/team.

Teams often look to find humorous GIFS outside their team, but humorous GIFS can be really powerful when they teams leverage their own footage to give us a laugh.

 

No. 4- Focus on cadence.

GIFS work well on Twitter because they’re short, sweet and quick. If you go about creating graphic-heavy GIFS, make sure the cadence is quick enough to grab and keep your fan’s attention. The cadence is a bit art and science, but play around with the length and movement to understand what works best.

Now that you have these four tips in mind, it’s time to get inspired. Below is a collection of some of the best GIFS I’ve seen the past month or so.

 

 


 

There are a lot more GIFS out there that are worthy of attention. Seen any great ones? Share them below!

 

Thanks for reading! 

How Wimbledon Aced Their Twitter Coverage This Year

Working in social media and sports is a rare beast. There’s a strong need to prep and plan ahead, even though outcomes are unpredictable. When a team or league does plan ahead of time though, it shines through in stellar coverage. Wimbledon’s 2016 coverage is a great example of this.

Wimbledon was exciting on the court this year, but it might have been even more exciting to follow on Twitter. From their partnership with Twitter to and live coverage (for the first time in sports) to the dynamic content, the tournament was not only easy to follow on the platform, but it gave fans the best front row seat around. Below are just a few ways they aced their coverage on Twitter this year.

 

1- Unique, original content.

Social media and sports is an extremely crowded space. Between teams, leagues, media, brands and even fans, there is a lot of content and noise. Standing out means upping your original content game. Long gone are they days when pop culture GIFS and static photos are enough to stand out; people crave original, dynamic and interesting content.

Wimbledon won with their original content game. They caught fans attention and created content they wanted to share, whether it was unique illustrations for weather updates to on-brand GIFS. Below are a few of the highlights.

Take a page out of Wimbledon’s book. Plan ahead of time and build a team that turn around unique and interesting content quickly and efficiently.

 

2- Smart use of live video.

We all know that the industry is buzzing around the power of live. And even though live is all the rage right now, it doesn’t mean that everything should be streamed and Periscoped. It’s important to use live video/Periscope at moments when intimate access and live perspective makes sense.

Wimbledon did a great job leveraging Periscope. They didn’t abuse it, but instead took to streaming strategically and sparingly. From Andy Murray taking in the court by himself to engraving winners’ names on the trophy, they used Periscope in a way that was impactful, interesting and relevant.

Don’t just stream to stream. Think about what exactly the power of live means and leverage it that way.

 

3- Easy + consumable graphics.

Stats and interesting facts are an important component to game and tournament coverage, but we shouldn’t try to cram a ton of information on our fans. Wimbledon did a fantastic job of making their graphics easy and consumable. They didn’t overdo the graphics; they kept a consistent look and feel; and they designed for mobile.

Use stats to tell a story, but understand that fans don’t need to know everything in your media guide. Keep the stats and graphics simple, clean and concise.

 

4- Clean and dynamic GIFS.

Similar to their easy and consumable stat graphics, Wimbledon’s “moving on” GIFS tapped into the power of simplicity. They were clean but dynamic enough to stand out from the noise.

 

5- Focus on consumer engagement.

All too often we focus on what’s going on at the event and we don’t take time to bring in our fans at home. Wimbledon did a good job of encouraging their fans to engage with them, even if they couldn’t attend Wimbledon.

On Twitter they hosted a simple but fun UGC campaign that celebrated Wimbledon Weekend. They put together a guide on how to celebrate Finals Weekend the Wimbledon Way and asked fans to share their celebration using the hashtag #WimbledonWeekend. Not only did they have a strong CTA, but they created a great mini-series of content that showcased the proper way to celebrate with friends and really brought the concept to life.

In addition to the #WimbledonWeekend campaign, they did a good job of asking questions and encouraging other fan reactions.

 

6- Strong use of video storytelling.

All too often in sports we focus on the scores, the outcome and not enough on the emotion of the journey. But sporting events lend themselves to strong emotion and storytelling well beyond the scores. Wimbledon not only told great stories, but they did so with variety and depth. Wimbledon told their story in great fashion from hype match videos to behind-the-scenes content and unique event preparation.

As Wimbledon proves, it’s not about the length of the story, but the content. Tap into the emotion of sports/your brand, find the unique angle and understand why your consumer would care. Stick to those things you’ll create video content that wins.

 

7- Leveraged a bit of humor.

Because this little tweet was too good to resist and we all know a little humor wins.

 


 

 

What stood out to you about Wimbledon’s coverage? Share your thoughts below. 

 

Thanks for reading!

Twitter + GIPHY Can Help Spread Team Love

GIFS have been all the rage for quite some time. We see them on social, we seem them in text messages and sometimes we’re lucky enough to get them in emails.  They have taken on a pop culture relevance more than we probably could have imagined; a way for people to connect their emotion and responses to certain situations. There’s just something relatable, interesting and/or eye-catching about a good GIF.

Twitter has capitalized on the GIF trend by introducing GIF search on their platform (powered by GIPHY). Whether composing a Tweet or Direct Message, users can search and browse the GIF library by keyword, categories and reactions.

This is where the opportunity comes in. Since the search is powered by GIPHY and GIPHY offers branded channels, any brand that has a GIPHY account now has a greater opportunity of fans sharing their content. Win, win, win.

@GoHeels has an account. This is a great example of how valuable and easy it is for fans to share the content through this new Twitter feature:

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 11.32.44 PM
To get a branded GIPHY channel, you have to apply here. If you are approved, make sure you spend time:

  • Building your content collection and tagging it
  • Adding some kind of watermark to your content so you get credit
  • Cross promote it.

After that, it’s time to let fans fans share away and promote team/brand love!

 


 

What do you think about teams have their own GIPHY channel? Share your comments below.

Thanks for reading!