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!

Strong #SMSports Examples of Twitter Polls

Twitter Polls were released to everyone back in October. Since then, Twitter has continued to enhance the function. You can now set time durations and add multiple choices (the only thing missing really is visuals). So far the response to polls has been stellar. Twitter just celebrated 1.7 billion votes. They get a lot more engagement than the average tweet and seem to be a great way to interact with fans and consumers. Even then, they should be used strategically and sparingly. Make an impact and be smart about how you leverage the Polls.

If you haven’t used Twitter Polls yet, I strongly encourage you to find a way to integrate them into your content plan in a meaningful way. How can you give fans a voice? What makes them want to interact? Below are some strong examples of how teams and leagues have used Polls.

 

Spur In-Game Conversation

Twitter is a great second screen experience. Fans flock to the platform for the real-time nature and free flowing conversation around the games. As people always say, Twitter is the best sports bar around. This season, the @Seahwaks used Polls around reviews to get fans opinions on the call. This is a great way to capitalize on the real-time nature of hte games and heated conversations that go on with play reviews.

 

Give Fans a True Voice

Social media is a powerful tool when fans feel like their opinion and voice is heard. Twitter Polls are a great tool to take action based on what the fans want. Give them a voice. Listen to them. Take action on what they say. Whether you’re deciding uniform combinations or what fans want with their social media coverage, give fans a voice and consider and act upon what they want. This is will build a stronger and more engaged community.

 

Fun Interaction

Polls are also just a great way to interact with fans. Figure out your key moments throughout the season to leverage Polls and get fans to interact on a different level. Kansas Basketball used a Poll to have fans vote for their favorite GameDay sign. They tweeted out the pictures of the signs, then followed up with a poll. A great example of how Polls can be leverage in fun, authentic ways.

 

This ideas above only skim the surface of how Polls can be used. Think about big moments for your team or league where fans are going to be extremely tuned in. Think about how you can use polls to take action, whether it’s asking fans what type of content they want or capitalizing on chatter, Twitter Polls are a great way to interact with fans. Leverage them!

 


 

 

What great use cases have you seen for Twitter Polls? Share them below!

Thanks for reading.