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.

GIF Inspiration From The Basketball Season (So Far)

I talked about this early in the football season, but the sports industry is stepping up its GIF game. Long gone are the days where teams and leagues focus only on pop culture GIFS. Now, teams and leagues are creating their own on-brand GIFS with originality and creativity. I curated a great collection of GIFS for the football season. Now it’s time for basketball to shine.

Before we get into the examples though, here are some tips for using GIFS:

 

No. 1- Pick your moments.

GIFS can be overused. 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. What moments cause great reactions? That’s when GIFS work well. Remember, GIFS are a treat and not an every tweet thing.

 

No. 2- Avoid redundancy.

GIFS can be a powerful content piece to enhance play-by-play coverage. It gets extremely redundant thought using the exact same GIFS over and over again for a certain moment. If you plan GIFS for certain in-game plays, then consider creating several options to pull from. GIFS can absolutely be repurposed and used again, but there’s a fine line before the content gets boring. It’s important to find a way to mix it up.

 

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 teams leverage their own footage to give us a laugh. Take the time to go through football and find those funny moments you can splice and dice.

Julie Phayer of the Warriors actually did a poll asking what type of GIFS fans preferred GIFS that featured the team and players over pop culture ones:

 

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.

 

No. 5- If you use pop culture GIFS….

make them relevant to your team. A few of us in the #smsports community got into a conversation about GIFS, and @Ober made a great point: Pop culture GIFS are more impactful when the theme somehow ties back to your brand (even loosely). His example:  The Eagles using Fresh Prince GIFs because of the Philly connection.

 

Now that you have these tips in mind, it’s time to get inspired. Below is a collection of some of the best GIFS I have seen so far this basketball (NBA and college) so far this season. Enjoy!
 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 
 


 

 

Have you seen any GIFS you love? Share them below!

Thanks for reading!

Let’s Talk Play-by-Play

There’s one thing with Twitter + sports I wish would go away: Dry, boring play-by-play. We live in a world of excessive information where fans have the option to consume things multiple ways, from multiple sources. The weight of every play does not rest on your Twitter account. That’s a beautiful thing!

I don’t literally mean tweeting every single play when I refer to play-by-play. I’m talking about dry and boring game updates like “pass is incomplete, there’s 3:41 left in the 3rd, we still lead, etc.” These moments don’t drastically change the game or momentum. Twitter isn’t Gamecast. Don’t treat it like that.

I really believe it’s time to throw away the play-by-play. Here are a few things to think about:

 

Limited resources? Focus on the big splash.

We all know staff and resources are limited everywhere. Instead of stressing about capturing every moment, focus on the highlights that count. When you free yourself up to focus on quality versus quantity, you can get more creative. You can’t do it all, so focus your energy where you can make the biggest splash.

 

It’s about the majority.

One thing I always hear in the play-by-play debate is that some fans want to have all the updates. On a social media network where you broadcast to a wide audience, “some” shouldn’t dictate what you do. Your coverage should be about the majority. It’s not about the 49 percent, but the 51 percent. Teams stand a greater chance of losing fans to excessive play-by-play (for being annoying), than losing fans because you don’t do it.

Cal Basketball took to Twitter polls to see if their fans wanted play-by-play. This a great idea to figure out what the majority wants.

 

Make the tweets unique.

I’m not opposed to game updates. That would be silly. I’m saying fans don’t need most plays. Focus on big highlights. Use visuals. Have fun. Make the commentary on the game something different than what fans can get elsewhere. Anyone can do dry and boring play-by-play, so focus on thing that can make your coverage your own.

 

Let the stats talk.

When you look at the stats, you’ll notice fans respond to color commentary and fun reactions much more than standard play-by-play. Don’t ignore the stats. Pay attention to the engagement of each tweet.

 

There are other options.

Just because your main team account doesn’t do play-by-play, doesn’t mean your fans can get it. Drive them to the places where they can follow along. And if all else fails, consider setting up a separate “game update” account.

 
This list skims the surface of why it’s time to rethink play-by-play. Twitter should be fun and engaging; it should be anything by dry and boring. When you realize your account isn’t responsible for covering every single play, it frees you up to do some really stellar things.

 


What are your thoughts? Is play-by-play a yay or nay?

 

Thanks for reading! 

Twitter Approaches to Rethink

This post tackles Twitter approaches in sports that it’s time to rethink. I’ve picked these trends for several reasons. Some aren’t fan-friendly, while others don’t leverage the strength of the platform. I get the list below has large, blanket statements. I know that some of the things listed here might make sense for your team, league or organization based on goals, resources and situations. My hope is this post might get you thinking about why you approach things a certain way. We’re all guilty of getting in a rhythm of doing things the same old way. If this post makes you sit back and ask “why” at all, then it’s done its job.

So without further ado, here are current Twitter approaches in sports I wish would go away (with a little help from my #smsports friends):

 

No. 1- Play button on images.

There are few things more frustrating than seeing the “play” button on Twitter only to realize that it’s not an actual video but a screenshot driving elsewhere. Not only is this deceiving for fans, but it also makes content consumption more difficult. Fans want to consume easily and quickly.

Today video content can be shared straight on the platform, so why not meet fans where they are? The days of only driving people to .com should be gone. Let your fans consume great content on the platforms where they play and drive to deeper dives that social can’t provide.

 

No. 2- Same GIF over and over again.

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

The @Seahawks score GIFS are a great example of using templates to turn out content quickly but also keeping it fresh. They mix up the visual with different photos for every score update:

 

No. 3- GIFing just to GIF.

I love GIFS, but they can be overused. 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.

Remember this: GIFS are a treat and not an every tweet thing.

 

No. 4- Not engaging with fans.

All too often teams and leagues just push on the platform. Twitter isn’t just a broadcast platform; it’s a community where teams and leagues need to engage. The platform is an opportunity to foster relationships and cultivate brand ambassadors. I’m amazed at how many teams still don’t take the time to engage with their fans.

When a team / league @replies to a fan on Twitter, they’re encouraging them to be brand ambassadors and igniting their passion. A reply to a fan encourages them to tweet their love of the team / league even more. Additionally, people often retweet brand responses and replies to them. This is a win, as there’s nothing more powerful than earned media and word of mouth.

The ability to listen and connect directly with fans is one of the things that sets Twitter (and social media) a part from traditional media. Take advantage of it.

 

No. 5- Using retweets as engagement.

Many teams retweet fans like crazy, but don’t engage. The idea of using retweets as a form of engagement needs to change. I believe in retweeting, but the tweet should add value to entire audience. Don’t retweet as an acknowledgement. Reply to acknowledge and retweet to add value. If you only retweet then you aren’t engaging.

 

No. 6- Play-by-Play.

There is still way too much play-by-play on Twitter. The platform isn’t about replacing the broadcast; it’s about enhancing the viewing experience for those at home. There are so many ways for fans to consume play-by-play if they want it. Don’t clutter your feed with boring and mundane play-by-play updates. Focus on the big moments, color commentary and “insider” stories that add more value.

When you look at the stats, you’ll notice fans respond to color commentary and fun reactions much more than standard play-by-play. Look at these examples from the @Panthers (who in their defense don’t do much play-by-play) and the engagement each with each tweet:

As you can see above, the tweets that perform best are fun; they make it seems like the account is sitting in the living room with you. They are anything but dry and boring play-by-play (and this is from a team that doesn’t even do that much play-by-play).

 

No. 7- Not creating for the platform.

Square images don’t belong on Twitter. We all know that, so stop trying to force it. No matter the platform, all content should play to the platform’s strength. This means creating content specifically for Twitter (2:1 ratio). Make it easy for fans to consume your message. Size your graphics accordingly.

 

No. 8- Pushing Facebook and Instagram Links.

This one goes along with creating for the platform. Long gone should be the days of cross-promoting Facebook and Instagram links to Twitter. First, what works on Facebook and/or Instagram might not work on Twitter. Second, Facebook and Instagram links aren’t media rich. If you have great content, tailor it to Twitter and share it natively. It’s okay to share similar content across platforms, but it should be repurposed appropriately.

 

No. 9- Forcing Humor.

Somewhere along the line in sports we’ve gotten the idea that humor and gimmicks are what it takes to win on Twitter.

This is sports though! Sports are full of emotion, stories and big moments. The beauty is that you don’t have to resort to gimmicks. Save humor for the moments where it really makes sense. Don’t force it!

Additionally, don’t cross the line for the sake of vanity metrics. Stay on brand and remember that everything you tweet is a reflection of the organization through and through. Twitter and social media is suppose to be fun, but it shouldn’t come at a cost.

 

The bottom line is this: Take a step back and evaluate why you do what you do. I know some of these things might make sense for your team or league, but make sure content consumption is easy for fans and that you leverage Twitter’s strengths. Twitter isn’t just about broadcasting, so be thoughtful in everything you do.

 


 

When I asked the what trends people who like to see go away, I got some great responses that I didn’t get a chance to include. You can view the entire thread here.

 

 

Thanks for reading! 

A Subtle Prompt from the @Seahawks

We are extremely immersed in the platforms daily as social media managers. This is a blessing and curse. We know all about the latest and greatest, but we often use the apps and networks differently than the average consumer. It’s easy to forget that we are not our audience, and we can become jaded about certain things.

Calls-to-engagements are one of the things that get written off  because to us they feel forced, phony, cheesy, etc. And while you don’t want to always resort to gimmicks, sometimes your fans need a little nudge. Calls-to-engagement should be a tool in the toolbox.

If you don’t want to use obvious prompts though, there is good news. They can be subtle! The Seattle Seahawks gave a great example of what this look likes:

This tweet promoted their fans to reply “Hawks”. And whether or not this prompt was intentional, it’s a great example of thinking creatively about what might encourage your fans to action.

If you aren’t thinking about ways to get your community engaged, then start strategizing around it. Calls-to-engagement are a powerful rallying cry. They can catapult a great piece of content even further, draw new fans in and simply help to build a stronger community. They should absolutely used.

Want more ideas for calls-to-engagement? Check out this post here.

 


Have you seen any good examples of subtle prompts? If so, share them below!

Thanks for reading!