The Lightning Launch a Seat Seeker Initiative to Reward Active Twitter Followers with Tickets

The Tampa Bay Lightning recently celebrated the start of the 2011-12 season by creating a promotional platform that rewards fans for interacting with the team on Twitter. As part of the platform, entitled the Tampa Bay Lightning Seat Seeker, fans can follow the team's official Twitter handle (@TBLightning) to receive messages when free tickets are placed at secret locations throughout the Tampa Bay area.

Once the message is posted, Lightning fans are encouraged to use the hashtag #BeTheThunder to unlock clues that zero in on the location of the tickets. Once the location is revealed, the first person who finds the tickets wins them.

The Lightning launched a landing page to host the Seat Seeker initiative, which features a camera that zooms in on the location of the tickets every time a designated amount of tweets occur. The site includes a countdown unit that shows how many total tweets have been posted (240+ to date) and how many are needed to activate the next zoom.

The lucky Lightning fan who won tickets for the team's Opening Night game found them at a McDonald's location on West Kennedy Blvd., showcasing how teams can effectively benchmark and utilize the social media promotion to drive traffic and publicity to corporate partners' retail locations. 

Check it out below - a great, engaging tactic!

A special thanks to Caryn Switaj of the Tampa Bay Lightning for her insights and contributions to this column!

The Simple Twitter Guide for Sports Business Professionals

Twitter is an extremely simple communication platform but there are many misconceptions out there about how it can effectively be used, etc. With many individuals of all ages getting on Twitter and asking their business associates for assistance, etc. we wanted to provide a guide to effectively use Twitter as a communications platform in the sports business space. 

Here are a list of tips that can enhance your communication efforts on Twitter:


1. While 140 characters are available for use in a tweet, the basic rule of thumb is to use a maximum of 120 characters, leaving 20 available for others to retweet your message

2. With a significant number of users monitoring Twitter via their mobile phone, it's best to keep tweets as short as possible so they can easily retweet without hassle

3. In an effort to minimize the length of tweets (and include valuable content) consider using URL-shorteners like and

  • To simply use these URL shorteners, copy the URL of the site/content you want to drive traffic to, paste it into the URL shortener, click "Shorten!" and then copy and paste that URL into your Tweet


1. Content is key on Twitter - the more original, insightful, enriching, interactive and unique the better...

2. Terrific platforms to acquire unique content to share with others include: YouTube, Flickr, Google Alerts, Quotes, Publications that Report Statistics, and Blogs

3. The best time of day to tweet (and have your tweets noticed) by working professionals is between 8-11am EST, when most people are beginning their day in all time zones across the U.S. and are checking their emails, social media, and communication platforms

4. People love viewing pictures and video - so don't be shy to call those items out in your tweet


1. It is important to fill out your complete profile with a photo, short bio, URL (whether that's for your business, personal blog, LinkedIn profile, etc.), and location - people like knowing who they are communicating with... this is incredibly important

2. Create a captivating background for your profile. While you may not have the most artistic/creative abilities, someone in your company or personal network likely can assist you with developing a background for your profile. Elements to consider including are: QR codes, contact information, corporate partner logos, professional imagery, stylish designs

3. Get a professional headshot taken (you will need it at some point in your career; start now) and use it as the photo of your profile

Communication Efforts

1. Twitter is a communication portal, not a press release. Therefore, it is important that you interact on Twitter with two-way communication. If you do not feel comfortable responding to individuals openly (via RT's), send them a Direct Message thanking them for following you, retweeting you, and/or communicating with you

2. Take time out of your day to monitor the Twitter feed to see what others in your industry/network are Tweeting about and RT content that you feel would be valuable for others

3. Twitter is a terrific tool for networking purposes. Seek out others in your industry/extended network and converse with them... Active users love opening their Twitter platform to find that people are reaching out and communicating with them directly

4. If you use your Twitter platform for business purposes, consider linking it to your LinkedIn profile so you can stay active on both platforms. Within your profile on LinkedIn, there are areas to post your Twitter profile and also embed your Twitter feed ... so it will show up in your communication feed. But only do this if you use Twitter as a communication platform for business/networking purposes

Twitter Platforms

1. While some Twitter users prefer to use the general Twitter platform (, most choose to use other platforms that enable them to follow lists and post tweets from multiple accounts more easily

2. Commonly used (free) Twitter platforms include HootSuite and Tweetdeck. From a mobile standpoint, there are a range of options to choose from (ranging from free to a few dollars) which you can access by going to the app store on your phone, typing in Twitter, and downloading the most highly recommended applications   

Using Twitter for Networking / Biz Dev Purposes

1. Twitter serves as an effective means to directly connect with professionals working in your industry. Seek out these individuals by:

  •  Monitoring who your friends/colleagues follow - scroll through the lists of individuals your friends/colleagues follow (or have following them) and follow individuals who appear to have similar backgrounds/industry interests as yourself
  • Search for other sports business professionals on Google. Simply search, "Individual's name" "Twitter" and you will usually find a direct link to that person's Twitter handle in the Top 5 search results if they are using the platform
  • Search for industry keywords like "sports" "sports business" "sports marketing" "sponsorship" "ticket sales", etc. on We Follow to see a full list of other sports business professionals
  • Search your friends/colleagues' Lists (which are usually segmented by topics like "College Athletics" "Sports Marketing" "Sports Business" "Athletic Directors")
  • Search on Google for list topics, including "Insert Topic" (i.e. Sports Marketing) "Twitter" "List"

2. Turn Twitter connections into personal connections by setting a goal to meet X individuals in person throughout the year at conferences, networking event, lunches, happy hours, etc.

3. Partake in live educational chats. A current group of individuals, led by Lou Imbriano and JW Cannon, lead a weekly sports business industry chat using the hashtag #sbchat


1. Lists on Twitter serve as a great way to manage all of the different segments of individuals you choose to follow on the platform.

2. Use Lists effectively to segment those you follow (especially if it's a number exceeding 500) into categories like "Global Sports" "Sports Marketing" "College Marketers" "Brands" "Sports Properties" "Athletic Directors", etc.

3. While it takes a little while to segment those you follow into groups, Twitter Lists can serve as an effective means to follow a wide range of individuals and topics, especially when using HootSuite or TweetDeck, where you can monitor multiple lists at once 


1. People use hashtags, which are commonly used terms (e.g. sponsorship) or relevant topic matter (MarchMadness) with a number sign in front (e.g. #sponsorship, #MarchMadness) to communicate directly with others interested in the topic. When using Hootsuite/TweetDeck, you can set up specific columns to follow hashtags and/or you can use the Twitter search button to search for hashtags (e.g. relevant topics) the same way that you would search for other Twitter users

2. Begin following #SportsBiz, #sponsorship, #sbachat, and #MarchMadness to get a feel for the best way you can use hashtags