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    Entries in sports social media (4)


    Guest Editorial: How Connecting Online Can Produce Real Business Value

    Jonathan Norman is a sports sponsorship strategist for GMR Marketing, a major U.S. sports and event marketing firm. Jonathan has been in sports marketing and media for more than 10 years, and has worked on several major corporate branding campaigns around sports. His expertise resides in how brands reach consumers through sponsorship and activation of sports properties. Follow Jonathan on Twitter at @Jonathan_Norman and his official blog here.

    The main ballroom at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square was filled last month with the best and the brightest from sports, as executives from the leagues, teams, networks, brands and agencies gathered for the annual Sports Business Awards. Outside the ballroom, there was a familiar scene. Colleagues and friends shared updates and insights that could lead to the next great idea in sports, and introductions were made that could lead to new partnerships that alter the sports landscape.

    Networking is critical for our industry, and as many of you know, it’s expanded online significantly in the last five years. Portals such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other industry-specific social communication sites have changed the way we do business. With nearly 750 million accounts between the three major sites, the impact continues to grow.

    Twitter has certainly found popularity among the sports industry in particular, as 42 percent of those surveyed in the 2010 SBJ/SBD Reader Survey are using the service, up six percentage points from the previous year. Assuming that our industry has a universe of 50,000 individuals domestically and internationally (a very round estimate), that would mean that at least 21,000 of us could be connecting on an hourly, daily or weekly basis on Twitter.

    If we were to look at those Twitter users within the sports business community, we could likely classify them in three ways. I’ll call them “no-shows,” “lurkers” and “connectors.” No-shows are industry members who are not using Twitter. Lurkers are those who have a Twitter account, but use it only for keeping up with the news and conversation, rarely or never contributing. The connectors are those who are plugged in, both receiving and sharing information, all in a highly targeted way.

    Each of these groups plays a role in sports business online, but all three have the opportunity to continue to build the community. For no-shows, it’s about getting onto the site, creating a handle and surveying the landscape — listening in. For lurkers, it’s about joining the conversation and interacting with the community — being engaged. If you’re a connector, you’ll want to continue to advocate for using Twitter and engage others to also connect — doing more. That’s where each of these will experience real value. If we look specifically at that value, it’s primarily fourfold. For ease, I’ll just call it the four C’s:

    Connection: Twitter provides connection points with colleagues in real time, paired with the ability to network with individuals we don’t normally come across on a daily basis. There’s real value here: Tangible business relationships are formed every day through the medium.

    Collaboration: Through these relationships and subsequent conversation on Twitter, we’re able to dissect important issues of the day as a group, each providing our own insights and opinions for the group to consider. While we all represent our own organizations and areas of business, we find opportunities to share valuable thoughts and ideas in an open forum.

    Consideration: Through connection and collaboration, we have the opportunity to consider new ways of thinking from other areas of sport. While some may criticize Twitter as a means to erupt with short-sighted musings, it is also a way to read others’ opinions as they unfold, and possibly reconsider your own positions.

    Current events: Twitter is increasingly becoming the go-to site for breaking news, whether it’s SportsBusiness Journal reporting a Pac-10 media deal or updates on the latest free agent signing. By simply following one of the many lists of sports business reporters, you can help eliminate the dreaded daily onslaught of Google Alerts.

    Over the last three years, our industry has developed a subset of executives that actively participate on Twitter, primarily through the hashtag of #sportsbiz, which is a means of identifying conversations. About 800 users consistently use this identifier to stay up to date on news, share insights, connect with fellow professionals and become more engaged in our industry. This community has become one of the critical components of the ongoing education of sports business executives across the globe. The value of this group, and others built around the sports industry, is evidenced through their rapid growths.

    Let it be said that the sports business forum on Twitter will never replace the value of working the ballroom and hallways at industry conferences. We need the face-to-face interactions that are the backbone of our industry. And to be fair, some of the criticisms of Twitter are rooted in the truth. While some of the early perceptions of the medium are well-founded (i.e., sharing what you had for lunch), Twitter has evolved and will continue to do so as business professionals embrace the channel. There’s little downside to joining the community.

    By engaging through Twitter, we all share in the ability to be more informed and in tune with the sports business industry. It allows us to serve our clients and sponsor partners better and, in the end, further develop our own ability to collaborate and connect.

    For smart sports professionals, I believe the choice is easy: We all have to develop an online networking game plan and execute it. Whether you’re a no-show, lurker or connector, commit to the plan and you’ll find rewarding interactions that have real business value.


    50 Ways Sports Teams Can Engage Fans on Facebook

    Sports leagues and organizations are turning to Facebook to offer fans more content, access, and interactivity than ever before. As sports entities begin to fully understand the value of social media, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have become critical channels in the marketing mix to promote messaging, drive participation and interest, and engage fans on a 24/7, 365 basis.

    Teams can no longer rely on Wall posts, photos, and shareable videos to drive consumers to frequently visit their Facebook pages and stay for awhile. As a result, it's important that teams identify and share best practices in the social media space both internally and externally.  

    Here are 50 creative ways that teams are engaging fans on Facebook outside the traditional elements:  

    1. Fans Map - FC Barcelona (Find FC Barcelona fans across the world)

    2. Real Madrid Avatars - Real Madrid (Fans can create their own virtual avatar)

    3. Arsenal "Like the Players" - Arsenal FC (Fans can easily like all the players on the team)

    4. Spread the Word - Manchester United (Fans can easily invite their friends to join the Manchester United Facebook Page  

    5. Fountain Tire Shootout - Vancouver Canucks (Fans can play a virtual hockey game to win prizes and coupon vouchers)

    6. 3-Point Play - Boston Celtics (Fans can compete in an interactive stats-related game to earn points)

    7. Summer Salute - Team Lowe's Racing (Fans can post a military salute or message to troops overseas)

    8. Polls / Quizzes - NASCAR (Fans can test their NASCAR IQ via a number of quizzes and polls)

    9. NBA Ball of Fame - NBA (Fans can click on basketballs to relive famous moments from the NBA Finals)

    10. NBA Turnstile - NBA (Fans can "check-in" to NBA games on Facebook to chat with fans, win tickets and merchandise, and earn badges)

    11. Support Your Team on Facebook! - NFL (Fans can scroll through an interactive tab to see where their favorite team ranks in popularity and intensity amongst all teams and within conference/division).

    12. Shopping - Liverpool FC (Fans can quickly scroll through ultimate shopping ideas and can get easy access to the team's mobile application) 

    13. JetBlue FaceOff - Boston Bruins (Fans can access game information, play games, win prizes, and more)

    14. Mavs Spirit Photo Upload - Dallas Mavericks (Fans can submit their best photo wearing Mavericks gear for the chance to have it featured on the team's Facebook page)

    15. Fan Zone - New England Patriots (Fans can interact with polls, listen to live broadcasts, post comments, share virtual gifts, play trivia, and more)

    16. Share Your Story - San Francisco 49ers (Fans can share why they are a Faithful Fan for the chance to be featured on 2011 season tickets or in a team commercial)

    17. Tickets & Promotions - Philadelphia 76ers (Fans can closely follow current ticket specials and promotions using a tab integrated into the team Facebook page)

    18. A Date with SFC - Seattle Sounders (Fans can watch video dating profiles of different players on Seattle Sounders FC and partake in a date auction via Ebay.

    19. Guess the Kit - Tottenham Hotspur (Fans have to correctly guess what the team's new kit (uniform) will look like)

    20. Broadcast Schedule - Portland Timbers (Fans can easily see which networks will be carrying the team's upcoming soccer matches)

    21. Locker Room - Los Angeles Lakers (Fans can take a virtual tour of the Lakers locker room)

    22. Flickr - Milwaukee Bucks (Fans can scroll through photos of the Bucks' gameday experience posted on their Official Flickr page)

    23. U-Stream - Golden State Warriors (Fans can watch a live webcast with a Warriors player each day during Training Camp

    24. - Portland Trail Blazers (Fans can watch exclusive interviews, shows, highlights, pre- and post-game shows, and more)

    25. AC Milan Jersey - A.C. Milan (Fans can create their own virtual A.C. Milan Jersey (with a custom name and number) and share it on their Facebook wall)

    26. Fantasy Manager - A.C. Milan (Fans can create and manage a virtual team of players and compete against friends for the chance to win team prizes)

    27. Ice Dancers - Florida Panthers (Fans could vote on their favorite Ice Dancers in a bracket competition that gave away a free cruise!)

    28. Stars Text Alerts - Dallas Stars (Fans can easily sign up to receive basic text alerts or student rush text alerts)

    29. Leafs on YouTube - Toronto Maple Leafs (Fans can watch a series of YouTube clips directly within a tab on the team's Facebook page

    30. Photo Pick-Up - Phoenix Suns (Fans can have their picture taken by Suns personnel at a game and retrieve it for free on the team's Facebook page)

    31. Match of the Week - Sporting KC (Fans can receive in-depth information about a premier MLS game each week)

    32. Meet the Team - Denver Nuggets (Fans can vote for their favorite players on the Nuggets by "liking" them on the interactive Facebook tab)

    33. Letter to Fans - Buffalo Sabres (Fans can read a letter sent from the team's owner Terrence M. Pegula thanking them for their support)

    34. Which Cap Are You Like? - Washington Capitals (Fans can take a quiz to see what Washington Capitals player they are the most like and win an autographed jersey)

    35. Foursquare – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Fans can view the team’s Foursquare profile and access tips and insights on whose checked-in at Raymond James Stadium)

    36. Draft Party Sweepstakes - Charlotte Bobcats (Fans can sign up on Facebook to win a VIP experience at the Bobcats Draft Party courtesy of Donatos Pizza)

    37. Fan Forum – Dallas Cowboys (Fans can participate in an interactive forum where they can participate in a live discussion board)

    38. Showcase – Sacramento Kings (Fans can scroll through to see all of the Kings’ hottest merchandise in their online team store up close)

    39. Host UpClose Contest – Indianapolis Colts (Fans can upload a video of themselves hosting a sports segment for the chance to fly to Indianapolis and host a segment on Colts UpClose)

    40. Scarf Yourself! – New York Red Bulls (Fans can add an official New York Red Bulls scarf to their profile picture and feature it on the team Facebook page)

    41. Support – Atlanta Falcons (Fans can post questions/ideas/problems that they have and a Falcons customer representative addresses them for all fans to see on a live discussion board)

    42. Give Your All – All Blacks (Fans can watch a series of vignettes where the All Blacks players talk about giving everything they’ve got when they enter the pitch)

    43. Fan of the Week – Chicago Bears (Fans can submit a message/photo detailing why they are the biggest fan for the chance to be featured online)

    44. A’s Kids Club – Oakland A’s (Fans can sign up for an Oakland A’s Kids Club Membership directly through the team’s Facebook page)

    45. WTA Extra – WTA (Fans can easily scroll through high-res images of the top WTA players and also see information about their world ranking and Twitter feed)

    46. Giving – Tampa Bay Rays (Fans can read about the Rays Baseball Foundation and make a donation)

    47. Fanographies – Cleveland Browns (Fans can submit their Browns story for the chance to win 2011 season tickets)

    48. Bulldog Club – University of Georgia Athletics (Fans can read about the Bulldog Club, make donations, invest in educational opportunities, and more)

    49. Charity – PGA (Fans can read about the PGA’s new partnership with Darius Rucker and download a song which benefits PGA Tour Charities, Inc.)

    50. UStream Live – Colorado Avalanche (Fans can watch broadcasts throughout the season and sign up to receive email alerts every time they take place)


    2011 Sports and Social Media Predictions

    Jason Peck recently teamed up with a number of sports and social media industry thought leaders to create an insightful ebook that details Sports and Social Media Predictions for 2011.

    I highly encourage you to take a few minutes to read through the free piece, as I am sure you will gain some valuable nuggets of information that you can share with clients, colleagues, and friends. The 2011 Sports and Social Predictions document features opinions, thoughts, and predictions from 17 industry professionals.

    Check out Jason Peck's site, Take a Peck, as well, which serves as a tremendous industry resoure for all professionals working in sports and social media. Hats off to Jason, Ash Read, and all the thought leaders who contributed to create yet another terrific industry resource!


    Driving Partnership Value Through Social Media