Sports fans are some of the most fiercely loyal fans I know of. They are passionate, dedicated, and willing to go to great lengths to do what they can to help their teams win. And earlier this week I got the inside scoop on what some teams are doing to reciprocate this dedication.
I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the AllTwitter Marketing Conference in San Francisco on June 4th, and heard from some of the top minds in Twitter about best practices, upcoming trends and predictions about where the fastest growing social network is headed. But one of my favorite panels of the day had to be How Professional Sports are Monetizing through Social Media.
The panelists included: Kevin Cote, Director Digital Marketing, Golden State Warriors; Patrick Hooper, Digital Content Developer, San Jose Sharks; Sam Laird, Writer, Mashable; Jonathan Martinez, Database Marketing Manager, Oakland Raiders; and Bryan Srabian, Social Media Director, San Francisco Giants. What a lineup!
Here are three ways these teams are engaging their fans on Twitter (and three ways Nestivity could help them amplify!):
1. Make it Easier for Fans to Tweet About the Games in Real-Time
After being asked by moderator Jason Mitchell about how they work to engage their fans via social media, Kevin Cote of the Golden State Warriors explained that one of the best recent initiatives has been to make their arena wifi capable. The fans love to take pictures of themselves at the game to share with their friends, and now they are able to post these pictures to Twitter in real time.
Not only can fans take action themselves, but the teams and athletes can use the wifi to engage with fans as well. Imagine a five minute tweet chat between an athlete and his fans in the arena 15 minutes before the game starts! The Warriors and teams like them have a fantastic opportunity to build deeper communities with their fans before, during and after their games. And by using Nestivity, they could harness the real-time capabilities of a wi-fi enabled arena to host on-going discussions that connect the pre-game chatter with the electric excitement at the first tip off and the post-game wrap-up.
2. Give Fans Exclusive Content
Jonathan Martinez of the Oakland Raiders noted that it’s sometimes difficult to quantify the ROI of Twitter, but they are able to track revenue by offering presale tickets and discounts to their social media followers.
Offering up exclusive content to Twitter fans is a great way not just to track their purchases, but also to build that slightly more intangible – but not less important – sense of community. If you’re a Raiders fan and you know you’ll get access to content if you follow them, you’ll follow them!
Sports teams can take this one step further and build conversations around this content, increasing the loyalty and retention of their fans. For example, the Raiders could create a “waiting room” within their Twitter community where eager fans (many of whom are likely influencers and brand ambassadors in their own right) can hangout in during the pre-game tailgate party. The team could help build excitement by throwing in a few t-shirt and hat giveaways, or by highlighting and retweeting fans’ best comments from the fans chomping at the bit.
3. Support Fan-Created Hashtags
One of the most salient stories to come out of the panel was from Brian Srabian of the San Francisco Giants. When the Giants were on their World Series run, the team was retweeting and engaging with the fans the whole way through – even when it looked like they would be down and out early.
The fans saw this dedication and returned it in spades: they created the #RallyZito hashtag to pump up starting pitcher Barry Zito and submitted words of encouragement and photos. Srabian even saw some loyal fans change their avatars to a #RallyZeto-themed image. The team Twitter account actively retweeted and encouraged fans to #RallyZeto, and Srabian says that it almost felt like these fans had a cosmic effect on the Giants going on to win the World Series. “I was planning my vacation,” he joked, at the point when the fans chose to rally instead of throw in the towel.
(As a side note, Srabian showed off his World Series ring to the audience. We were amazed by the team-spirit behind the Giants – even the social media team got a ring to commemorate the win!)
Truly engaged sports communities tend to create their own content, in addition to chatting about the content sparked by the team itself. So why not use a discussion or two on a Nest to encourage this dialogue on an ongoing basis? A World Series run is one thing, but fans will get just as excited for single games or players during moments of uncertainty. Give them a place to express this excitement and you’ll no doubt see a flurry of fan-created content pop up!
Activate your nest at http://nestivity.com/register, and build a better way to connect with your team.