Category Archives: facebook

Always Assume The Worst

Today, Major League Baseball teams, in support of GLAAD Spirit Day, changed the avatars of the Facebook and Twitter pages with many posting messages of support for day’s goal of raising awareness to help reduce bullying of LGBT youth. The hashtag of #spiritday was also utilized. 

Frames of avatars were the color purple. 

As you can imagine, responses from numerous fan bases were, well, not so positive.

A brand can have the best and well thought out intent with any type of crowd sourcing or promotion of an initiative. But it is critical to think of one thing with any posting, and that is “what’s the worst response that we could get, and will that response overshadow the intent of this messaging?”

A prime example was McDonald’s #MCDStories, which did not end well

In this case, the responses probably overshadowed the intent of MLB teams. This should not discourage anyone from postings that will generate a large amount of response, but the key is to bear in mind the worst possible backlash that could come. 

Social media: A Way To Exceed Expectations

Recently while scanning Facebook, I stumbled across a stat that stuck out to me. That 25 percent of consumers who complain about a product on Facebook expect a response within an hour.  

A few things stick out, here. 

One is that brands who are not quick to respond are missing the boat when it comes to one of social media’s main goals – to engage customers and build brand ambassadors. A quick and timely response shows that a brand values two-way communication on social media and is not a one-way bullhorn of sponsor/promo messaging. 

Secondly, if only 25 percent of customers expect a response to start with, brands have a golden opportunity to exceed expectations. When a brand uses social media to interact with, assist and engage customers far above a level of which that customer expects, it creates a wow factor and makes building brand ambassadors a much easier task.

 

Four years of racing and social media

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Today four years ago, I wheeled my car into the parking lot at 1500 Highway 19/41 in Hampton not too long after I got a phone call gauging my interest in a job that entailed a growing trend of social media and implementing it at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Now, four years later, it’s so hard to believe how big social media has taken off. In 2009, most brand barely had a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter. Now, they cannot afford not to, and more energy than ever before is being directed towards social media than before.

Any time you work within sports, chances are good that you’ll have some memorable experiences, and there have certainly been more than a few for me at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

1. You’re the brand advocate.

Thanks to mobile devices in part, more fans than every before reach out to brands with feedback and questions around the time of events. I’ll never forget then fan who was unhappy with a seat location on Friday of race weekend and let us know about it via social media. We were able to get their seating info and get them taken care of, and that fan went out of their way to make a post on our wall singling out our customer service efforts. That process began because of social media. There was also a Facebook wall post from a family member of a serviceman killed in Afghanistan, lamenting that the upcoming race would be their family’s first without them. We were able to do a few things for this family on race weekend – and fans in a campground put up a makeshift banner ensuring fans to sign it in memory.

You are the face of your brand on social media and if fans are excited about your brand, or displeased, you are the first one that they will turn to.

2. Social Media Is Two-Way

Yes, it is a valuable tool to sell tickets, but social media cannot only be about promotional elements. Do what you can to show your fans that you’re just like them…ask about their lives, find out what makes them tick. When you know your fans, you can produce better content.

3. Victory Lane

I’ll never forget being in victory lane during my first race weekend. It’s the place all drivers and crew members strive for, and being in the midst of it is surreal. The cool thing was that Richard Petty Motorsports was in victory lane…which meant seeing Richard Petty himself. I instantly thought of my grandad who died in 1998 who was a huge fan of “The King.”

4. Wear A Flak Jacket

You have to have thick skin in this deal. If fans on social media are unhappy with your brand, you may very well be the one feeling the biggest punch of that criticism. Don’t take it personal. I’ve been through two pretty heavy crisis events at AMS.

The first came in 2010 with the news that we would no longer have a spring race. Having to be the person to tell fans that the days of joining us for a March race weekend were over…was very sobering. Even though you knew the backlash was coming, that didn’t make it easy to face.

The second one was a year later with our Labor Day Weekend race being postponed from Sunday night to Tuesday morning due to rain. Obviously, many fans were not happy and they quickly took to social media to express their displeasure. In a situation like that, all you can do is keep your head up and make sure all response is aligned and to keep everything even-keeled. 

5. Laugh at yourself.

Accidentally playing “Crazy Train” instead of The National Anthem over the sound system at an event with 5,000 people is embarrassing at first, but becomes funnier as time goes on.

 

Social Media Job Search Pointers

It usually happens almost as if it is on clockwork.

When I tell people what I do for a living and what brand I do it for, the question quickly follows: “How’d you get into doing that?”

Of course, this is also when there’s the assumption that working in social media is not much more than getting to hang out on Facebook and Twitter all day, but if you work in social media in any way, you likely know there is far more to it than that.

But social media jobs, especially within sports, can be compared to gold bullion. Everyone wants them, but they are not many of them out there to be had. Still, this is May, and odds are that there is another crop of college graduates eyeing jobs within sports and social media. Here are a few pointers to get on your way to a job within sports and social media.

1. Write, write and write!

Find a way to write, however you can. It may be with a freelance publication, someone who may need help with a Web site or even a blog. A critical part of social media is written content that is clear, concise and compelling. Find ways to write, and it can help immensely in polishing your writing and communications ability.

2. Observe

Like and follow as many brands as you can. Almost put together a list, sometimes written down of a wish list for what you’d like to see a brand do and perhaps look at a social media strategy and come up with ways to tweak it for your own use.

3. Twitter Chats

One of the most invaluable tools for those within and looked to be within many industries are Twitter chats, where you can more or less talk shop and exchange best practices with others who are experienced within their fields. #smsportschat and #sbchat are must-dos if you want to get plugged in within sports and social media.

4. Get Experience, However It Comes

Social media can at times be a hybrid position, depending on your brand. It’s not uncommon for it to have a tie-in to marketing, sponsorship, ticket sales, facility operations and more. Volunteer to help out, even if it means helping an area of a sports team or organization in one of its lowest levels. It’ll help you gain a great understanding of how entire organizations work and not just one area.

5. Be a Fan! 

In the end, a lot of social media is about connecting with fans. Don’t forget to be one! Now, it’s important, in a large way not to look at social media as getting to hang out with (insert your favorite team here). But it’s vital to never forget what it is like to be one of those of which you are trying to reach and connect with. 

Go to a game as a fan every now and then. Even if you ‘know’ someone who can get you great seats with a parking pass, avoid it. Sit in the cheap seats, eat the stadium food and pay for parking. Remember what it’s like to be that diehard fan.

Social media lessons from ‘Nashville’

Within our household, ABC’s “Nashville” has become a favorite, either to watch live or catch up on later via DVR.

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As one working within social media, there are always instances which arise that can be applied to connecting audiences online. That happened this week.

This past week, one of the characters, Julliette Barnes (played by Hayden Pantierre) injected herself into the midst of a social media crossroads, one of which is very familiar to anyone managing a social brand.

Barnes went ‘off-script’ during a concert. After asking to see tweets about the concert, many negative, Barnes initially was taken aback. Later, however, she was referred to a video with overwhelmingly positive reviews.

The point is this. When you run a social media brand, especially when it’s only a few handle the messaging, it’s easy to take what is said about a brand personal. You are on the front line – you are excited to pass along the good but cower when being charred by the bad. It’s easy to be trapped into taking it way too personal.

But it’s always important to step back and look at the big picture. In social media, everyone has a voice, and odds are it’ll be on both ends of the spectrum no matter what you do. The key, however, is the embrace all facets of a social community.