Thanks to LinkedIn, it’s very hard to forget when your work anniversary is coming up. Those notifications from contacts congratulating you on another year at your current stop are hard to miss. Naturally, when that time comes, it’s usually a good time to look back and reflect on all that has happened during your time wherever you have been in that span.
1. Social Media Is a BIG Moving Target
I usually tell people that if you think you are up on the latest social media trend, it’s best to enjoy the moment, because it won’t last long. Social Media is one of the most rapidly advancing areas to communicate, and it changes almost daily. Back when I came on board at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2009, I was charged with starting a Facebook and Twitter account. There was no Instagram, Vine, Snapchat or Periscope to speak of. You cannot afford to get too comfortable, that’s for sure. In the words of Brad Pitt’s character, Billy Beane in “Money Ball,” ‘Adapt or Die.’
2. Soak Up The Moment
In the midst of all the focus on posts, content curation and mulling over metrics, don’t forget to enjoy what you are doing! One thing I still carry with me, even to this day, from one of my former bosses, Marcy Scott, who passed away about a year and a half ago, is that thousands of people who come into the gates each weekend would give their right arm to do what we do. Sure, there’s going to be hard days and mountains of stress, but we get to do what 99 percent of the the fans in stands wish they had a chance to do.
3. Unique experiences that I wish my granddad was around for
I’ll never forget my first race weekend in September of 2009, victory lane after the Sprint Cup race, especially. Kasey Kahne won the race, and there in victory lane was his Richard Petty Motorsports team it did not dawn on me until I turned and saw The King himself, team owner Richard Petty. For someone whose Dad was a big Petty fan growing up…and whose granddad was not only a Petty fan, but once took my grandma to a short track race, it was hard not to feel nostalgic. If there was a regret during that time, it was that my granddad wasn’t around for me to tell him about what it was like seeing Richard Petty in victory lane.
4. Keep Striving
As social media continues to evolve, it becomes more and more important for everyone in the social and digital space to gain information and build a network of colleagues. One of the biggest assets I have had have been Twitter chats such as #SMSportsChat or #SBChat. They have introduced me to some top-flight folks who do a lot of the similar things I do and igniting an avenue to gain best practices and also act as a sounding board. If you are looking to break into sports, join these chats!
5. Engage and Build
It goes without saying that social media has to in so many ways be a two-day conversation. Sure, there is going to be messaging that has to be pushed out. But a critical component to social media is to build up advocates who will be in your corner – and sometimes those come in unexpected places.
One of my favorite stories tied into this happened, I guess five years ago. We had a comment under a piece of content from a fan telling us how emotional the race would be for them. It turned out that their cousin, who had come to the Atlanta race for many years with their family and camped out with them, would not be at the upcoming race – he had been killed a month earlier while serving in Afghanistan. With that info, we were able to get in touch with the family and give them a tour of the garage during race weekend, which meant a lot to them. The awesome thing was that a few months down the road one of the other family members ran into one of our staff and mentioned how much that experience…and fans surprising them with a banner signed by nearby fans and campers, meant to them.
Sometimes, you just never know where the chance to make an impact with a fan or customer will present itself.