Tag Archives: engagement

Six-Year Anniversary Reflections and Musings

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.

Pinterest Still A Good Option For Sports Brands

During the Christmas holidays, when I told my mom that the brand whose social media I manage had a Pinterest page, she was somewhat surprised and curious. What in the world, she wondered, could a sports brand gain on Pinterest?

Actually, there is and continues to be quite a lot still to be gained from pinning and repinning.

It goes without saying that there are a lot of options out there to engage an audience via social channels. Some, like Facebook and Twitter, are more established that others.

Each time a new social media channel comes along, there’s the tendency to expand social reach there and do what you can to make your brand’s presence make an impact and stick.

That’s where brands such as Pinterest were about a year ago. Once the opportunity to create a Pinterest brand page, there may as well have been a ‘Oklahoma Land Rush’ to set a sports brand’s page up on Pinterest.

Now, a year later, it’s easy to move away from Pinterest and focus on areas such as Facebook or Twitter.

But Pinterest can still be very valuable for brands, as odd as some casual observers may find it.

For starters, if you have any merchandise to sell, it’s a tremendous tool, especially if its new.

Photos of great moments or fans having a great time? That can be a gold mine on Pinterest. If you can get fans to re-pin content like that, it can do a lot of engage fans – especially in off-peak times.

Here’s a look at who does it well among sports brands

The Portland Trail Blazers cast a wide net, posting content for current promotions, great historical moments and even use it as a means for fans to keep up with them on other social networks.

The University of Washington does a nice job of upselling the entire experience of being around Seattle and the UW campus.

In the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins use multiple boards to push out images of current and former players plus images of Penguins and hockey inspired food. Few things can energize fans for about the at-game experience than posting about and talking about food!

And who doesn’t love posting about their young fans? The Atlanta Falcons have taken advantage of that with a board of baby photos of fans in Falcons gear.

Pinterest is not a one-size-fits-all network. And with different brands looking to emphasize different things, that’s a good thing.

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.

The importance of being spontaneous

Fair or not, one of the most talked-about things from the Super Bowl will the 34-minute long power outage at the Super Dome.

Any time so many people watching an event have a diversion like that, things become downright entertaining on social media with countless individuals taking attempts at humor in light of the situation. The Packers – Seahawks ending this past season the the jet drawer explosion in the Daytona 500 come to mind, at first thought.

The key, for social brands, is to loosen up and get away from the structure and calling an audible, if you will. Here are some of the better ways brands capitalized on a very captive social audience. Major kudos to Oreo for the sharable content, too. It was retweeted more than 12,000 times within three hours, according to Buzzfeed.

Here are some of the better reactions to the black out, via USAtoday.com

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Pinning could be even bigger for sports brands

I’ll admit, I’ve been slow to take notice of the whole Pinterest craze. But when you get numerous e-mail notifications that yet another person you know is on Pinterest, some of whom you’d least expect, you can’t help but take notice.

My wife, of course, has been big on it – dinner was delayed by a few minutes one night because she had to pin a photo of our dinner she made – believe it or not!

Sports brands have been mostly slow to get in full-gear, but I’d expect that to change here soon – this week, in fact. 

If you’re a fan of baseball, this is one of the greatest weeks of the year, as these words are being used to describe activity from each MLB team – “Pitchers and catchers report.”

With that comes the excitement of a new season and prime opportunities for social media engagement for those brands. Everyone has been waiting feverishly for this time since October, and anything teams push out can drive that even faster.

Things like the first players throwing, shots of gloves and baseballs under the sunsplashed Florida and Arizona settings, get fans’ juices going – opening the door for more engagement on another social media channel.