Tag Archives: social media

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.

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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.

 

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.

Burger King’s golden opportunity

If you were close to anything social media-wise Monday, it’s a pretty safe bet that you heard about Burger King’s twitter account being hacked and instantly rebranded with McDonald’s likenesses with some rather colorful and unflattering tweets being sent out from the fast-food chain’s official twitter account. 

Like most social media events, attempts at humor by those across the twitterverse became part of the story.

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But going forward will be the most intriguing part of the the BK crisis. It’s a safe bet Burger King wasn’t on as many individual’s social media radar on Monday morning. This crisis changed that with a very quick rise in followers. It’s funny…a crisis like this grows your audience whereas an ill-timed tweet for other brands does the exact opposite. 

Burger King now has a captive audience and all eyes are on it. Going nearly four hours after the hacking to release a statement certainly raised some eyebrows at first. 

Bottom line – all eyes are on Burger King now within Twitter – there’s a golden opportunity to turn a negative to positive. It’ll sure be interesting to see if it propels the BK brand into a greater prominence that it could have envisioned. 

 

 

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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Turning a Tweet-Hack Into a Positive

Within NASCAR, Mark Martin has been one of the latest to both embrace and see a massive fan reaction thanks to Twitter. He joined earlier this year and has received numerous followers. Part of that is because Martin appears to ‘Get it” on Twitter – answering fans questions and even talk about his tastes in rap music!

This past weekend, however, Martin fell victim to what many of us do on social networking sites. He was hacked. His account sent out peculiar messages and his twitter name was changed to “Epic Swag”

Well, after recovering his account, Martin is now back online. But Hack Gate isn’t finished.

This weekend at NASCAR’s race at Auto Club Speedway in California, the roof panel of Martin’s car, which bears his name, will have a different look.

Instead of saying ‘Mark Martin,’ it, for this race, will read, ‘Epic Swag’

Well played, Mr. Swag. Well played. 

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