The sports industry is perpetually behind the curve. Consider statistical analytics.
Long a crucial component of Wall Street, it slowly crept into Corporate America’s lexicon by the 1980s. Slowly but surely, every business had a research department that looked beyond the naked eye and relied on cold hard facts.
Except, that is, for the multi-billion dollar sports industry. The analytics revolution is first sweeping front offices as we speak.
But another revolution hasn’t been so slow to develop in sports – social media use. And if the sports world is up to speed on it, then your company should have been on it last year.
You’ve probably heard all about the benefits of social media. We don't need to tell you that it facilitates open communication with customers, attracts potential consumers of your product, and helps build your brand.
But where do you start? Well, the sports industry is stuck imitating your business's penchant for analysis, so why don't you return the favor? Take some ideas from sports.
The National Basketball Association, for example, is the most social media savvy of all the sports, according to Fast Company. The NBA has more than 6.7 million combined Facebook fans and Twitter followers. And it’s not satisfied just having those followers. Teams go to great lengths to engage them.
Last Spring, the Golden State Warriors were set to unveil a new team logo. Rather than leak it through the press as every club in every sports does, they took to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.
Over the course of nine weekdays, the Warriors asked fans one trivia question each day via the various social media outlets. Each time a fan answered the question correctly he would get access to a fraction of the team’s logo, until on the final day, the complete logo appeared. It proved to be a great way to get fans excited to come back to the Warriors’ outlets, get them talking about the brand, and ultimately feel more personally connected to the club’s new image.
This October, Major League Baseball followed suit. During the opening games of the playoffs, it promised a free jersey to any fan who correctly guessed – via twitter – the first player to hit a home run in each game with the #1stHOMER hashtag. By mid-afternoon Twitter was exploding with tweets about the baseball playoffs. Anyone with even the slightest curiosity towards the postseason was bound to be reminded, and ultimately tempted, to fire up the television and tune in.
Granted, because of their established popularity, it’s easier for the MLB and the NBA to utilize social media than it might be for your small business. But a lack of popularity didn’t stop the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings – yep, an ice hockey team in sunny Southern California – from finding 1,000 new Twitter followers.
Their strategy: Tie the Kings' brand with the fight against cancer, a cause that affects nearly everybody. The Kings PR department organized a Twitter competition with the Colorado Avalanche when the two teams met on Oct. 23. The Kings promised to donate $1 to a local cancer-related charity every time someone Tweeted with a #GoKings hashtag during the game, and the Avs did the same for #GoAvs. Teams urged their fan base to get in on the competition to ensure their franchise a Twitter victory.
In reality, there were no losers. The competition went viral, and by game time, #GoKings and #GoAvs were the top two trending hashtags in the U.S. and Canada. When the final buzzer rang, the two teams combined to donate more than $40,000 to charity. Moreover, the Kings picked up about 1,000 new Twitter followers and the Avs amassed 400.
And they didn't need advanced analytics to understand the benefits in those numbers.