Bryan Srabian, director of social media for the San Francisco Giants, revealed some fascinating insights into the new prevalence of social media in major sports teams in a recent interview hosted by Brian Solis. In the past, fans of major sports teams have played a purely “spectator” role, however, with the help of social media, those same fans can now play the role of “participants”. Fans have a new ability to share, like, follow, unfollow, comment, or record positive OR negative press. For the San Francisco Giants, social media became a key marketing tool in 2010, as Bryan explains. That year the team was a mixture of “castaways”, however, they found the ability to play effectively together and win. This was the story spread by the SF Giants’ fans. Through Twitter and Facebook, these fans spread the word of this unique and successful team and, in fact, saved the SF Giants marketing team a great deal of work. That is the incredible thing about social media. Can you really make a budget for social media? No. Social media is a FREE tool for anyone to use. Whether teams, and companies, and brands like it or not, they will never be able to fully control the open voice of social media.
Check out the interview in the video below, or read more at briansolis.com.
Peter Stringer, is another director of social media for a major sports team, the Boston Celtics, interviewed by Brian Solis. Peter explains some of the challenges of social media as a marketing tool, one of which is the importance of not making a mistake when sending out content. Peter describes this content as toothpaste that “isn’t going back in the tube”. He goes on to say “You want to be sure that the message you send out is on brand, not only from a marketing perspective, but also from a basketball operations perspective.” With 6.5 million followers on Facebook, 580,000 on Twitter, and 200,000 on Instagram, the Celtics are definitely leading the way in sports team social media, and they definitely can’t afford to put out the wrong message.
One last thing to consider in sports social media is also the content that the PLAYERS are putting out via social media. What better reflection of the team brand and identity than what the actually players have to say? At the recent UBC Thunderbirds orientation night the athletic department gave an effective and eye-opening presentation. On a giant projected screen they posted some of the recent tweets sent by actual UBC athletes. Some of the tweets shown were flat-out racist comments, tweets about how drunk they were the other night and even some about how “stoned” they were in the summer. This just shows that it takes ONE bad tweet to ruin the identity of every other athlete.