Three ways Sports teams should use Google+

In case studies, NHL, Social media on August 11, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Inspired by HootSuite’s recent G+ for business series, I’ve done some thinking about how sports teams can utilize the platform to reach their fan bases and engage more frequently during game times and off season. I’m surprised how many late adopted or skimpily utilized Google + pages exist in major league sports. A number of teams are not even using the platform yet. And while I’m never an advocate of using a social media platform “just because,” I feel that not taking advantage of Google +’s unique features and connection with the search engine giant is a mistake.

Three ways Sports Teams can Utilize Google +

  1. Hangout with the team. During the off-season to remind your fans why they love you or during a player’s winning streak, putting together a Google hangout can be an awesome way to allow fans ownership in the team and create content with a lengthy shareable shelf life. With the easy connection to YouTube, a player Q&A or team hangout can invite fans to have a close look that is broadcasted to all of a team’s social channels. The video is then auto-recorded and editable allowing for content which can be shared later. Google + Ripples allow the creator to monitor the content’s reach and allow for evaluation of whether that type of hangout is worth the time investment later.
  2. Communities. Sites like Sports Yapper and even Twitter get traffic during game day. Fans respond constantly to plays, wins, losses and whatever is going on in the sport sphere. While these are sites are commonly monitored and contributed to, Google + communities allow a team to create a controlled game discussion environment.  By creating a community on G+ for your sports team, you can work to provide exclusive content, drive discussion and respond one-on-one with fans. The appeal here is the direct connection and the ability to bring in quest speakers or contributors such as allowing athletes to join the discussion during certain planned, communicated hours or having other team reporters or personalities jump in with their exclusive viewpoints.
  3. Corporate Partnerships. Its no mystery that teams rely on strategic partnerships in many aspects of their existence and unique social partnerships are arising more and more frequently. Google+ allows for segregation of followers and followings into circles. Consider this: there is a fan circle, a corporate circle, an athlete’s circle and an influencers circle (perhaps to monitor or engage with other teams in your division or league.) Conversations can be started with the Google pages of sponsors or partners communally driving traffic to both pages either with contests, cool content or maybe sponsored hang-outs or virtual events. Reports of success or statistical check ins, even great fan feedback and comments can then be shared uniquely with the partners circle. Tangible events at a game can bring to light awesome social snippets too. I think Google+ partnerships circles, if properly executed, could allow for relationship building and a more involved, beneficial conversation between teams and their sponsors.

Who is doing it right: 

A ton of creative content is going out on the platform lately. Most recently, I love the Buffalo Sabres catchy cover photo.

Recent World Series Champions, the San Francisco Giants are rated the highest on Social Bakers in the United States for Google + pages for individual teams.  The page with the most followers is the NBA but the Giant’s boast over 1,100,000 followers and a verified, decently engaged with page. Posts from the past few days average around 80-100 comments on their page.

World Series Champions, the San Francisco Giants must be doing something right on Google+ to have achieved over 1 million followers on the platform.

World Series Champions, the San Francisco Giants must be doing something right on Google+ to have achieved over 1 million followers on the platform.



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