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Archive for the ‘NHL’ Category

Spotted: 5 creative examples of countdown posts.

In NHL, On the look out, Social media, Sports Media on August 19, 2013 at 1:34 pm

With just 45 days until the NHL season begins, countdown posts are becoming ubiquitous. One larger goal of social media for sports organizations is to remind and engage, all the while cultivating the excitement and emotion in their fan base. A reminder post can be a call to action push for ticket sales or just a loyalty boost sharing joy to fans looking forward to the upcoming season.

That being said, I think the “Countdown” post is a fine art. In the coming weeks, my newsfeed and yours will be filled with them. If you are in a content creation rule for a team, I’m sure it is a challenge to come up with new and fresh ways to achieve these goals via social.

Here’s some creative countdown posts I’ve seen recently. These teams have done an awesome job of showcasing their team’s tone while creating shareable, countdown content.

Creative Countdown Social Content:

1. Grand Rapids Griffins. – Historical Facts

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 9.17.46 AM

2. Buffalo Sabres– Hidden Number

Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 9.31.38 AM3. New Jersey Devils— Create a number

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4. Portland Pirates– Utilize those jerseys!

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5. Socchi 2014— Torch Countdown: Landscape Shot.

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I think it’s important to note also, that I’m excited about all of these things and that factors into my enjoyment of them. Fan motivations in sharing or commenting or liking should be a thought when creating social media content. Measuring the engagement after a post can help evaluate if it was successful or not. However, if  a team, event or organization knows its fan base, the above content will be just enough to remind and excite.

Using player statistics for Content Creation: #PinnedIt

In NHL, Social media on August 16, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Inspired by an info graphic I saw today on the Colorado Avalanche‘s Facebook page, I realized that teams are missing out on a huge opportunity in content creation. If you have a player-focused communications strategy, meaning you have stars that people connect with or scoring leaders with impressive season stats, there may be a number of ways to create viral social content out of them.

After signing a 7 year extension with their young captain, the Avalanche created an infographic of his most impressive stats.

After signing a 7 year extension with their young captain, the Avalanche created an info graphic of his most impressive stats. (source: Av’s Facebook page)

Not all teams can benefit from highlighting a player as above. For example, in the Minor Leagues, stars come and go and the backbone of your team can change at any moment. But in markets with Stars who get a lot of attention, ahem Lebron James, number minded or winning-focused fans will be engaged with an overview of that athlete’s successes.

A word about Platform

While I really like what the Avs did with this info-graphic: timely, well-researched, etc., I think that Facebook was not the right place for it. This is because it is not as easy to see all of the detail and because Facebook is more quickly digested, meaning people don’t always take time to appreciate the visual as much as they do on Pinterest. More and more sports organizations have been taking to Pinterest recently for competitions, user-generated content or other visual appeals. Because I think infographics about almost anything work great on Pinterest, I think infographics about stats can be a huge source of content creation for sports organizations.

Here’s why you should pin some infographics about your team, player, or top line: 

  1. Highly Shareable: It’s a quick repin or repost & absolutely eye catching.
  2. It’s Informative: News stories about a team or box scores have short shelf lives, the next game will be tomorrow. But stats that are long term, or career-based, highlight-based can inform your fan base. An informed fan base can be a more loyal fan base, proud that their team holds certain records or boasts certain successes.
  3. Bragging Rights: Let’s be totally honest here. All a fan really wants is the ability to show that their team is better and “here’s why.” Give them those nuggets of bragabilty in a quick shareable form and it might just draw traffic to your sight.
  4. Help with short-term ticket sales: This one might be a little bit of a stretch, but I feel that if done correctly, statistics that do have a shelf life or show how well a team is doing could catalyze last minute ticket purchases. If you are a team like my hometown Pittsburgh Pirates, a brief winning streak can attract sales on a short-term scale. Quantifying and sharing these statistics can draw in the more casual fan by showing them that there is something worth seeing live, something they want to be part of NOW.

 

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.

 

Custom Content– How NHL teams responded to schedule announcement from a content creation point of view

In case studies, NHL, Social media on July 19, 2013 at 6:16 pm

News, Sports and even life today all come with breaking news and immediate releases. It’s so common, in fact, that anyone who manages a social account or works for a media company has more than likely internalized immediacy as a standard. I remember attending the 2012 SPJ Regional Conference at Michigan State University, where the M-Live group discussed their structural shift of designing print front pages from digital content instead of building websites in the reverse direction. I think by now, especially for sports organizations, this change is no longer seen as radical but as a well-accepted starting point for content creation.

Today happens to be a huge news day in the NHL. The announcement of the realignment groups and the new schedule. The NHL now has two 7-team western divisions: Pacific & Central, and two 8-team eastern ones: Metropolitan & Atlantic. It’s also a big year for special events with more outdoor games than ever at Yankee Stadium, Dodger Stadium, Solider field and more.

Anyone interested in the NHL sphere will soon be hearing this information from hundreds of locations such as local news stations, favorite reporters, sports publications and the teams themselves. If you are in the team’s shoes you now must be immediate, clear and relevant in your introduction of this information.

Here’s a quick look at how different NHL teams instantly shared the content: 

  1. The Team Tone: The LA Kings are known for the tone of voice and different approach of their tweets and social content. They kept consistent with this posting capturing their snarky attitude and edgy consistency:

    Short, sweet and to the tone: The LA Kings stay consistent with their voice releasing the schedule with "It's a beautiful thing," a statement view would disagree with.

    Short, sweet and to the tone: The LA Kings stay consistent with their voice releasing the schedule with “It’s a beautiful thing,” a statement few would disagree with.

2. The Conversation Starter: The Pittsburgh Penguins released the schedule with a question, placing an emphasis and focus on the fans and driving interaction and engagement:

The Pittsburgh Penguins Facebook post asked for user interaction.

The Pittsburgh Penguins Facebook post asked for user interaction.

3. The Graphic Visualization: The Buffalo Sabres page released a calendar with October’s opponents. This gives a quick reference of what’s going on for the team in that month without even clicking the link. Creating graphics on the fly and as a quick response to content and news releases is an important tool to be able to utilize whether you have a morning to think about large trajectory content or whether you have five minutes.

Quick response graphics can aid in visually communicating information.

Quick response graphics can aid in visually communicating information.

4. The Straight Scoop: This post taken from the New Jersey Devils Instagram page shows the actual schedule and details, it conveys the first couple of games and the home opener without needing to spell it out in text form.

Quick shares of information can effectively communicate news in a breaking-news socialsphere.

Quick shares of information can effectively communicate news in a breaking-news socialsphere.

All of the above screen shots were taken from the respective teams Facebook Pages or Official Instagram Feeds. While these are just quick examples of the many ways the same information can be communicated socially, it also makes me think about how important it is to have a strategy in place. If social is just one channel that teams or organizations can chose to utilize in sharing their communications and message, then it should be consistent with the tone and goal of the larger company. For example, if the focus is on players, history, fans, facts or a combination therof and how that focus translates to day-to-day content creation.