A Look at Washington Athletics’ Uniform Reveal

Washington Athletics is celebrating a new era with a new look. This week they unveiled their Nike uniforms online, and they did a fantastic job with their online campaign.  Below are four keys to their success:

1. They varied content.
Washington fans were treated with many options when it came to consuming the information on the uniform reveal. Whether fans wanted to watch a video, go through a photo gallery, take a walk down memory lane or enjoy a pretty visual presentation on Exposure, the options were there. Here’s a list of everything they put together:

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MLB Brought Baseball Back In Style

The start of any sport season is always the perfect opportunity for teams, leagues and sponsors to capitalize on the excitement of fans who have been waiting months for the action to kick off. We have seen some great countdowns from teams and leagues to the start of the season, but the MLB took a different approach as baseball season kicked off. Instead of counting down, they celebrated baseball being back and highlighted all the great things about the sport and league.

In my opinion, they nailed their baseball is back campaign:

  • Copy was short and sweet
  • Content had a consistent look and feel
  • They tapped into emotion (which compels people to share)

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Short & Sweet Wins on Facebook

I shared a great blog post from Buffer the other day that talked about the ideal length for everything online.  The post says research shows that the ideal length for a Facebook post is 80 characters or less. Eighty characters or less?! Not even Twitter makes us omit so many words.

I decided to take a look at some brands in the space to see if this holds true. All were chosen randomly. I analyzed their last 20 posts (photos only for consistency) to see if they tend to follow this golden character rule, and if it pays off.

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A Look at How Teams Handled Selection Sunday on Facebook

Selection Sunday is a holiday for the basketball faithful… a day where fates are found out and the bracket is born.  With all the chatter and excitement surrounding selections, the day is an opportunity for programs to leverage exposure on social media.  Any program, large or small, should take advantage of the chatter.

I took a look at the Facebook Pages of all the teams in the tournament and was surprised to find that not everyone took advantage and posted on Selection Sunday (though most did).  Of the schools that did post that evening on Facebook, these are the ones that stood out:

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Takeaways from the 2014 Digital Sports Fan Engagement Conference

This is a guest post from Russell Houghtaling, the Director of Digital Media at Oklahoma. 

I spent the early part of last week at the 2014 Digital Sports Fan Engagement Conference in Dallas, hosted by Q1 Productions. Some heavy-hitters in the world were at the plate, including folks from the NFL, NASCAR, NBA, MLB, WWE and lots more. Here are three of my key takeaways from the event.

Facts Are Just Kick-Off

A digital conversation popped up early in the conference about whether the person who first reports a fact “owns it.” Practically, it was a question about sourcing.

Greg Cosell, senior producer for NFL Films, made that question moot. He says we need to “go beyond what people can instantaneously pull up” on their devices to create gripping content.

The implication behind Cosell’s statement is this: the fundamental facts of a story are now instantly ubiquitous. Thirty seconds after someone breaks a story, the “what” of that story is everywhere (so is the who and where).

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The Psychology of Social Media

Social media gives us an entryway to fans and consumers. But even with the access, social media managers can’t just sell, shout “me” and make it all about the team, league or company. People want to interact with brands the way they do every other person on social—through a personal and authentic relationship.

Here’s what I’ve learned… social media is less about the platforms and more about the way we communicate to build those relationships. As crazy as it sounds, a big key to success lies in tapping into psychology. You have to know your audience.

I typically don’t talk about my own work here, but with this topic it is hard to talk about someone else’s success without really understanding their work inside and out. So, I would like to focus on my experience with NCAA Wrestling (Twitter, Facebook). Through it I’ve come to understand how important the psychology behind the work we do actually is. It’s my job to think, act and talk like a wrestler.

Being authentic on the wrestling platforms was trying at first. I’ve never wrestled. In fact, I had never been to a wrestling meet or had any interaction with the sport before diving into the community. Because of this, I had to take the time to talk with people who are engrained in the sport, understand the demographics and study content success.

Wrestling has taught me the important role psychology plays in social media, and for that, I’m thankful. I’ve seen some success in the community because I can answer the fundamental questions below about my audience. It is my hope that the questions below are helpful for you too:

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Team USA Athletes Won In Sochi & On Social Media

Some people feel social media has “ruined” the Olympic experience.  It is a bummer to see the spoilers on Twitter and Facebook when you are looking forward to the evening broadcast, but on the flip side, social media has given us inside access to the Olympic experience. The athletes, whose social media presence can play a large role in exposure and sponsorships, tweeted away while in Sochi. It was easy to feel like you were on a journey with them.

Personally, I love what social media has done for the Winter Games. I think the access to athletes helps propel the popularity of the Olympians and their sports forward. These sports don’t get the same exposure as the NBA, NFL, etc. year after year, and because of that, social media is an invaluable tool.

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A Glimpse Into the Michigan Athletics Social Media Strategy

I have always admired Michigan Athletics’ social media presence from afar. They rock great graphics, their accounts have a consistent look and they clearly understand brand voice. Aside from that, I love that they have chosen to go against the grain and not create an overarching presence for their athletic department. Instead, they focus on each sport. Too often we follow everyone else’s lead in social media instead of evaluating what makes the most sense for our company. I admire their boldness. Jordan Maleh, the Director for Digital for Michigan Athletics, took some time to explain the why behind this move, their team structure, how they measure success and more.

I hope you enjoy the extremely valuable and detailed information from Jordan. It will give you a great picture of how Michigan Athletics has set out to create a rocking social media presence.

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Quick Glance at the Best 2014 National Signing Day Graphics

Athletic departments raised the bar this year with their images on Facebook and Twitter for National Signing Day. I was pleased to see many teams kept in mind the dimensions of each platform and designed specifically for them.

Remember, as platforms become increasingly visual these type of graphics are going to be necessary to stand out from all the noise. Tweets with images receive more retweets than text only Tweets (up to 150 percent); Facebook posts with pictures account for 93% of the most engaging posts on the platform. It might take more planning ahead of time to create graphics like the ones featured, but the bottom line is this… visuals are key. It’s worth it. 

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