5 Great Takeaways From The “Tweeting For Champions” Keynote At SMX Social Media [VIDEO]
The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Kings talk about how they prove social media ROI, the value of listening and replying on Twitter and what makes a great social media brand.
Being the lead social media person for a professional sports team probably ranks very highly on the “dream job” lists of a lot of our readers. Take that, and then imagine what it would be like to be the social media lead for the best team in your sport.
Last month at our SMX Social Media Marketing conference in Las Vegas, Chris Sherman and I sat down for a keynote conversation with two people who fit that description: Meghan Ryan, Marketing & Social Media Specialist for the 2013 World Series champion Boston Red Sox, and Pat Donahue, Digital Media Director for the 2014 Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.
Over the course of our almost hour-long conversation, we learned about the different approach that Ryan and Donahue — and their respective teams — have towards social media marketing. For example, the Kings don’t expect Donahue to use Twitter and Facebook to drive ticket sales, but that’s an important part of what Ryan and the Red Sox aim to do. We also learned that Ryan and her co-workers are part of the fabric of the overall Red Sox organization, but Donahue and his team aren’t nearly as integrated into the Kings organization.
Here are five shorter clips covering some of the best takeaways and most interesting parts of the conversation.
The Value Of Social Media
Every business, no matter how big or small, has to be able to prove the value and ROI of all kinds of marketing, including social media. Ryan told us that this wasn’t easy at first with the Red Sox, but comparing social media visibility to the cost of advertising was a key factor in getting buy-in.
Twitter As Customer Service Tool
Both the Kings and Red Sox have more than 500,000 Twitter followers, and you can imagine how many times their usernames, @LAKings and @RedSox are mentioned in any given day. Remarkably, both teams do their best to watch and reply to as many of those mentions as possible. In this clip, Donahue says that’s a big reason why the Kings have grown their Twitter following and Ryan explains how the Red Sox have added a Community Manager to make sure the team is providing good fan/customer service via Twitter.
Content Marketing & Social Media
Like many socially successful organizations, both the Red Sox and Kings put a premium on developing great content and sharing it with their audience. Ryan told us that the Red Sox have run successful social campaigns around user-generated content, including one that had fans sharing homemade videos from around the world. Donahue, meanwhile, explained how and why the Kings hired their own “beat reporter” who runs an official Kings blog and creates content that drives almost half of the team’s overall web traffic.
The Value Of Having A Personality
We’ve all seen how boring some brands are on social media in general, and Twitter specifically. Pat Donahue is trying to make sure that’s not how anyone perceives the L.A. Kings. The team has made a name for itself on Twitter by not being afraid to engage other teams and their fans, even with occasional “trash talk” in a tweet. Donahue admits that he’s dialed back the trash talk a bit now that the team has won two Stanley Cups in the last three years. But he’s found other ways to make sure that the team still has a unique personality on Twitter.
What Makes A Great Twitter Brand
Our keynote guests are consumers, too, and we talked about the non-sports brands that they enjoy and follow on social media. Donahue explained that he doesn’t follow brands, and prefers to just tweet at them with questions when the need arises. Ryan said she follows a lot of sports teams on Twitter, but also cited @Starbucks as a brand that’s not only great on Twitter, but also across other social networks.
Chris Sherman and I would like to thank Meghan Ryan and Pat Donahue for joining us and sharing their wisdom at SMX Social Media Marketing. The entire keynote interview is available on the SMX YouTube channel.
Sadly, technical difficulties at the start of the keynote meant that we were unable to bring in Kenton Olson, who handles social media for the 2014 Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, via Skype. We’ve invited him to join us at a future SMX event.