Let’s face it, we all have our favorite teams, the colors we are loyal to and the chants we’ll hold dear for our entire lives. Which is why marketing for sports is a different ball game than marketing for many other things. Teams and players don’t always have to convince us to like them – odds are we probably already do. What they need to do is keep fans entertained and informed. The best way to do that in today’s world is social media.
We witnessed how Genie Bouchard captivated everyone from tennis fans to football teams using her Twitter account and one bet on a date, gaining her a huge following. Being engaged with your fans and followers can change the way you’re seen by the entire sporting world. It turns out that using social media is one of the best ways to market a sports team, and these four teams have mastered the art of tweeting, snapchatting, and live feeds.
The Atlanta Hawks have been referred to and named as the top social media team by several outlets, including Sports Illustrated. From interacting with fans, to trash talking and loving other teams, to their use of emojis, everything the Hawks’ social media team is doing is working.
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) March 14, 2017
Hey @LAClippers – Why u no miss 3s? ?
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 16, 2017
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 14, 2017
They can get a bit sassy, especially around the trade deadline, but it’s part of the reason why we love them so much.
BREAKING TRADE NEWS:
…the people who run team accounts don’t make trades, so don’t @ us with every rumor.
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 21, 2017
And there is the #HawksFanTakeover, a random night when the Hawks Twitter account retweets their fans, giving them a grander stage to tell the world what they think about the team and the game.
Don’t forget #HawksFanTakeover returns for the first time this season TONIGHT!
Here’s how it works: https://t.co/q5CrQ63KPj pic.twitter.com/kiK9zDcTuK
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 27, 2017
Still not convinced they’re the best in social media and may not love them just yet? The team is taking care of that too.
Here are 12 moments that’ll make you fall in love with us on this #Valentines Day: https://t.co/l62kKSsZ7w pic.twitter.com/a72YIUzy5J
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 15, 2017
The LA Kings have mastered the art of Twitter humor, GIFs and, of course, sarcasm. Their social media team isn’t afraid to use current events to promote their team (just look below at their take on the Oscars). A few years ago, Pamela Chelin of LA Weekly wrote a piece about the man behind the account, Pat Donahue Jr., who she credits as being one of the biggest stars of the team. Donahue Jr. told Chelin he tweets “the kinds of things that go on in my head during the game.” I’d love to visit that world of sarcasm and snide comments inside of his head.
Oh snap. pic.twitter.com/gMAtfjbcVR
— #LAKings (@LAKings) February 28, 2017
Here is a great example of what goes on inside of Donahue’s head, and probably something we all hope and wish for sometimes.
Tanner Pearson sniping another one home to make it 2-1.
A little bummed we missed out on That 70s Hug with that cutaway though. pic.twitter.com/ajVJjJHD1G
— #LAKings (@LAKings) February 28, 2017
New Jersey Devils
The New Jersey Devils take fan engagement to a whole ‘nother level with their “Mission Control.” The program, which launched in 2011, includes a control center inside the Prudential Center, where the fans themselves control the Devils’ social media accounts. The Mission Control team includes over two dozen social media savvy fans, who the team trusts with all their accounts to tweet and even reply to messages. The initiative gained a lot of attention, and the Devils won several awards and praise from the media world. Less than a year after Mission Control launched, the Huffington Post said “the Devils, have become one of the leaders in the league (NHL) which probably does the digital space better than any sports property.”
The world’s top soccer teams have a following from around the globe, with fans speaking dozens of different languages. So how do you entertain and inform them all without having to translate a message dozens of times? Barca figured out a way to do so on their Facebook page: they make sure to post in Spanish, Catalan and English right away, to reach the local and international fans. They’ve even translated some posts into Arabic, a language spoken by more than 200 million people. Something seems to be working for the club, or at least helping; they have over 96 million likes on Facebook and more than 20 million followers on Twitter. On the field or off the field, Barca has captivated its fans and is keeping them engaged.