Facebook Interests Lists Helping Sports

Post by @emilydroessler/ Emily Droessler

Facebook has made yet another development in their new layout.  Along with the Timeline, now you can have Interest Lists.  This feature lets users subscribe to user-generated lists on what matters to them.  These will be similar to Twitter lists in the fact that they are all created and updated by users; similar to Pinterest boards in the fact that all content is shareable; and similar to Google+ Circles with the idea of having groups to share and get information.  Facebook is trying to become the single online destination for every interest imaginable.

When searching for a list on Facebook you will be able to see who created it, the people and pages in it, and the most recent posts.  You can also subscribe to the list and share it with others via your Facebook profile.

As some has said, the list feature will turn your Facebook into a personalized newspaper.  So what does this have to do with sports?  Everything.  Wouldn’t you love to receive a whole newspaper at your doorstep every morning that just had to do with the teams and athletes that you care to hear about?  Well, Facebook could be doing just that.  For example, under the Sports list you can add the public Facebook pages of all of your favorite teams, athletes, reporters, publications, and networks.  Facebook users can choose between broad lists (example: Sports), more specific lists (example: NBA), or make their own lists (example: My Favorite Olympians).

So how will sports take advantage of this?  These pages will combine the team page with fan pages to make one feed that is solely talking about that one athlete, one team, or one league.  Instead of having to Google how many points Jeremy Lin had in a game, fans can simply go to the NY Knicks or NBA interest list and it will be right there, including reactions from multiples fans and other sources.

This is great for teams because they will be reaching their fans in a new way.  Their fans are the people that are actually interested in the information and opinions of others.  For example, an avid MLB fan that does not enjoy the NFL can simply join the MLB list and not the NFL list and then the information delivered will be specific to them.  The MLB Teams interest list would include favorite athletes’ profiles, ESPN, and other MLB related sources.

Facebook Newsfeed is like a personal inbox that users often skim over and emails from sports teams are often overlooked.  However, when fans have taken the time to subscribe to the NFL List, for example, they will be more open to see advertising based on the content that they are reading.  Users will hopefully be spending a good amount of time looking at their lists because they chose to join them.  This means that teams, leagues, etc. need to take advantage and draw people in through these interest lists.  Teams can have links to sell tickets, gear, or anything having to do with what is being talked about by members of the list because they are likely to take action.  The bottom line is that teams need to make fans go to the list, enjoy the content, click on the team to go to a homepage, and then convert them from “fans” to true fans.

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Who is the public betting will win March Madness?

Check out this awesome interactive March Madness bracket which displays how the public at the Vegas sports books are betting on the tournament.

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Sports and KONY 2012?

Post by @Caleb_Mezzy/Caleb Mezzy

Seems weird, right? How could these two coexist?

By now, you should have taken 30 minutes of your time to watch the KONY 2012 video by Invisible Children. If not, it’s featured below.

This video resonated with me like I’m sure it did for all that viewed it. Before I let my rationale take over, I took a step back and saw what was in front of me.

A tragedy that is taking place in Uganda has reached me! Not only did it reach me, but it impacted me through a video on YouTube. Where did I see this video? On Facebook. Where else have I seen this video along with KONY 2012 campaign material? Well…Twitter, Google +, Pinterest and Instagram. Now I’m not taking attention away from KONY 2012, but I’m putting emphasis on the vehicle that this to me, which is Social Media.

This made me think….some professional athletes take pride in charity work and donating their wealth for a better cause. Prior to Social Media, a tragedy wouldn’t always find its way to an athlete’s eyes. Now, it’s that easy for an athlete to visually see the message of an existing tragedy.

On Instagram this morning, I was intrigued by Kevin Durant’s post. At this time, I have not yet seen the video, but I saw all the likes and comments making it a priority of mine to watch this video. Kevin Durant’s post influenced me and I can only imagine how many others’ interest were piqued.

I’m not here to suggest athletes donate to the cause, but I am here to suggest that athletes spread this to their Social Media platforms. Athletes are inevitably influencers in life, but this is even more evident on Social Media when you have millions of followers (their attention and eye balls).

Over 20 NFL players took time to team up with United Way in an effort to reduce the U.S. high school dropout rate. Forget all of the sponsored tweets for a second and let’s tweet for a better cause.

Could we see a shift for athletes to take time to tweet and post for Social Good?

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Player Usage of Social Media: Positives & Negatives

Post by @tscheine. Ty is a Social Media Executive at Brafton where he manages social media strategies for their clients.

You can’t un-ring a bell!

With social media being open and viewed by the public, athletes need to be cautious in what they tweet, post and share on social networks. High profile people will always be under a microscope and will be criticized on how they are portraying themselves through social media. There are many benefits to using social media and can truly help athletes brand themselves in a positive light, but it can also make athletes look immature, ignorant and selfish.

Positives

Deion Branch:

Now I know one of the most popular athletes on twitter is New England Patriot Wide Receiver, Chad Ochocino, but I would like to point out another receiver for the Patriots who is using Twitter in a positive light, Deion Branch (@deionbranch84).  He does a fantastic job using Twitter to promote The Deion Branch Foundation, a non-profit to support children who are battling mental, physical and emotional issues. The foundation has its own Twitter handle and they use the hashtag #TeamBranch when discussing donations or events for the foundation. He also gives away signed pictures, gloves, and cleats to people who assist in donating.

Ndamukong Suh:

Although, he has been criticized for his on-field actions, Ndamukong Suh (@ndamukong_suh) has been a role model via his social networks. Suh is fantastic about interacting with fans, posting pics with them and staying involved with charities. He has been interactive with fans through promoting contests from Subway and Omaha Steaks, some of his sponsors. This is a great example of an athlete using twitter to help not only increase his brand, but partnering with his endorsers to give visibility to the brand and illustrate Suh as an excellent ambassador for the brand.

Negatives

We tend to hear more about the athletes who get in trouble on social media more so than the ones who use it for good.

Michael Beasley:

One example when using Twitter backfired for an athlete was with former Miami Heat forward, Michael Beasley. Beasley tweeted a picture of his new back tattoo, which was fine, but there appeared to be bags of marijuana on the floor of the picture. Either Beasley didn’t realize they were in the picture or didn’t care, but it cost him. He ended up entering rehab shortly after the incident. There is no law against athletes using social media, but they must be smart in what they post, knowing that hundreds of thousands if not millions are watching their every post.

Carmelo Anthony:

All it takes is one bad move to taint the reputation of yourself, your team or any brands you represent. For example, Carmelo Anthony is known for being one of the most generous athletes when it comes to charities, donations and helping non-profits. A few years ago, Carmelo got into a ‘Twitter War,’ with Kat Stacks, a musician and apparently athlete groupie. She inappropriately tweeted about Carmelo, which got him and his wife upset. In retaliation, he offered money to anyone who would slap Kat and send him the video footage. He even tweeted a picture of the prize money. Promoting the violence against woman is not what you should be tweeting about Melo. Regardless if these are mistakes or how an athlete really feels, athletes need to be smart enough what can and can’t be said on the Internet. Once it is there, it can never be taken back!

What are some of your examples of athletes who do and don’t use social media the right way?

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5 Quick Steps To Build Your Network!

Using social networking sites to create a valuable relationship

Are you a college student looking for a highly sought after internship, or a college senior trying to find a job in this competitive market? What if your dream company contacted you for an interview for a potential job and then hired you? It would be amazing…almost too good to be true. That is because it is too good to be true. If you are like me, you are continuously looking for that dream job to jumpstart your career.

Here is some great advice for you:

Start using LinkedIn and Twitter to build a conversation with someone who can help you land your dream job. If your dream job is working for Redbull in sports marketing, find sports marketing employees at Redbull on Twitter. Start following Redbull recruiters. My advice is to find something that they posted that interests you and start a conversation. Go beyond the usual fan who would say, “Redbull is awesome!” For example, the employee at Redbull writes, “Pumped for our new sponsorship with the X-Games.” You can say something about how that sponsorship is a great fit because it hits the target consumers of Redbull perfectly. With the power of social media, it is all about building a powerful and meaningful list of connections, and this is a perfect way to do it.

The reason why I am writing about this topic is that I recently tweeted at the Director of Talent Acquisition at Comcast @SullivanMarkD about one of his previous tweets.

Here is how it went down:

Kevin Gottlieb  @KevinJGottlieb

@sullivanmarkd: About to kick-off a panel on “How Recruiters Use Social Media” – Pyramid Club.” good luck! Will you tweet through event?

 

sullivanmarkd  @sullivanmarkd

@KevinJGottlieb I was not able to tweet during event b/c of how the panel was set up. Great discussion & plenty of questions.

 

sullivanmarkd  @sullivanmarkd

@KevinJGottlieb shoot me a DM & we’ll talk about how you can up your job search game.

From here, we set up a time to talk on the phone about my job search strategy. During the call, Mark gave me some great insights to strengthen my resume and emphasized the importance of connecting with brands on Facebook and Linkedin. At the end of the call, he asked me to send my resume with a list of jobs that interested me within the Comcast businesses.

Five quick steps to build your network:

1)    Search for employees on LinkedIn at companies you want to work for and follow them if they are on twitter.

2)    Build a relationship with a recruiter or employee of your dream company on twitter by commenting on a company or industry-related tweet.

3)    Once you build this relationship, connect with the employee on LinkedIn.

4)    Transform the online connection with the employee to a personal relationship with a phone call.

5)     Follow up the phone call with a thank you email with your resume attached (if the conversation went well).

To read more about Mark Sullivan, here is his blog where he discusses various recruiting practices http://letstalkrecruiting.wordpress.com/ .

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March Madness: What to Expect with Social Media

by Emily Droessler / @EmilyDroessler

Now that it’s officially March, the talk about March Madness and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will soon be everywhere–and all over social media.  Facebook statuses will explode, Twitter retweets will skyrocket and Foursquare check-ins at basketball games will likely go through the roof . With the big games slated to begin on March 13th, what can we expect for social media this year?

The number of people who watch the tournament at home on their TVs is extraordinary and the games will, once again, be available on CBS, TNT, TBS, and TruTV.  Through mobile devices, Turner Sports, CBS Sports, and the NCAA will provide college basketball fans with more opportunities to watch every minute of every game in the 2012 tournament.

So of course we can watch the games on TVs, computer screens, and cell phones but what else do we want when watching our favorite sports team?  We want interaction.  This is where social media comes into play.


SOCIAL ARENA

Coke Zero and the NCAA have teamed up again to bring the fans an online platform of mixing the tournament with social media: Social Arena.  USA Today reported that Coke spent 2% of their NCAA tournament ad budget on social media two years ago and 20% last year.  It will be interesting to see what they will spend this year.  When visiting the Social Arena you will find Twitter updates from broadcasters, handles and hashtags from your favorite teams, players and coaches, social stats, and other information.

So what’s new this year with Social Arena?  Fans will be allowed to take key moments and share these with family and friends.  They will be able to view commentary from other fans and celebrities across the country, answer trivia, and of course, cheer for their favorite teams.  This will be linked to Coke Zero’s Facebook page for easy access.

BRACKETS

Everybody loves filling out their brackets and it is not uncommon for fans to have brackets through work, family, friends, and even groups of fans online.  So where will you go to make your online bracket this year?  Here are just a few of the choices:

  1. Yahoo! Sports Tourney Pick ‘Em

Can you make a perfect bracket?  If you answered yes than you will be the lucky winner of $5 million.  Even if you don’t have the perfect bracket but get first place you’ll still receive a nice chunk of change; $10,000.

  1. Facebook Bracket

Last year, Facebook had a Social Bracket where the team with the most “likes” was the winner of the tournament.  The entire bracket was based on the number of “likes” each team had.  This means if you wanted your team in the championship you had to hop on Facebook and “like” your favorite team and then share that as a status to get more fans behind your team!  It has not been confirmed if this will be happening again in 2012 but it should be back and better than ever.

  1. ESPN Tournament Challenge

There will be no prize for a perfect bracket through ESPN but first place will land you $10,000 while second will get your hands on a $5,000 prize.

  1. CBS Bracket Challenge

The CBS Bracket Challenge is easy when it comes to social integration because it is accessible as a Facebook app.  The winner will not get any cash but instead can get a chance to win a luxury trip to the 2013 NCAA Final Four.

MOBILE APPS

PlayUp, the social sports app, has recently made its way into the list of top ten sports apps.  The app launched in October of 2011 so this is their first March Madness.  The app allows fans to check scores, chat with other fans, tweet and create private social groups. Dennis Lee, PlayUp USA’s CEO, says that their company’s app takes fan engagement to a whole new level because it has the power to connect people all around the world.

The NCAA March Madness Live (formerly March Madness on Demand) app will be available for purchase on March 7th for a one-time price of $3.99.  This app is sponsored by Verizon and is available for both Apple and Android (for the first time ever).  So what does this app have to offer that is better than all of the other live streaming apps?  Turner Sports, CBS Sports, and the NCAA say it “allows you to watch all 67 games of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament live on your computer, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or select Android phones.  In addition, the application allows you to keep track of scores, schedules, the NCAA tournament bracket, social activity and much, much more.”

TWITTER

As we all know, Twitter plays a huge role in sports marketing and March Madness will be no exception.  While teams will use Twitter for marketing, fans will use Twitter to cheer on their favorite teams by tweeting, retweeting and replying to each other. Twitter will be, as always, providing live updates from numerous games from a number of college hoop experts (and those that think they’re experts).  The official account to follow will be  @MarchMadness , which is currently sitting at almost 27,000 followers; expect that to rise rapidly once the tournament begins.

FACEBOOK FAN BADGE

Are you a true fan that would post a fan badge on your Facebook?  You can choose from all of the teams and then post that team’s badge on your profile.  The badge will tell you your fan number and also how your predictions stack up with the rest of the nation.

. . . . .

More than 176 million people tuned into the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship last year.  Only time will tell if those 176 million people will be interacting on social media as well.  Will it be Facebook?  Twitter?  Or is it just an online bracket for a chance to win $1 million?

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NCAA Recruiting Meets Social Media

NCAA RECRUITING MEETS SOCIAL MEDIA

by Emily Droessler / @EmilyDroessler

According to the official rules of Social Media and Recruiting on the NCAA website, the NCAA does “not allow comments about possible recruits on an institution’s social media page or a page belonging to someone affiliated with the institution”.

Twitter has become one of the more popular recruiting tools in college athletics and tweeting is permissible as long as coaches are not using it to contact individual prospective student-athletes.  Coaches also have to make sure that they abide by the recruiting rules; this means that they cannot post about specific results.

Social media is a free service that has turned every person into a reporter and has allowed every tweet or comment to be over-analyzed and shared publicly.  The NCAA limits the number of phone calls made to recruits and bans text messaging, but when it comes to social media it is far less regulated.  Of course coaches are not allowed to write on Facebook walls or tweet directly at recruits but they are able to send private messages on Facebook or direct messages via Twitter.

What good does it do a coach who is thinking about recruiting a player but on whom no decision has been made?  Coaches can keep track of whom the recruits are friending and following, which gives them useful information on who else is interested in the recuits.

HOW SOCIAL MEDIA RECRUITING CAN BE FOR THE WORSE

The use of social media for college football recruiting can be negative however.  In January it led to an expulsion of a high school player – Yuri Wright from Don Bosco.

Wright was expelled in January for comments he made on Twitter that were allegedlyy sexually graphic or racist in nature.

Not only was Wright expelled from high school but schools like Michigan stopped recruiting him.

Wright, who has since committed to play football at Colorado, said he hopes others will learn from his mistakes. “Hopefully, other people will learn from what happened to me and make smarter choices,” he said, “My days with social media are over, I promise.  No more Twitter.  No more Facebook.”

SO HOW CAN SOCIAL MEDIA RECRUITING STAY POSITIVE?

Many recruits, including Matt Cochran from Buhach High School in California, are using social media in a way that portrays a positive image and gets their name out there.  Cochran was able to jump-start recruitment by Facebook messaging numerous coaches across the country with a link to a YouTube video of his highlight reel.  Before sending messages Cochran said his recruitment process was rather slow but after the messages it was anything but.

Norm Roberts, a coach at St. John’s, reluctantly had to get Facebook last August because he found it nearly impossible to call kids on the phone and have them answer.  “They don’t want to communicate like that,” he said.
Coaches and recruits say that 50 percent of their recruiting action comes from Facebook.  Twitter is in second and gaining ground quickly. Twitter will soon be number one because of the ability to direct message a player with a note that is short and simple.  Evan Daniels, a national basketball recruiting analyst, says, “If you’re not on Facebook or Twitter, you may be a step behind.”

Social media can also stay positive through social media monitoring.  One leader in this market is Varsity Monitor.  Varsity Monitor monitors the activity of student-athletes on social networking websites by looking for key words or inappropriate material on their personal accounts and then reporting that content.  They do social media account monitoring and web monitoring along with sharing social media guidelines and educating their clients.

When and if an athlete posts something inappropriate both the administrators and coaches will be notified by the compliance office.  There are also notifications sent when 3rd party users mention athletes.  In the past, schools would make fake accounts and send friend requests to secretly find out information.  Not only does this use of monitoring benefit the athlete in college but it prepares them for post-college when they will need to be monitoring their own social media use to land a job.

The work done by Varsity Monitor is going to be something that other colleges will want to utilize in the very near future, as current clients like the University of North Carolina, University of Nebraska, University of Texas, and Villanova can attest.

WHY HAS SOCIAL MEDIA RECRUITING TAKEN OFF?

Recruiting via social media has partly taken off due to the fact that the NCAA barred coaches from text-messaging athletes back in 2007.  The increasing use of social media is symbolic of communication trends for this generation.  Voice mails are considered annoying, e-mails are out-of-date, and phone conversations are just awkward.

Phone calls to recruits are limited to once a month for juniors and twice a week for seniors while Facebook and Twitter communication is unlimited during contact periods.  Many players receive Facebook and Twitter notifications on their cell phones which is similar to receiving a text message, except this is legal.

WHAT ARE RECRUITS AND COACHES SAYING ABOUT THIS NEW TREND?
“Almost every recruit is on Twitter and Facebook.  It’s a good way to get in touch with recruits.”

-Keon Hatcher | Arkansas wide receiver commit

“Social media is a huge part of our culture.  It’s the way most people communicate.”

-Bill O’Brien | Penn State football coach

“It’s not a hassle, where they call you and you have to be on the phone for a long time.  It’s just like a message.  It’s a great way to contact me.”

-Narlens Noel |one of the top five basketball prospects nationally for a junior

“It’s probably the only way to communicate with recruits.”
-Dana Holgorsen | West Virginia football coach

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Google + Hangouts in Sports

Post by @tscheine. Ty is a Social Media Executive at Brafton where he manages social media strategies for their clients.

With Google Plus being relatively new and people still beginning to come on board; there are many advantages this platform can hold for sport organizations and universities. There really is no true ‘best practice’ guide yet to Google Plus and given that users are still testing the waters, allows for teams and organizations to be innovators and get a jump-start on this outlet that not everyone is active on.

Only a few weeks ago the Super Bowl Champions New York Giants hosted a Hangout on Google Plus. There was a two-week downtime of no football being played and this was a fantastic way to keep the fans interested and engaged. In the hour-long session fans were able to meet their favorite players, ask them questions and ‘hangout’ for an hour. Not only did this help increase the number of followers on Google Plus, it created incentive for fans to follow players giving fans an exclusive experience that the average fan can’t experience.

More teams need to take advantage of this new platform, especially the Hangouts. This is a great platform teams can use to hold their own press conferences to announce team news, signings, upcoming team events, promotions etc. It can be an exclusive place for fans to go for the latest information. The Hangouts differentiate themselves from Facebook and Twitter because it offers new content through a different medium; video.

Being able to visually and verbally interact with athletes from the comfort of your home is a great way to have a personal feel fans can’t get by watching from their home or in a stadium with thousands of other fans.

‘Hangouts’ are not just a space for athletes to engage the public. It would be beneficial to see executives and coaches from the teams to utilizing the Hangouts. It is an opportunity for coaches and the front office to interact with fans, give insight into why they made certain moves, discuss relevant team information and allow for there to be a two way conversation between the team and fans which will prove very beneficial to retaining fans in the long run.

Finally, Hangouts would be an awesome way for fans to engage with each other.  Teams have their local sports talk shows that you can tune into and listen, but what about being part of that talk show? This would be a fantastic opportunity for Hangouts to be a place where you have local analysts and fans discuss, argue and debate the latest news regarding their teams. With Google Plus recently hitting the 10 million users mark, I think it is only a matter of time until sport organizations utilize the network and it’s Hangouts to full potential.

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Professional Sports Teams and their Players

Post by @Caleb_Mezzy/Caleb Mezzy

If you are a professional sports team, you have something that every corporation, company, brand would love to have. What that is, Social Media speaking, is established brand extensions.

Every brand on Twitter, for example, would love to have brand ambassadors. This is exactly why some professional teams and corporations have implemented this in their Social Media strategy. Only difference is companies won’t have the luxury (mostly) of having brand ambassadors with thousands of followers. Well, if you are a pro sports team, you have your “players” and those players have just that!

All of that should make sense to you, but now, let’s say you have a favorite team and you aren’t sure which players are on Twitter from that team OR you are new to a city and want to get the buzz on the new team while learning more about their players….that’s when you should do something along the lines of what the New York Giants and Duke Basketball did.

If you don’t do something as attractive, you could at least provide us with your team lists on Twitter. Below is a detailed breakdown of each league (MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA) and the teams that DO have team lists and others that DO NOT.

As you can see, the NBA has done the best job of this with only 9 teams not having any list. MLB has 20 teams, the NHL with 19…both out of 30 and the NFL only has half their teams with lists. These lists contain the current rosters of players who are active tweeters.

Why not build a list for your fans? Your players serve as your “brand extensions” on Twitter. 

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Future of Location Based Services in Sport

Post by @tscheine. Ty is a Social Media Executive at Brafton where he manages social media strategies for their clients.

I read an article earlier this week that states mobile spending is going to increase over 50% in 2012. Given this statistic, it is safe to say that Location Based Services (LBS) will have an even greater impact in sports this year.

In the beginning, fans were not being rewarded for ‘checking in’ to stadiums or venues. At its core LBS was used as a way to let your Facebook friends or Twitter followers know where you were, what you were doing and who you were with. How long could this last and how could organizations capitalize on this opportunity?

The key is to offer incentives for utilizing these mobile apps by rewarding the fan with some discount that can either be used on-site or at a later time. These incentives build great rapport with your fan base that they will in turn share with their friends, family and social networks.

The roadblock teams may find with this approach are the lack of people who use LBS either because they don’t see the benefits, mobile networks aren’t reliable or are scared of the privacy issues. Fortunately, a study done by Coyle Media Inc., found that sports fans embrace LBS more than the average mobile user. Hence, teams need to take advantage of the revenue, fan engagement and visibility that LBS can offer.

For example, big events such as the Super Bowl would be a perfect venue to take advantage of geosocial services. There is an abundance of mini events that take place leading up to and on game day, where fans can ‘check-in’ to certain fan activities such as the Super Bowl Village, or the NFL Experience. There is plenty of traffic and money being spent allowing teams and leagues to partner with their sponsors and integrate with different LBS platforms to offer users rewards, discounts, coupons, and different prizes that they can earn by ‘checking-in’ into these events.  Creating the first ever Social Media command center in Indianapolis is a great step in encouraging the use of location-based services.

Overall, I believe we just scratched the service with mobile apps and LBS in 2011. Look for teams and leagues to begin to incorporate mobile and LBS into a majority of their marketing efforts to interact with fans, increase revenue and illustrate their online presence in a positive way.

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