Tag Archives: Sports

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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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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