Americans love their sports, and more importantly, they love to talk about their sports. With 81% of sports fans preferring to go online for game updates and sports news, it’s clear how crucial it is for sports teams to be on social media.
Not being able to physically watch a game no longer gets in the way of a fan enjoying a game. Now that people can stay up-to-date with the score via Facebook, Twitter, and sports apps, they are keeping up with the game on the go.
According to the above infographic from GMR, it’s clear that sports fans are constantly plugged in to the game. But they aren’t just checking in for score updates or breaking news, they also want to talk about the game, check out action photos, and ultimately advocate for their team. With fans turning to social to talk about sports without any marketing push from the teams, it gives sports teams a marketing one up on almost any other type of business – but that doesn’t mean that teams shouldn’t put time into creating a social presence. Instead, they should be leveraging this “free” marketing medium to create and maintain their brand in order to create even bigger fans.
One great example of using social media to increase team awareness is Hank, the ballpark pup.
Over the last decade, the popularity of baseball has been on a decline with both attendance and ratings steadily decreasing. The Milwaukee Brewers are one of the teams to have suffered from this decline, but a stray dog that wandered onto the field during their spring training games has helped the team gain national attention. The team adopted the dog and named him Hank and soon their Facebook page and Instagram feed was flooded with pictures of the cute pup hanging out with the players, getting his own jersey, and even being named an official team member. Fans are eating it up with many of them attending a meet and greet for the dog and purchasing official Hank-themed merchandise. Though the team’s intentions when taking in the dog weren't meant to be a positive PR plan, whoever is behind the team’s social media strategy knew a great opportunity when he saw one and turned it into a profitable campaign.
Fans need constant reminders of the next home game, the next bobble head giveaway and special prices. Your corporate sponsors need to know you’re consistently growing your audience and providing value to their marketing initiatives as well.
To do this, sports organizations need to take on an online persona and market themselves using multiple outlets. They have to integrate all their marketing initiatives and keep a consistent, unified strategy throughout. From email and social media to billboards and TV ads, sports teams need to engage their audiences and provide value to their fans on a personal level.