From Sunday at 1:00pm and on, football fans are hawking their televisions, laptops, and tablets trying to keep up with latest updates concerning their favorite teams and players.
But even prior to Sundays, fans are constantly trying to involve themselves with latest news and drama surrounding the National Football League.
This is where evolution of social media comes into play.
Ever since social media has taken over the Internet, it has taken the NFL with them. Obviously with a few bumps and bruises along the way, the relationship between NFL teams and social media platforms has become a beautiful thing.
NFL teams are using social media as a source of engagement and interaction with their fans as well as a way of establishing their brand and increasing their reach.
Fans Don’t Want to Be Left Out
Fans are relentless. When it comes to support for their favorite teams, most will do just about anything. All year long, they put in countless hours as well as dollars just for the slightest bit of satisfaction. They also get the idea in mind that their efforts may even help the team win.
NFL teams have turned to social media as a way of providing their fans with an enhanced level of involvement along with a source of acknowledgment. It allows them to provide their biggest supporters with all news surrounding their team along with a chance engage with them on a personal level.
Not only have the New England Patriots had much success on the field this season, but their creative ways of connecting with fans have allowed them to climb their way up the social media ranks.
Creating hashtags such as #TomTuesday (Tom as in Tom Brady of course), where they offer fans a chance to win signed memorabilia based on how many retweets the post has.
They also utilize the hashtag #HardCorePatsFan; where they encourage fans to tweet pictures of their Patriot loyalty and the team will award a lucky winner with tickets to an upcoming home game.
Creative tactics like these have allowed the Patriots to surpass the Dallas Cowboys with the most Twitter followers in the NFL with just over 1 million.
The Addition of Snapchat
Currently, every team in the NFL has their own Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Every week, each team is trying to keep up with the latest trends and searching for new tactics to enhance their appeal.
Starting this season, many teams have launched their own Snapchat accounts. This allows them to stitch together a collection of images and video clips appearing in a narrative format that is available to all Snapchat users.
Now it’s in the hands of the team on how they want to utilze this transitory-messaging service.
Both the New York Jets and New Orleans Saints took Snapchat as a way of posting their 2014 schedules. Not long after the NFL posted their official release, the Jets and Saints both set their “stories” as 16 10-second images of their week-by-week opponents.
Like the Jets and Saints, the Philadelphia Eagles have turned to Snapchat as another source of fan engagement.
As one of the NFL’s Snapchat pioneers, the Philadelphia Eagles have turned to Snapchat as another interaction platform. The Eagles have connected with thousands of fans sharing new products or footage of locker room hangout sessions and game day preparation.
Executing on Facebook
Because it is the most frequently used form of social media, Facebook is essential to when it comes to interacting and engaging with NFL fans.
Currently the Dallas Cowboys lead the NFL in Facebook likes with nearly 8.2 million. America’s love for “America’s Team” has allowed the Cowboys to establish their Facebook dominance.
However, just because they have the greatest number of likes doesn’t necessarily mean they have the best content.
The Cowboys have turned to Facebook to increase the trafficking on their team’s official website. Some may view this as not the wisest move as seen that the Cowboys are not recognized as a team that thrive in engagement across social media.
Here are 5 ideas NFL teams have turned to with the hopes of increasing their Facebook traffic:
- Keeping It Simple
- Encouraging Participation
- Rewarding Dedication
- Real-Time Engagement
- Promoting Awareness & Discussion
While on Facebook, teams try to stay consistent and accurate with their content, while trying to increase engagement with quality posts.
Room to Grow
Although the NFL has taken the social media era by storm, there is certainly room for improvement.
Just two of the 32 teams have more than 1 million followers on Twitter, while there are countless current and former players along with NFL analysts that do.
In addition, there are zero NFL teams ranking amongst the top 25 sports teams ‘Likes’ on Facebook. Spain’s Real Madrid tops that list with more than 80 million fans.
Now that all teams have got their foot-in-door when it comes to social media, it’s time for them to thinking outside the box. For example, the Denver Broncos have utilized the daily deal site, LivingSocial, offering exclusive game day packages.
It is apparent that social media is not just a phase for NFL teams – so we can expect it to be used as long as fans flock to social media. There are endless sources of engagement and interaction that social media allows teams to provide their fans.
Now these teams not only worry about executing on the field, but on the internet as well.
What other platforms do you think NFL teams can leverage to reach their fans? Let us know in comments below.
Author: Jake Platt was a content marketing intern with Primal Digital Marketing (now owned by Bbg, Inc.). Jake graduated from the University of Rhode Island where he studied Global Marketing and Business Management.