SportsEvents Magazine

JAN 2012

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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Home 6 IDEAPlaybook Ways To Build Your Brand Many marketers have adopted at least the basics of social media as part of their overall marketing strategy. This includes sports event owners and rights holders who are discovering that social media can be a very cost-effective resource for communicating the benefits of their brand. Here are six principles for building a strategy that works. 1. Establish Direct Contact With Fans Since a true fan wants to know everything about an athlete, sport or game, what better way to satiate that hunger than to do it every waking minute? Statistics show that people spend several hours a day on social media sites. For smaller niche events or sports, the only exposure your fans have to other fans (or the sport, game or event) could be via social media. These audiences tend to be hyper social because their only avenue of interaction outside of competition could be via social media. For example, Quidditch, a new sport based on the popular Harry Potter books and movies, has a following in the hundreds of thousands on various pages on Facebook, yet you are not likely to find TV stations broadcasting the tournaments. Can't post on social media sites 24 hours a day? Try HootSuite. Using HootSuite's social media dashboard, you can schedule updates. 2. Develop Genuine Personal Connections Fans want nothing more than to connect on as many levels as pos- sible. Acknowledge this audience in a meaningful way with tac- tics that do not feel as if they come from an impersonal brand. For example, by way of shout outs on Twitter, Orlando Magic Center Dwight Howard (twitter.com/DWIGHTHOWARD) recently responded to a fan by calling her out on a negative tweet about his playing. Whether good or bad, this interaction brings fans closer to the sport itself. 3. Incite Immediate Interaction Social media spreads information in real time without having to wait for a scheduled eblast, or an aired commercial or an update to be published in print. Conversations between marketers and consumers happen in social media while others watch. As you execute a customer-service save via Twitter (by replying quickly to an irate client who tweets about slow response or tickets not available, for example), others may re-tweet and thus positively enhance your brand. 4. Spread Online Word-of-Mouth We know that the best customer is one who was referred by 12 January 2012 another. Similarly, any positive comment, and even a neutral passive link share, is an endorsement of your brand. So, make sure you encourage that fan to interact by directly asking them to. Never turn off comments on your Facebook wall; instead, constantly monitor interactions. What is now one of the most popular new additions to a website is the "like" button on a brand's own page that appears on a person's profile without much effort to cut and paste. The easier it is to share with fans, the more likely interaction will occur. 5. Nurture Brand Ambassadors Super fans, those with a slightly more enthusiastic love for an athlete, team or sport in general, can become influencers. Activate them as part of your virtual marketing "street" team. Whether it is helping you bring an event to your city, or to win a bid for a major sporting event, brand ambassadors can spread the word and demonstrate interest in ways no other method can. For example, the NHL's New Jersey Devils (facebook.com/NewJerseyDevils) have created a group of 25 social media brand ambassadors called "Army Generals" who rotate at a physical hub for the Devils in the arena and carry the message of the team during every game. 6. Deliver Exclusive Content Social media is the easiest way to generate and disseminate either exclusive or premium content quickly. For example, Nike Golf (facebook.com/nikegolf) releases social media exclusive how-to videos by pros on the best use of their latest equipment (video sample found on youtube.com/ echointeractiongroup). ■ Carlos Carbonell (carlos@justecho.com) is a social media and mobile marketing expert, whose company, Echo, builds mobile apps and manages social media campaigns. Follow Carlos on http://www.twitter.com/car- loscarbonell or Echo at http://www.face- book.com/echointeraction. www.sportseventsmagazine.com Social Media: BY CARLOS CARBONELL Subscribe Contact S.P.O.R.T.S. 2012 ▼

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