Sports and Social Media: an Evolving Partnership

Photo courtesy of google.com

It’s no secret that social media has influence in our everyday lives. With the help of the new digital age we now live in, people can connect with loved ones and see things from all over the world in a matter of seconds. People can go from their daily routine to a viral internet sensation in a matter of a few hours.

With social media affecting many different demographics, it is understandable that various organizations and brands are turning to social media to promote themselves. Professional sports teams are among these organizations.

With the MLB All-Star break here, Major League Baseball teams are typing, tweeting and posting to get their players recognized for the Tuesday, July 11 All-Star game.

Here are a couple of “all-star” examples of how MLB teams are using social media to promote their players.

Branding.

Name recognition is key and quite frankly, one of the most essential components to any public relations plan. Getting your name or message out to as many people as possible, as quickly and as effective as possible, is the name of the game. Efficiency drives success.

MLB teams have used the power of branding to try and persuade people to vote for a certain player for the All-Star Game or to take another form of action such as a retweet or like.

A few teams have even changed their twitter names from their original team name to “Vote___” to ensure that the masses will see and recognize the message. Two examples would be the Boston Red Sox, who’s name on Twitter became “VoteX” to help their shortstop Xander Bogaerts win the final vote and earn his spot in Miami and the Chicago Cubs whose name, for a while, read “VoteKB” in hopes of achieving the same goal of getting their third baseman, Kris Bryant into the All-Star Game.

Enticing Their Audiences.

For many, simply asking people to jump online and vote or to send a text to cast your vote is enough. For others, however, it’s not as easy. This typically happens with the demographic who’s not familiar with a particular sport, team or player. VoteX? What does that mean? Targeting an audience that is unfamiliar with what is being promoted, can be tricky. You have to know what to say and how to say it.

For this reason, teams are doing a wonderful job of enticing their audiences. Simple things like “retweet this for a chance at a signed baseball,” or “vote all day for a chance at free tickets and a jersey” are attracting more and more audiences and are becoming effective in reaching the demographics that are unfamiliar with certain teams or players. Enticing your audience goes a long way when it comes to any PR or marketing plan. Give them a reason to do what it is you’re asking them to do.

Major League Baseball is not the only professional sports league that uses social media on a large scale. The NFL, NBA and NHL all do! Professional sports teams will tweet out updates on players and coaches. They will post pictures and infographics on Instagram that will let people know of an upcoming event. They will post giveaways on Facebook that people can like and share for a chance to win a prize. Yes, the power of social media has quickly filtered its way into the world of professional sports. Are you an avid sports fan like myself? Go to your favorite team’s social media pages and you’ll be surprised at what you see when you pay attention!

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Riley Nordquist is a senior at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD. He serves as the vice president of Strategy for his chapter of PRSSA as well as firm director for their student-Run firm, PRestige. Riley is an avid sports fan, and a diehard Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Vikings fan. When Riley isn’t watching sports, you can find him writing, listening to music and spending time with his loving family

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