4 Sports Teams Changing the Social Media Game

By Aaron Paitich

09/14/15

For a long time there was essentially zero personality coming from sports teams’ official social media accounts. The messaging was canned, cliché, bland, boring. Their feeds read like a bunch of mini press releases.

A couple of years ago, some teams finally started having fun with it. They started injecting some humor and sometimes even some swagger. In short, they started taking risks. Those risks, however, can backfire.

There’s the Houston Rockets horse-to-pasture failure that got one guy fired. And we’ll never forget the time the Discovery Channel completely owned the Pittsburgh Penguins to the point of no reply.

The game has changed—and fans are loving it. We took a look at four teams who’ve helped set the new standard for social media in sports.

Los Angeles Kings
The pioneers. After eliminating the Vancouver Canucks in the 2012 Western Conference quarterfinal, this tweet is the one that started it all.

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And there’s real engagement with fans, opposing teams, and even celebrities, such as The Office’s Rainn Wilson.

The Kings keep it creative, fun, timely, and sometimes sassy. Even the Kings make mistakes, but they can most definitely take a bow for changing the way teams interact with fans via social media.

Chicago Fire
What do soccer fans love? Vines. It’s the preferred platform to ingest all of the goals and highlights from around the world.

This Chicago Fire went the extra mile with this one.

This timely pop-culture ploy reached more than 300,000 people and was looped more than a million times. A couple years ago, the Fire revamped their strategy across all platforms.

“We think that there is a huge audience out there that has not seen our product live yet,” said Scott Hammer, director of digital media and communications. “Once they do they will appreciate it. We will not win those fans over by posting generic content. What we have is access to our players, understanding our sport and culture and being able to share what is really important.”

Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers’ Instagram account is nearing a million followers—and the level of engagement is sky high. Good luck finding a photo/video with less than 20,000 likes. The content keeps fans informed with in-game updates, giveaways, and behind-the-scenes access.

Editorially, the posts are often short and sweet, which really allows the art to tell the story. And that’s the point on Instagram.

New Orleans Saints
The Saints raised a few eyebrows back in 2013 as the first pro sports team to join Snapchat. Many were skeptical but slowly more teams have joined from all sports to try and find new ways to reach and engage fans.

It’s all about access.

It took a while, but teams have figured out that the point of social media is not just to communicate with their fan bases, but most importantly, to energize and engage them. That will ultimately lead to a better bottom line.

Which team will change the game next?