It’s imperative that sports teams build ties with their fans. Community outreach programs, local partnerships, hosted events and sponsorship deals are all tactics that clubs have used to foster relationships with the public in the past.
For sports teams, social media presents an opportunity to build a stronger sense of community with their fans. Teams have capitalized on this, launching social media campaigns aimed at attracting new fans and generating new revenue. These tend to be quirky, humorous and occasionally more than little goofy, yet some teams have done an incredible job of raising their profile and increasing their fan base through wacky social media posts.
My beloved New York Mets are a prime example of this, with an official Twitter account that is so corny, it’s hard not to love it. For years, the Mets were a downtrodden, unhappy, unsuccessful club. This year has brought about a revival for the team, who (at the time of writing) have a 9.5 game stranglehold on first place in the National League East.
The team has marketed its stars as super heroes. Pitcher Matt Harvey is the Dark Knight, saving the Mets from their dangerous foes. With a Scandinavian surname adorning his jersey, Noah Syndergaard, one of the Mets’ superstar young pitchers, has been dubbed Thor. The Mets have used 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron to their advantage and now if you check out #Thor on Twitter, a good portion of the results relate to the Syndergaard and the baseball club.
The team also uses its Twitter account to connect with the members of the community who may not be baseball fans by highlighting more traditional community outreach tactics. This post presents Mets-themed recipes, while this tweet shows players meeting with local firefighters. They host raffles on Twitter, like this one where the winners received back-to-school gear for their “little Mets fans.” The Mets’ social media team also uses twitter as a way to acknowledge their player’s off the field achievements. Outfielder Curtis Granderson has been nominated for the 2015 Roberto Clemente Award, and the Mets’ twitter has been campaigning for him.
Companies looking to reinforce brand loyalty and to reach new fans can look to the Mets for inspiration. Social media has the ability to change or reinforce outside perceptions of an organization; in this case the humor presented through the Mets’ Twitter posts reflects the team’s change from a dour, hopeless club into one that projects joy and ambition at every turn. Companies and organizations can use social media to do the same thing. A strong presence and voice on social media can reinforce an organization’s reputation—or illustrate the changes an organization has made to external audiences.
We’ve seen the positive effects social media campaigns have for organizations across all sectors. We will no doubt continue to see new industries “play ball” on social media to connect with their clients and customers in new ways.