Monday, June 10, 2013

HIO: Promoting Team Loyalty Through Social Media

On social media, whether a team is promoting the score of a game or a community charity event, groups of audiences will view the content differently. Social media is a broad swipe, sending bits of content to any and all followers or fans. It is impossible to distribute content that will hit only one target audience. The hope is that messages will appeal to a large base.



One major positive of team-use of social media platforms is to create and manage team loyalty. If you have ever taken a marketing class in college, think back to the concept of affinity marketing. The goal is to tap into the psychology of consumers by building the sustained idea that the specific brand must be in their lives. As a team, you truly want your fans so closely aligned with your brand that they are using "we" and "us" to describe the team instead of "they." For example, the Minnesota Vikings would be very pleased if John Smith from Minneapolis goes to work on Monday and says to a colleague, "Did you see how we pummeled the Bears last night?"

Creating high affinity and overall brand loyalty through social media is difficult. Take Twitter for instance, where 140 characters is the max per tweet. Teams are only able to drop quick thoughts into the minds of followers. However, one team that exemplifies the use of building affinity through social media are the NHL New Jersey Devils (Disclaimer: I am a life-long Devils fan).
The Devils are one of the only professional sports teams that use "we" when referring to the team. This is a classic example of making the viewer, who is the ultimate driver of revenue, believe he/she is closely linked to the team. It should also be noted, the New Jersey Devils have been social media pioneers from the get-go, as they were one of the first to create a social media command center in their offices.

Compare the Devils approach to the more generic, traditional approach of referencing the team in the third-person. The example here is a tweet from the NFL San Diego Chargers, solely as another team from another sport. Again, this is how most professional sports teams (and corporate brands) reference themselves.
Referencing "The Chargers" is perfectly fine if the goal is to publish a purely information tweet. However, teams should be marketing themselves in an optimal way. It is understandable why the vast majority are practicing the same approach as the Chargers. as not all social media followers will identify themselves as true fans of your team. However, does it make sense to begin using social media in creative ways to increase followers and drive brand loyalty? After all, surely marketers desire to have a passionate, closely-aligned fan base. Ultimately, the decision is in the hands of the team. I'm just still puzzled as to why the Devils-approach is in the minority.

8 comments:

  1. I think that teams that hire a columnist for their website have trouble figuring our how to word things around the person's work. Of course, the columnist is not necessarily digging up dirt about the team since their paycheck is also supplied by them, but saying "we" in mentioning an article about the team may blur the lines even further.

    With that said though, I do understand your point and I am amazed that some teams simply do not get it.

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