Sports & Social Media – NHL TweetUp

In my role as a Account Executive with zu (www.zu.com), I am responsible for staying up to date on the latest trends in website development, social media and mobile application development and work to implement strategies that will benefit my clients.  Over the past few months, I have been focusing most of my efforts on working with sports teams and am fortunate to have a great working relationship with one of our clients, the Calgary Stampeders.  We are currently working on a number of social media initiatives with them and I look forward to sharing these initiatives with all of you in the near future.

So, all that being said, I’ve finally got around to starting my blogging about the good, bad and the ugly in social media as it relates to individuals, corporations and sports teams.  As social media marketing is slowly being integrated into sports teams marketing mix, I believe the early adopters will benefit the most as they will be trailblazers in bringing the fans closer to the team and it’s players and in turn, will retain fans through tough economic times.  Although the thought of joining the conversation is intimidating for many Marketing and PR professionals, the reality is, people are already talking about their team……and until they join the conversation, they won’t be able to react to any of it.  I look forward to sharing my ideas on how teams can join the conversation using social media, how they can sell tickets in tough times and how they can retain fans in good times.

NHL Tweetup

To kick off the greatest time of the year (NHL Playoff time!), Michael DiLorenzo (Director of Social Media Marketing with the NHL) and Schuyler Baehman (NHL PR) helped organized the first official “NHL Tweetup” in celebration and anticipation of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. @dani3boyz and @goaliegirl were the brainchild for this idea and contributed greatly to the success of this initiative. The Tweetup event took place in 24 cities in the US and Canada.  The event went down at 7pm EST on April 15th in Anaheim, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Denver, Detroit, Edmonton, Hartford, Montreal, Nashville, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Regina (Sask.), San Jose, St. John (NB), Toronto, Vancouver and Washington DC.

NHL_Tweetup

I am kicking myself right now because this would have been a great event to coordinate here in Saskatoon.  As some of you might know, Saskatoon, Sk, Canada will be home to the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championships this coming December.  zu will be assisting the planning committee with social media initiatives leading up to the event and a Tweetup is definitely on the list of things to do.  We look forward to joining in on the next Tweetup (which I have heard is going to be scheduled around the NHL draft).  If you are interested in keeping up to date on news leading up to the event in Saskatoon, you can become a fan at the official Facebook Fan page and offer your opinions and join the conversation on Twitter.

I’d like to give praise to Michael, Schuyler, @dani3boyz and @goaliegirl and all the other hard working volunteers for putting on a great event.  The NHL (along with the NBA) seem to be taking the lead when it comes to connecting with fans through the use of technology.  I came across an article on Shannon Paul’s Very Official Blog where she interviewed Michael DiLorenzo about what he has learned thus far through social media engagement and what he plans to do with what he’s learned.  Michael made a number of great points in his interview, but here is a summary of the key points I took from his interview.

  • “There’s a temptation to use these emerging platforms as just another way to speak *at* the public, not *with* the public.”
  • “Both individuals and businesses are learning as they go. I don’t think that’s a great crime, as long as they follow a few simple rules:  listen, engage, be authentic and be (reasonably) transparent.”
  • “I thought some fans might appreciate a direct line into the League office. What I’ve learned on this point is that I have to be vigilant in responding to fans that contact me. They’re all important to listen to and acknowledge.”

All great points………….and it is refreshing to see that someone like Michael is humble enough to admit that he is still “learning as he goes” as well.  There are many people out there that claim to be experts in social media when the reality is, it takes years of experience, making mistakes and learning from those mistakes to become an expert.  I look forward to future posts on Michael’s blog (www.fromtheblueseats.com) about his experience with the first official NHL Tweetup event.  I’m sure the next one will be an even bigger success and I, for one, am looking forward to participating in a future TweetUp event in Saskatoon.