The NBA season is now in full swing and we’re getting a pulse on the teams that will be in playoff contention, and a few that definitely will not. While there is all season (and thank goodness a full season this year) to speculate who the champions will be, we like to evaluate the teams on their performance, not on the court, but on social media.
There are many metrics of measuring the most engaged brands, but I’d like to highlight a few personal favorites, so yes, this article will be biased. As the author, that means the Los Angeles Lakers are automatically excluded. Even though the Lakers do have the largest following on social media in terms of followers, they finish last for conversation percentage, or the amount of fans who interact with their pages. A key metric to be sure is clarified, is the percentage of engagement as opposed to raw numbers. On a strictly number per post engagement metric, the Lakers would dominate because their sheer volume of fans surpasses all others. However, if only 200,000 people of their 15+ million fans engaged with their social media per month, that engagement percentage is much worse than an NBA team who has only 1 million fans, yet engages 50,000 fans. Don’t let sheer numbers deceive.
While it is very important to continue to grow your social audience, if your content is not engaging, your audience has little reason to continue hearing your message. But enough with the Laker-bashing, the following are some of my favorite NBA teams based on their social media strategy and approach, outside of engagement numbers and reader beware, this is mostly a pro-Suns article.
3 – Oklahoma City Thunder are the fastest growing team on Twitter over the course of last season. Making it to the NBA Finals certainly helped, but their social team is extremely active and integrates all aspects of the team. They include D League updates, team charitable efforts and events. The area they do need to improve on though is responding to the fans. They don’t do as much in replying to inquiries and disabled the ability of fans to post to their Facebook page outside of comments; always a disappointment to see.
2 – L.A. Clippers: Clipper Nation has capitalized on exciting players and big name signings over recent years to revitalize this franchise. The team is garnering a lot of excitement around the league as “Lob City” or “Lob Angeles” is entertaining fans no matter their team allegiance. The excitement around this team has been taken advantage of properly by the digital marketing team in their social approach and have since grown their Facebook audience by 121% and Twitter audience by 104%. In addition, they are tied with the Heat for the highest percentage of fan conversations.
1 – *Bias Alert* The first spot has to go to my hometown and favorite team, the Phoenix Suns. Last season they introduced their “Social Media Sideline Reporters” who would be featured during timeouts on the jumbotron reading social conversations or updating the crowd on trending status, using social media to ask coaches/players questions, etc. They are extremely active in replying to fans/followers and have set up additional accounts for stats, events, etc to get even more specific in assisting the fan base.
Another interesting strategy the Phoenix Suns tried a month or so ago was a money back guarantee. In an effort to fill more seats, if a fan didn’t have a fun time when the Suns hosted the Mavericks on Thursday Dec 6, they would get their money back for their tickets. This is a very unique approach and remains to be seen if this ended up helping or hurting more…alas, the Suns lost the game (but gave a valiant effort!). Nevertheless, stay tuned and go Suns!