The Milwaukee Bucks finished in last place in the National Basketball Association for the 2013-2014 season with a record of 15-67. And as a Wisconsin native and Bucks superfan, I must sadly admit that the Bucks were not very good at basketball for this last season. Luckily, as a fan of social media, I get to follow one of the best in the league. The Bucks bring creativity, intuition, fan engagement and fun to twitter. And in my completely unbiased opinion, they are the best there is. I love them and they love us:
So what can a fan expect from a social media account for his or her favorite team? Well I’ve boiled that down to a few primary ingredients:
- Live-tweeting of any given game, giving score updates and recounting highlights. Scores at the end of a period of play are a must. For me, while studying abroad in Australia last fall, I wasn’t able to watch too much football. So every Monday morning when I woke up, I would check my Twitter for the Packers’ tweets from the game. I would read them from start to finish, and I watched the game vicariously through that timeline.
- Providing the links for any relevant or popular articles about the team. I’m a sports maniac. I will read just about any sports article you send my way. If you send me an article with a sports metaphor, I’ll read it. I can’t get enough. So when there are articles about my teams, I want to read them. A good marketing team alone will understand this.
- Marketing promotional material from both the social media network and the business perspective. This summer, the Bucks featured a few ways to keep fans entertained during the off-season. From giving away a signed soccer jersey to simply promoting several ticket deals, the Bucks have done well to add business value through social media.
- Engaging fans in new and innovative ways. Some pretty entertaining hashtags have surfaced over the summer. During the long off-season, NBA teams have engaged in some online trash talking and promotion. #NBAFastFood, #NBADramas and #NBABedtimeStories are a few of the weekly trends that several NBA teams take part in to keep the fans interested. The results are pretty hilarious. Moreover, the Bucks have been very active in the community. With a Snapchat account that posts daily stories and an active presence on Reddit, the Bucks will try anything. As Professor Kane said in his blog, it’s about finding the right clubs to play a round of golf. You don’t need them all, but just know how to use the ones you have.
- Instilling a sense of fan ownership. Quite simply, make the fan base excited for the future. The Bucks do that. A unique #OwnTheFuture campaign puts a positive spin on rebuilding a once feared franchise. And even just creating videos like this to inspire the fans.
The Bucks aren’t the most followed team in the league, in fact, they are one of the least followed. But they are still my Bucks. While I won’t quite indulge in using the “royal we” while referring to the Twitter account’s activities, I feel a sense of pride in their tweets. Social media enables this sense of pride. On social media, the statistics do not determine the bottom line. The posts don’t affect the game, they don’t change the lineups and they don’t really matter to any sort of outcome. But they matter to the fans. It gives fans a forum to be heard. It provides the fans with a chance to communicate with one another, to reminisce about how that one shot nearly went in. It isn’t just cheering from your couch with your friends, it’s cheering from your phone with a few thousand of your closest online counterparts.
Social media cannot be viewed in the same lens as an actual contest or season. It’s not a question of whether or not a superstar will have a fantastic day on the field because at the end of the day, only one team in the league will win the accumulation of a year’s worth of goals: the championship. In real life, practice, conditioning and studying the game will build your team. On game day, team must focus to win the day. And every minute counts. For the worse teams, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook level the playing field. On Twitter, it is different. On Twitter, every day is a game day. Every team has 140 characters. And every tweet helps to win social media. Fear the social Deer.