Jun 27 Who Won The Social Media Marketing Stanley Cup?
The NHL season came to a stunning conclusion this week when the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals. As the Blackhawks raised that big, beautiful trophy, community manager nerds at Ignite Social Media couldn’t help but wonder, which team finished as the champion of social media marketing?
Well, doesn’t that question set the stage nicely for another community manager debate? Kristina Kelly (Pro Bruins) and Chris Badders (Pro Hawks) faceoff to declare the 2013 NHL social media marketing champion. Kristina and Chris will each evaluate the Facebook and Twitter performances during the Stanley Cup Finals (June 9-24) and give you tips on how to utilize their winning content strategies.
Boston Bruins: Social Media Marketing Shutout
By: Kristina Kelly
Social media marketing teams from across the NHL should Fear the Bear as the Bruins’ slogan suggests. After reviewing their timelines, it is clear that Boston knows how to craft content to please a diverse audience.
Facebook Hat Trick
The Bruins’ Facebook Page earns a hat trick by meeting three goals: teamwork, speed, and original play. The Page illustrates teamwork with their ability to pull all fans into the Stanley Cup Finals experience. You won’t find content on their Page that just targets a stereotypical male demographic or ridicules women as the New York Rangers did back in January. This page appeals to men, women, kids, and even dogs! The send-off events and kid photo contests were two great examples of how the team appealed to a diverse group.
The community management team was wicked quick at posting game recaps, injury updates, and more. I have to give extra kudos to the team for crafting timely recaps after three late night overtime contests.
Finally, the content during the Finals never went stale. In addition to the game previews and highlights, fans saw posts promoting charities, fan photo contests, and a unique black and white photo album from each game.
Light Up On Twitter
Talk about a shutout, the Bruins’ Twitter account dominated in June. I had to give bonus points for the team using the new video feature on Instagram within 24 hours of the launch. Like Facebook, their timeline is clean and free of any grammatical errors or inappropriate comments.
Most importantly, the social channel had class. Twitter is often used as platform to vent unsolicited opinions (e.g., Amanda Bynes). I’m not sure there isn’t a more tempting situation to abuse Twitter when 17 seconds causes your team to lose the championship. However, the tweets following the game were as sincere as they were professional.
Stick tap, Bruins. You painted Facebook and Twitter in your signature gold and proved to be the social media content champs.
Chicago Blackhawks: Social Media Marketing Cup Allstars
By: Chris Badders
Much like their hockey counterparts, the Bruins’ community managers definitely put up a fight against their opponents from the Windy City. Let’s face it though; the Hawks didn’t just win on the ice.
A Facebook 5-hole
As any hockey player can tell you, a successful run to the cup really depends on two things: the right players for the job and proper preparation. The Blackhawks social media team took that to Facebook with their entire playoff content. Before each game they had an album with the morning practice session and/or the travel time. If there was a long delay between games, rather than keeping the focus on the preparations, they posted fun, lighthearted content that centered around the players, but had little to do with hockey.
On game days they posted the basic info every fan needs (game time, home and away teams), but supplemented a little extra by giving links to videos, articles and insights about the upcoming game. Not only does this help the fans prepare themselves for the next game, it provides them background and inside access to the team that they normally wouldn’t get. Most importantly, though, it brings the fan into the conversation too by making them seem just as important as the team—that’s something I can get behind.
To finish it off, after each game the cover page was updated. Nothing keeps engagement up like fresh content, and few things are more visually appealing than a hockey game. Not only that, the team gets bonus points for real-time updates when the Hawks won the Cup. They posted pictures of the celebration just seconds after the final horn sounded, and were with the team as they all sat around the Stanley Cup. Talk about staying on top of things.
Another big thing that leads to Lord Stanley’s Cup: the basics. That’s exactly what the social media team did with their Twitter strategy—stuck to the basics. They used it as a broadcast medium to alert followers to all things Blackhawks media related. Throughout the entire finals run they maximized the pre-game time with tweets about Blackhawks Televison and their morning skate round up, #MorningSkateLive.
Keying off their Facebook strategy, the post-game tweets were incredible. How so? They’re dropping an infographic of not only the stat lines, but interesting facts like first goals scored by newcomers in the playoffs, and how old Jaromir Jagr is compared to the entire lineups for both teams (hint: he’s ancient.) Also, nothing gets me more giddy than a great live tweeter. The Blackhawks live tweeted each game like they were color commentators on the ice themselves. There’s no doubt their fingers are a little worn out from all that typing.
I also like that the conversation isn’t forced. It seems natural and engages not just with content on and surrounding the Hawks team and Cup run, but also lets the fans tell the story. This helps the followers feel more connected to the brand, and builds loyalty among the fan base because people feel valued and a part of something bigger.
Finally, and this is no fault of the Bruins social squad, but what says “#winning” like @mentions from the Chicago Bears, White Sox, Cubs, Bulls and President Obama? Sure, this probably would have happened from the Pats and Red Sox had Boston won, but they didn’t. Is that a little below the belt? Maybe.
While the Bruins put up a noble fight on the ice and on the Internet, it’s clear that the real winners were the Blackhawks from start to finish—and they’ve got the trophy to prove it.
And The Winner Is
Off The Ice Tips
1. Don’t demand fan loyalty. Earn it by providing relevant and helpful information that your fans will want to share. Don’t think about what you want to tell them, but think about what they want to hear. How can you incorporate this selfless act into your programs?
2. Don’t let your content get cold on the bench. Publishing content in a timely manner means fans get the information from you first which hopefully means they will engage with you first. What processes can you put in place to ensure your content is fresh?
3. Focus on more than just the obvious content creators. Don’t just focus on one thing or your content is going to get stale. A healthy mix will keep fans engaged, the conversation flowing, and ultimately will give your brand a huge win.
4. Let your fans do the talking. Sometimes the best way to say something is to repeat (in this case retweet) what someone else has already said better. It helps to establish a deeper connection with your fan base, ultimately building ongoing relationships with your fans.