Social Media Listening Tips for Building an Engaged Fan Base

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This post is an excerpt from our Digital Growth Summit event in Los Angeles.Here are the digital marketing experts who contributed to this blog: Jacquelle Amankonah David Waterman Pete Stella Digital Content Manager, FOX Sports Shereen Lavi[su_spacer size="1"] Susan Kresnicka Gil Hasam Neil Horowitz


[su_spacer size="1"] Social Media Listening Tips for Building an Engaged Fan Base

Here are some key takeaways from the Sports and Social Media Listening panel:

  • Communicate with—not at—the fans
  • Follow their lead with sports and social media and speak their language, whether it’s adopting a popular rallying cry or simply commenting on their Instagram posts.

  • Find fun ways to engage
  • Post polls on social media, or post a photo and invite people to caption it.

  • Gauge your social-media success
  • Measure the response to your tweets and posts and whether or not it’s driving traffic to your site.

What is social media listening?

Social media listening is trying to figure out what content our audience wants to see. —Pete Stella

With sports and social media, it's all about trying to tap into where the conversations are happening and figuring out where as an individual you need to focus and create the strongest presence. —David Waterman

Social media listening is trying to figure out what content our audience wants to see. Do they want the fun stuff, the serious stuff, the post-game stuff, the fan catching the foul ball with his beer without dropping his kid? We have to listen to what people are saying to figure out what they want. —Pete Stella

Social media listening doesn't mean just listening and taking notes, you need to engage. —Jacquelle Amankonah

A lot of people think social media listening is just data, which is excellent to leverage, but it's also about human to human interaction. Social media listening doesn't mean just listening and taking notes, you need to engage. —Jacquelle Amankonah

How do you interact with your followers and your fans on these platforms?

If you have a popular post, ask follow up questions to see what the fans want. —Shereen Lavi

The polls are really fun for sports and social media. You can put polls on Twitter and Facebook now. I also search for memes to help find related content and get in on the conversation. Also, in-game tweeting has gotten me so many followers because there are fans who watch Twitter throughout the entire game. If you have a popular post, ask follow up questions to see what the fans want. —Shereen Lavi

We did a lot of live Q&A's on Facebook when we were at spring training. That seemed to click really well with our fans. Also, something as simple as posting a really great action shot photo on Instagram or Facebook and saying "Caption This" can really bring in engagement. It's surprising how much reach you can get with one photo. —Pete Stella

Find out what your community is passionate about and figure out how you can seize that and grow it. —Neil Horowitz

Fans want to know they are being listened to, even if it’s something as simple as liking a tweet or commenting on their Instagram post. —Neil Horowitz

It's about putting content up and taking content down, and knowing when to do that. We had an airline client once and any time there was a crash, they pulled any kind of paid social ads to be conscious that after a crash it was not a good idea to ask people to purchase flight tickets. Be sensitive to the actual topic creation that is happening on your social media accounts. —David Waterman

When I was with the Arizona Coyotes, a small hockey team, I noticed that when the team was down or when they were up, this small group of superfans would start howling like coyotes. A couple of them started using this hashtag #rallyhowl, and so I picked up on that. Any time there was a moment that we wanted the sports and social media fans back in, we would put that out there: "It's time for a #rallyhowl." By the end of the season, the howling was so loud and it still continues today as a tradition that the fans embrace. So find out what your community is passionate about and figure out how you can seize that, amplify it, and grow it. —Neil Horowitz

How do we know when social media listening is working?

Look at how many pages are viewed, and how many people are placing links back to your site. —David Waterman

It’s about people engaging with your tweets and your posts, but also seeing that it is driving traffic. So we look at time on site, how many pages are viewed, and how many people are placing links back to your site. —David Waterman

What is so powerful about the super fans that have developed in sports and social media? What do you do to leverage this?

Design the experience for the fan and make sure that the information is there when they need it. —Gil Hasam

There are information systems in sports that can help fans enjoy the sport better. These may range from a scorebug up in the corner, to the way that information is being put on screen, or on tools behind-the-scenes. It is all about the designing the experience for the fan and making sure that the information is there when the fans need it, creating the right orchestrated moments.—Gil Hasam

I think sports fans are uniquely capable of expressing their identity that is regional, local, and geographic. —Susan Kresnicka

I think sports fans are uniquely capable of expressing their identity that is regional, local, and geographic in nature. It is often tied to family and life experience, who you see as your people. I think sports fans are particularly effective at that expression and communication and reinforcement of personal identity, which is also really critical as human being. —Susan Kresnicka